Top Dog

Lincoln Park's Franks 'N' Dawgs pushes the sausage boundary

For years, hot dog devotees have headed to a nondescript stretch of California Ave. to get their fix.

But there's a newcomer in town that's primed to break the Hot Doug's hegemony: Franks 'N' Dawgs, Lincoln Park's new haven for house-made sausages with eclectic, over-the-top fixings.

The fanciest combinations would be just as home on a white tablecloth as they are on a roll. The Tur-Doggin pairs garlicky turkey-date sausage with pulled duck confit, sweet-onion relish, herbed aioli and pickled carrots ($8.50; pictured). Veal Percik ($8), a Malaysian combination of Madras-curry-scented sausage, dates, cilantro and almonds, brings to mind sausage chef Joe Doren's former boss (and owner Alexander Brunacci's brother), Frank Brunacci–who makes duck percik at Sixteen.

A local chef will make a menu contribution each month; in April Phillip Foss has donated his breakfastlike combo of pork sausage, smoked bacon, maple mayonnaise and a fried egg.

Just as prized as creativity, tradition has its place in the mix. There's a ¼-pound all-beef link ($4), and the corn dog–with a crisp shell giving way to creamy Anson Mills polenta batter–is light-years beyond what you'll find at the county fair.

All the sausages arrive on custom-made buns baked daily by local bakery Nicole's. And the tangy carrot-cabbage slaw, flavored with caraway seeds and plump golden raisins, is a must-have side dish (or sausage-topper).

True, there are no duck-fat fries–but frankly, we don't even miss them.

Franks 'N' Dawgs, 1863 N. Clybourn Ave.; 312-281-5187 or franksndawgs.com