By: Alison Silveira
The newly opened hot dog bar at College and Spadina, Let's Be Frank serves up gourmet franks with bold flavours and ingredients. I was invited to sample their inventive hot dogs and after doing so, I don't think I can ever eat a regular hot dog with plain ketchup and mustard again. The humorously named menu items include The Dogfather, Tijuana Danger Dog and Mac Daddy, which are all unique and tasty. Tenacious entrepreneurs Simon Colyer, Julie Ford and Christa Muio began their venture with a food truck at festivals five years ago. Experiencing trials and tribulations along the way and learning all about the food industry, they sold their food truck and opened their restaurant just late last year. A gourmet hot dog bar is a rarity in Toronto and the owners have certainly found a welcomed niche with their menu offerings.
Let's Be Frank's hot dog are sizzling hot! The meat lovers will enjoy the pulled pork po'boy, which is a hot dog topped with slow-cooked pulled pork, tangy coleslaw, zesty homemade barbeque sauce and hickory sticks.
They hit it out of the park with their scrumptious katsu dog. The crispy panko crusted, deep fried hot dog with wasabi mayo, sesame barbeque sauce and green onions is inspired by Japanese flavours and is among my favourite.
The classic corn dog is simple, yet fresh, chewy and evokes memories of my summertime childhood. Spicy bite-sized hot dog wings are a take on Buffalo-style chicken wings that are accompanied with a tangy blue cheese sauce for dipping. The hot dog bites are breaded, fried, and tossed in Buffalo sauce.
Side dishes include creamy mac & cheese topped with bacon bits, Southern Blues BBQ sauce and hot dog gravy poutine. The seasoned fries are topped with gravy and fresh curds from Kensington Market's Cheese Magic store.
I sampled 3.5-inch sliders of each hot dog, and they also come in the 6 inch regular and 8-inch big dog sizes. Let's Be Frank uses Nathan's Famous beef hot dogs and Silverstein's buns. You can request to replace your hot dog bun with a bed of fries, which is quite enticing. If you're not ready to take a bite out of these novel hot dogs, you can opt for the Naked Dog, without any of the fancy fixings.
For dessert, I had the Ivana banana dog, which is a deep-fried banana with peanut butter, jelly & Nutella. I am told that this dessert dog is a very popular choice with kids. It is crispy, warm, melt-in-your-mouth goodness!
Let's Be Frank aims to be a fun destination, where you can bring your own vinyl on Tuesdays and listen to your favourite tunes while indulging in tasty treats with family and friends. With patio season just around the corner, Let's Be Frank will be opening both their front and back patios soon, which can accommodate 30 people each. If you think hot dogs are boring, think again. Visit Let's Be Frank, eat one of their hot dogs and let that myth be quickly dispelled!
460 Spadina Avenue