No, I didn't stop in for a confession (though I cannot confirm or deny that one is long overdue). I stopped in for the bread (and meat) of the earth.
Tucked away on the ground floor of the First Presbyterian Church is a little blessing called Franktuary. I'd been lucky enough to notice a dear friend's Facebook post about his experience and I suddenly had beef...or at least wanted it.
I made the eerie turn from Wood Street to Oliver Avenue and immediately thought "ok, I'm lost." There's not much on Oliver Avenue. At all. In fact for a good part of my Pittsburgh life I didn't even know that Oliver Avenue even existed. But ladies and gentlemen I tell you now...make your way there immediately. As I tip toed past the delivery trucks and mass schedules, I saw the sign. And it opened up my eyes.
Gourmet hot dogs were something of an enigma to me. I'd never been much of a hot dog fanatic except for the occasional ball park frank. But something told me this experience was going to be an enlightening one.
A charming little basement joint, this place screamed "hipster" in an absolutely outstanding way.
Another charming aspect of this place was their veggie dog and "Locavore" (organic locally farmed grass-fed beef) options. They really make it so no one has any excuse to turn this place down!
With tantalizing menu options from classic ketchup and mustard to the complex and captivating Italy Dog with fresh mozzarella, fresh tomato, garlic, olive oil and basil, I had some serious trouble choosing. But I felt compelled to stay true to who I am (and what this blog is all about) by letting ya'll know my thoughts on a true Pittsburgh tradition: pierogies and coleslaw. 'Round here, we put these two things on everything. No seriously....everything. Being a Hershey native, though I was a bit nervous and not necessarily ecstatic about trying The Pittsburgh Dog featuring both. So I made sure to also toss in an order for the Mexican Dog (shredded cheese, guacamole and home-made mango salsa) to boot.
I ordered a Diet Coke and was told I had different options here and I could choose from the cooler behind me. My eyes lit up when I saw my choices. Cream Soda? Orange Soda? Root Beer? Grape Soda? I really was in heaven! When was the last time you had a hot dog and a grape soda for lunch? Can you say spandex and snap bracelets? So grape soda it was.
I tried the Pittsburgh Dog first. And I have only three words to describe it:
Oh. My. Dog.
It was a truly sacred experience.
I proved myself wrong. The Pittsburgh was one of the best things I've tasted in quite some time. Home-made colelsaw and deliciously smashed pierogies crunched and squished together with the meat absolutely perfectly. I wanted more and immediately wished I would have ordered two.
The move to Mexico was not a difficult adjustment to make in any way, either. Mangos + Avacados + perfectly cooked beef? A truly divine calculation.
While it seems its remote location is anything but a hindrance on its popularity (Frantuary was voted best lunch spot in the 'burgh for the past 3 years straight), I feel I must preach to the few and far between who have not done the dog and make known their fare superiority.
In the mood for something sweet? Try one of their freshly blended smoothies or Dave & Andy's ice cream flavors.
Address: 325 Oliver Avenue, downtown
Reservations: Not taken or needed
Hours: Monday - Friday, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Delivery: Yes, within the downtown area (but don't request a delivery after 2 p.m.)
Drinks: Boylan's Grape Soda @ $2
Meal: 2 Gourmet Franks @ $3.75
Tax: @ 7% (Allegheny County only) $0.18
Tax: @ 7% (Allegheny County only) $0.18
Tip: $1.35 (all the quarters, dimes and nickles I could find in my wallet)
TOTAL FOR ONE: $11.53
I often find it difficult to find a unique but quick spot for lunch downtown but by God I've finally stumbled upon greatness. GO TRY A FRANKTUARY FRANK. If it's the only thing you do while you're in town for a ballgame or a special trip the non down-town workers need to make, it's something I insist you do. Simple, yet delicious. Simply delicious. That's all I can say. You must try this place for yourself.
FRANKS BE TO GOD!