Hot dog! There’s a formidable new frank in town

For much of the country, Labor Day spelled the end of the so-called dog days of summer. We're lucky, though: it's always hot here, and dog days are a constant especially if you're talking hot dogs.

And now, thanks to Kenny & Ziggy's New York Delicatessen Restaurants, there's a new hot dog star in town. Owner Ziggy Gruber's restaurants recently introduced a new hot dog (called a frank on the menu) that have the texture and flavor of old school Jewish deli franks.

Gruber didn't simply switch hot dogs, he actually helped create a new wiener made specifically for Kenny & Ziggy's to the deli man's specifications. He did so after he noticed a drop in quality of the franks he had been using for years (we'll not embarrass the well-respected brand).

"Franks have always been a cornerstone of every deli through the decades. There was always a frank grill in front of every store," Gruber said. "I was feeling nostalgic for that, and also not happy with the changes in the franks we had been serving and wanted something better for my customers."

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So, he fished out an old family recipe for hot dogs and contacted a friend who owns a USDA-certified hot dog factory in New Jersey, which Gruber said is one of the few that has equipment to handle natural casings. The all-beef wiener with natural casing is now available on the menu at both his Kenny & Ziggy's locations.

And it's a beaut. The robust red frank with its bun-defying length sports that unmistakable snap so prized among hot dog aficionados. The flavor is spot-on.

"It's like tasting my childhood," he said.

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Gruber has lent even more authenticity to his house franks. He has his own proprietary mustards; there's excellent sauerkraut available; and he offers that only-in-New-York pushcart sauce of tomatoes and onions. Fans of Sabrette onion sauce, surely an acquired taste from the streets of the Big Apple, will be delighted by this nostalgic bit of hot dog flair.

The menu at Kenny & Ziggy's offers a number of options with the new, soon-to-be-famous frank: Rubenesque (with corned beef, sauerkraut and Russian dressing); Slaw & Order (with pastrami, mustard and cole slaw); Yoso Dog (avocado, fried onions, chili sauce and chipotle cream); Queso-ra-Sera (wrapped in bacon and topped with pepper jack, avocado, pico, chipotle cream, sour cream and onion rings); and Sweet & Saucy (slathered with the pushcart onion sauce). All dogs come with fries and are priced at $12.95. Believe me, these franks are substantial; it's a meal.

Me? I'll take a simple dog with Gruber's good mustard. And I'm happy because the most delicious dog days have finally arrived.

Kenny & Ziggy's New York Delicatessen Restaurants, 2327 Pos Oak and 5172 Buffalo Speedway;

Source: Houston Chronicle