Another thrilling episode of He Said/She Said with Evan Grant and Nancy Nichols. Today we will discuss Wild About Harry’s, the popular Parkie hot dog shop on Knox.
She Said: Wild About Harry’s is insanely busy mainly because owner Harry Coley is always at the front door and greeting customers by name. That makes kids feel special and parents feel self-important and happy. Who, other than me and Leslie Brenner, doesn’t like to be recognized? I sashayed to and fro in front of the clueless Mr. Coley today just like all of the other middle aged customers looking for a good Chicago dog and some pistachio custard. I felt a little slighted by the fact that I didn’t get a greeting from Harry, an (in)action that caused a pang of guilt in my sagging gut: “Oh my god, I forgot to have children!”
Here’s the deal: I like my dogs cooked on a grill or griddle. At Harry’s, they are steamed. The dogs are Vienna Beef and come with the same poppy seed bun that Vienna supplies to all of their customers. Therefore, the dog-to-dough ratio is perfect. The Chicago dog at WAH is good but the cold chopped tomatoes, a long pickle slice, neon relish, and sport peppers bring the overall temperature of the total package down too fast. I do not like the contrast of cold tomatoes and a momentarily hot hot dog. The Chicago dog alone is $4.49; the value menu ($6.79) is a real deal—for an extra $2.30, I got a refillable drink and a side of cole slaw. Evan went with the regular dog and although I didn’t taste it, the dog was the same as mine and it was covered with neon relish and mustard. I frequent Wild About Harry’s because it is the closest dog to my office. And yes, I’ve eaten many an Angry Dog dog and will go again next week so I can wrap up this series. Unless I’m missing another obvious contender. Evan?
He said: Nancy, why are you stealing all my lines. “Dog-to-dough” ratio? I can’t believe you took that from me. And after all the reporting I did to find out that Vienna does indeed provide buns perfectly matched to the dog size. Lot of thanks, I get for that. I’m with ya, babe, on the steaming. I kind of lost my appetite when the nice lady at the counter said they steam their dogs. Come to think of it, though, I believe Eddie’s steamed his, too. My problem with the steaming is the dog becomes too soft or too rubbery. I want a hint of crackle or crunch when I bite into the dog. That’s why I’m a flat grill or charcoal kind of guy. Thing is, the Vienna beef is so tasty, that I’ll put up with the fact that the dog isn’t quite as snappy as I’d like, that I never will get the neon relish thing and that I’d still prefer a spicy mustard over something insanely yellow. The Vienna folks make a fine dog and Coley serves them up with some interesting twists. And we didn’t even get to the pistachio custard. I looked at Nancy three-quarters of the way through the dog and said: “What do you think the chances are that I leave here without a pistachio custard?” She couldn’t even argue. And then I had to let her lick my cone (that’s not a euphemism). This time, I think the tears in her eyes were from pure bliss.
The real test, though, will come at Angry Dog. Can I keep my hands off the best cheeseburger in town (my opinion) long enough to chow down on an Angry Dog?
She Said Back: First of all, I told you I was stealing your line. Second of all, I had no tears from “pure bliss.” Eddie’s was cooked on a griddle. And finally, I would rather die from mothball inhalation than even talk about your cone.