Thursday, February 4, 2010

Eat At Good Dog

Some childhood memories never fade. Susan Paden recalls family vacations with her history teacher mom and Dutch immigrant father, who led the family on ‘brown sign’ tours of historic sites. “We ate cheese and butter sandwiches in the car, but dad would stop for a hotdog.” His favorite toppings of mustard, chili, cheese and onion are commemorated atop ‘The Fred’ from her Good Dog menu. Now in its second year, the Frazier Avenue restaurant has charmed a loyal following.

A former folk art gallerist, Paden composes her topped dogs carefully for both appearance and consistent taste. Gone are the Chicago-style half moon wedges that become an all or nothing bite of tomato. She prefers them diced and sprinkled amid the neon-green, sweet pepper relish that Windy City people call kryptonite. In another nod to her Midwestern roots, Bertman’s Stadium Mustard from Cleveland joins an exotic array of condiments for all to try. There’s even a fritessaus (mayonnaise to you) for the house-cut fries and the caramelized onion relish is made from scratch. Yum.

Lighter styles prevail in a salads menu that pairs avocado with cranberries or red onion with oranges. Don’t tell anyone that the chili is vegan and those who do care may ask for a soy dog instead of meat. What else from a place where the pepper mills dispense ‘dog dust’ and the salt shakers are kitschy collectables?

It was their cheeky, ‘Nice Buns’ slogan screen printed on a variety of thrifted t-shirts that first caught my eye for The Chattanoogan. More creative reuse abounds in décor accents of frame moldings, magazine bits, bottle bottoms and bottle caps. The scullery flooring arrived as the packing crate for kitchen gear. Recycling aluminum, paper and plastic was never more fun than when funneling it through ductwork and into the bins.

Merriam-Webster etymologists tell us that ‘restaurant’ is the present participle of the French verb restaurer to restore. Good Dog is a happy place. Its vibe is infectious and good for you.
"Sit. Stay. Eat."

1 comment:

  1. wqs there yesterday - one of my most faves in the city! Susan rocks!