Sunday, September 22, 2013

Happy Belly


On a corner along Detroit Avenue, Happy Dog is easy to miss. Parking is along the street and at two small lots across the street, an open lot and at another business' lot (available after business hours weekdays and all day on weekends).

Happy Dog Storefront
Happy Dog storefront

Aside from hearing about $5 make-your-own quarter pound hot dogs, what really light a match under us to visit for lunch was finding out they had pinball machines. Funky reason, I know.

Medieval Madness is a castle siege with a cool castle in the upper left corner of the playfield. In X-Men, Magneto manipulates the pinball when it passes through the center.

Happy Dog Pinball
X-Men and Medieval Madness pinball machines


Ordering off their menu is similar to ordering sushi, or if you're familiar with ordering at a make-your-own spot, via rectangular slip of paper with an immense number of toppings [50] to consider. Choices run from the traditional to creative: ketchup, apricot chutney, black truffle honey mustard, Yuengling sauerkraut, pimento mac and cheese, yellow mustard, chow mein, peanut butter, ...

Happy Dog Chili Sriracha Onion Egg
Chorizo chili, nacho cheese, Spanish onions, sriracha, fried egg

It took us a while to decide what we didn't want on our dogs. Bug ordered chorizo chili, nacho cheese, Spanish onions, sriracha, and a fried egg with his hot dog, while I ordered chorizo chili, pimento mac and cheese, and Momocho habanero sauce.

The dogs are made by Blue Ribbon Meats, a local company that sources its meat in Ohio. Veggie dogs are sourced elsewhere.

Happy Dog Chili Mac Cheese
Pimento mac and cheese with chorizo chili

Chorizo chili with pimento mac and cheese in a super soft white bun fulfilled my chili dog craving. I was pleased the macaroni had texture, a concept (pasta cooked al dente or at least with some semblance of texture) that is lost at many places. In the event the Momocho habanero sauce was flames-bursting-from-all-orifices hot, I ordered it to arrive separately. Fortunately, it was a pleasant heat.

The wieners, plump and not overly salty, were heftier than expected, which is silly since a quarter pound dog is a quarter pound dog. Toppings were appropriate so I could appreciate all the ingredients.

Happy Dog Tots Bourbon Beans
Tater tots with bourbon pork and beans

Tater tots and fries are $3 and offered in a similar manner to their dogs. Sauces are available for free and toppings are $1.00. I wanted to try the bourbon pork and beans on a hot dog, but didn't want to smother mine with too many toppings, so I ordered it with our tots along with ancho chile coffee barbecue and Jamaican jerk mustard mojo sauces.

Happy Dog Mojo Coffee Habanero
Jamaican jerk mustard mojo, ancho coffee barbecue, and Momocho habanero sauces

While the ancho coffee sauce was interesting, sweet and smoky, I prefer the spicy stone ground mustard with the tots. I wonder what hot dog toppings would go well with the coffee sauce.

After our visit, I read about a basement with more games! There was no doubt we would return to try more tasty hot dog combinations, but our curiosity is substantially piqued.

- Cassaendra

Happy Dog
5801 Detroit Ave
Cleveland, OH 44102
Tel: (216) 651-9474

3 deep thoughts:

SeattleDee 24 September, 2013 19:22  

O - M - G, book me a ticket, right now, today, to hang out at Happy Dog and graze, maybe forget the dogs just to nibble on those tempting toppings.

Cassaendra 24 September, 2013 22:45  

Hi SeattleDee!

C'mon down! Funny you should comment about grazing the toppings. When I looked over the list, I wondered if anyone has ever ordered their toppings on the side. With a group of 4, you'd be able to try almost all...except that means you'd have to share. :P

Mrs. L 01 October, 2013 00:22  

Okay. Must have. Now. No really. I need to move.

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