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Three more places for hot dogs: Dog Almighty, Man Bites Dog, Chris' Little Chicago

Staff Writer
Austin 360

Dog Almighty

3005 S. Lamar Blvd. 912-1105, www.hotdogalmighty.com . Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. Noon to 9 p.m. Sundays.

During this brief window of comfort-food fantasy when we've decided that hot dogs are just fine, Dog Almighty takes it a step further by adding crushed potato chips. For texture, for nostalgia, for laughs, for $2.99.

Nobody takes things too seriously at this lived-in storefront shop with walls covered by colorful local paintings and kids' crayoned hot-dog pictures. But that doesn't mean they won't share your excitement about a $3 frozen mug of Bootlegger Brown beer or a bottle of pumpkin-pie soda from Maine Root.

And they're serious enough when it counts, like with a simple Broken Spoke dog of barbecue sauce and a braid of caramelized onions for $2.79. It's nothing special to look at, but it's twangy and sweet like the honky-tonk next door. Chicago-dog geeks will say the bun's missing poppyseeds and they can't taste the celery salt, but it's fine for $2.89. The meat itself has reasonable snap and good beef texture.

I won't recommend the chili-cheese fries, which had a burnt-chili taste that hung on way past dinner. Corndogs, Frito pie and burgers round out the menu, and all the dogs are a square deal at less than $3.

Man Bites Dog

A trailer at 1311 S. First St. in the South Austin Trailer Park & Eatery. www.manbitesdogaustin.com . Hours: Open at 11 a.m. daily. Until 4 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays, 9 p.m. Thursdays, 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 9 p.m. Sundays.

It's impossible to tell a hot dog story without something on wheels. Man Bites Dog is a recent addition to the rollable feast known as the South Austin Trailer Park & Eatery, which also corrals Torchy's Tacos and a dessert trailer.

For $4.50, the Bird Dog arrives — after a full 12 minutes for it to be cooked fresh — with fat chicken sausage on an industrial strength roll with a flaky crust and a dense, sweet crumb. Corn relish and herbed mayo play off each other with sweet and aromatic notes. One of these would fill up anybody of reasonable appetites. But reason has no place in the Cuban, a big $6 pork sausage wrapped in ham, finished with Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard. It's a two-handed pork-bomb, sure, but it's about as subtle as pro wrestling.

Dogs top out at $6, and the roster of extras includes mango chutney, baked beans, bleu cheese and pepperoni. The choices are fairly slim for sides and drinks, but the beauty of this trailer park is that a red velvet cake ball is just $2 and 20 paces away at Holy Cacao.

Chris' Little Chicago

A trailer at 3600 S. Lamar Blvd. 300-1791, www.chrislittlechicago.com . Hours: 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Mondays. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.

There are dog people and then there are 'Chicago Dog' people. This is their little red trailer. The relish is greener, the sport peppers bigger, the Vienna beef ... Vienna-er. Poppyseeds will dot your smile like black-hole constellations the rest of the day. And it's a bleacher-seat steal at $3.75. I could stop there.

Except that I can't, because it's tough to resist a sampler of four minidogs for $8.50 that represents the depth of Chris Miller's lineup. Good ones with sweet slaw and barbecue sauce, with old-school kraut and mustard, with clean-tasting chili and cheese. And one obligatory hippie-dippie 'Austinite' dog with avocado and mango salsa that gets Austin wrong by the exact degree to which the Chicago Dog gets Chicago right.

The same trailer that turns out a dozen kinds of dogs for $4 or less also lays down hot fries and Italian sandwiches, ready to eat on picnic tables with a greenbelt view on the horizon.

— Mike Sutter