The Bowery on McKinney, in the charming old house that used to be Lumi, had a low-key opening this weekend. This upscale hot dog restaurant is the brainchild of three blossoming restaurateurs: Richard and Tiffanee Ellman of Oak and John Paul Valverde, part owner of Campo.
For all involved, it's an interesting leap from upscale Campo and Oak to a hot dog joint. But the Bowery, named in homage to the 1860s Bowery District in NYC, isn't your typical hot dog joint. I'm not really even sure what a hot dog joint is, but this surely ain't it.
The recently remodeled interior is a cozy, modern den and the wood paneled walls and dark floors give it more age than it actually has. The menu goes from simple (corn dog and onion rings) to eclectic (foie gras).
Valverde said he took on this venture because he saw what might be a gap in the local hot dog market. He also wanted something that was a bit more laid back and family-friendly compared to Campo. "Gluttony" was surely somewhere on the draft as well.
There's no table service; it's order at the front then happily await your order. In addition to a small bar, there are lots of tables on the patio around the "house," in addition to a few communal tables and lots of four-seaters throughout the dining room.
The "Travelers" section of the menu is like an around-the-world road trip in the big Oscar Meyer Weiner mobile: The Chicago Dog, The Buffalo dog (made with a battered chicken dog), The Mexican Dog (bacon-wrapped dog, pinto beans, etc.) and The Italian Dog. There's even a Bahn-Mi and a Moroccan Dog (Merguez sausage, harissa slaw, apricot slaw). All in the $7.50 to $8.50 range.
The "High Brow" section goes off the grid: Croque Madame (Paris ham, béchamel, swiss cheese and fried egg), Royal Wagyu and a Duo of Duck (duck sausage, seared foie gras, blueberry jam, scallions). The Overstuff Dutchman is served on a baguette with waffle fries, bacon, chives and a smoked gouda mornay sauce.
The most expensive item on the menu is the Duo of Duck at $18. Other than that, the Royal Wagyu is $10.00 and everything else is $9 or under.
All of the fancy meat is made in-house; only the all-beef frank is outsourced, but they won't say where even though they tout the local-angle. The bread is also baked fresh daily, but again, Valverde wouldn't say where. (Your guess is as good as mine...)
Also, for Sunday brunch they'll have Champagne and hot dogs, which essentially sums up the entire concept here: who said hot dogs can't be fancy? They even have a champagne cocktail menu (the Midnight Flight has champagne, Belvedere vodka, crème de violetta, star anise)
Beers on tap include Old Rasputin, Mirror Pond Pale Ale and Black Butte Porter from Deschutes Brewery, which can be found at their full-service bar.
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Top it all off with shakes and malts with house-made ice cream.
In what might be the best piece of news on this place, The Bowery is open until 2:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, and midnight all other nights.
As most people already know, parking is hard in this area. Valet next door is $5. It's probably time we embrace it.
For now, they're only open for dinner service, but watch their Facebook page for lunch, which they hope to start in the next week or so.