The Austin Chronicle

Restaurant Review

Reviewed by Rachel Feit, December 2, 2011, Food

Man Bites Dog

5222 Burnet Rd., 614-1330
Sunday-Thursday, 11am-9pm; Friday-Saturday, 11am-10pm

Is there any doubt that the food trailer business is Austin's latest rags-to-riches industry? In May, Man Bites Dog, the 2-year-old hot dog trailer formerly on South Lamar, opened its first storefront at Burnet Road and North Loop. Already, owner Jeremiah Allen is opening a second location on South Lamar.

Man Bites Dog is not just the latest food trailer success story. It is also the latest entry in a line of successful eateries (think Torchy's Tacos, Roll On Sushi Diner, Gourdough's) that take a classic concept – in this case the hot dog – and glam it up with shiny bells and whistles. Consider the Danger Dog ($5.59): an all-beef frank wrapped in bacon, fried, and topped with queso fresco, jalapeños, and hot sauce. It says "heartburn" in three different languages.

The menu here adheres to two primary principles: 1) that you can never have too much of a good thing and 2) that all good things taste better with a dog. Like buffalo wings? There's a hot dog for that. Man Bites Dog's Buffalo Hottie ($5.29) is a Vienna sausage amply topped with bleu cheese and buffalo wing sauce. Like barbecue? Try the Boss Dog ($5.79), a pork sausage topped with pulled pork, coleslaw, and mustard. Purists, don't despair: There's always the Old School ($3.79): an all-beef frank, plain and simple. All hot dogs are served on spongy, soft, kolache-style buns whose sweetness contrasts nicely with the aggressive tastes inside.

Here you will find solid, meaty man food of many stripes (and, not surprisingly, the majority of Man Bites Dog's customers are male). But there's a little something for everyone at this accessible, retro-influenced storefront. If dogs aren't your thing, then consider an order of crisp tater tots ($3.29 for a large) or briny fried pickle slices ($3.59). Both are compulsively snackable. For the kid in all of us, there's even a Frito pie ($2.99) and macaroni and cheese topped with pulled pork ($3.99) – though to be perfectly honest, we found the watery macaroni and cheese singularly unappetizing in both look and taste.

Fundamentally, the franks are the attraction at Man Bites Dog, where edible pop art is built daily from the world's favorite snacks.

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