Dogs R Us Grill - Port St. John - 4 Stars
"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."
Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)
I couldn't help it. The moment I saw the sign for Dogs 'R' Us on the door this famous line from Shakespeare came bounding from the long-lost memories of high school English class to the forefront of my consciousness (See? I was paying some attention, Mrs. Gabe!). As I entered the premises I could only hope that the menu was more creative than the name; otherwise, this was sure to be a letdown. What I found inside was, at least by all appearances, a much-needed step up from the name on the door.
Having the appropriate number of big screen HD tv's hanging from the walls, a few sports jerseys and other athletic paraphernalia it was clear you were in a sports bar. The floor was clean, the dining area well lit and there was ample room to get up and move around if one had the need. The place was packed for lunch and after a brief wait, I was lead to my table. Reveling in the game day atmosphere I forced my eyes from the television to my menu and began to scrutinize the listed cuisine. My server, Breanna, soon approached, introduced herself and asked if I was ready to order. I asked if she could bring me: 1 Chicago footlong standard style, 1 Old Fashioned footlong, 1 Pizza Burger with a side of onion rings and 1 freshly brewed iced tea.
Breanna soon returned with my iced tea and as she set it down, despite being slammed for the lunch hour, asked me if I wanted some fresh lemon with my tea. That right there told me all I needed to know about her professionalism. She was on top of her game all day long. Setting the food down in front of me, Breanna asked once again if I needed anything else, then hustled off to attend to her other guests.
One bite into my Chicago dog and I knew it came as advertised as there is no mistaking that 100% all beef taste. The dog was grilled to a superb doneness, topped with what was obviously homemade relish and some of the freshest peppers I have ever had. It was a paragon of how an authentic, honest to Ditka Chi-town dog oughta taste. The Old Fashioned dog soon became my second favorite item with that moniker as it too was crafted with obvious care and a passion for food. Not only was the dog 100% beef, but the bacon and cheese were also real. No canned "nacho cheese flavored food product" on this dog! The Pizza Burger was grilled to a superlative medium, topped with melted provolone and homemade pizza sauce. The faux Italian in me immediately wanted to break into a rendition of, "O Sole Mio," but out of respect for my fellow diners, I refrained (you're welcome). The accompanying onion rings were obviously hand cut, battered and fried. The chef unquestionably knew his/her way around the fryer as they battered evenly fried to a mouthwatering golden brown and sweet on the palate. Just like Mustard's Last Stand, Dogs 'R' Us quickly became one of my favorite hot dog joints, unlike Mustard's Last Stand, they fumbled their name.
The Big Boy says, "Dontcha know for a dog so authentic you may pick up a Chicago accent, make a beeline to Dogs 'R' Us in Port St. John." #bigboydiningout