Thursday, November 17, 2011

Dog Haus Biergarten

A few weeks back I got an invitation to attend a grand opening party for Dog Haus's newest location - the "Biergarten" in Old Town. I get invitations like this every so often and I usually ignore them. But that's because they're usually for places that don't sound good to me. But I love Dog Haus. I wrote about the original last year, proclaiming that I had found my new go-to place for hot dogs in Pasadena. So I thought I would go to this party. 

Then I got a little farther down the invitation and saw that it would be a couple of days before Halloween and an "80s-themed costume party." Now, I'm sorry to be a grump, but I cannot envision any situation in which I would attend something like that. My brother could decide his wedding was going to be an 80s-themed costume party and I would not attend. Nothing personal, Dog Haus... we just have different ideas about what's fun. 

But I still wanted to try the place. I mean, it's those awesome hot dogs, and now with beer and outdoor seating. You don't have to have followed this blog for too long to recognize how much those things appeal to me. (Really, if you just started reading this week you'd recognize this truth.)

Many a night I spent on this patio when I was in my 20s and it was redwhite+bluezz, listening to blues and jazz, drinking wine and eating cheese. I prefer this new setup. 

One of the great things about this new Biergarten is... well, the biergarten. They have beer and wine also the full bar left over from Point 08 and redwhite+bluezz. So the list of cocktails is long.

But this was only a little after noon, so we stuck with two bottles of Dublin Dr Pepper.

Elizabeth ordered the Reservoir Dog: chili, mustard and cole slaw. I've had this dog many times over the last year and always loved it. She really liked it but pulled up short of saying she loved it - she thought it would have been better without mustard.

I decided, for the first time, to get one of Dog Haus's burgers. I'd heard they're great, I'd seen pictures, so I took the plunge. I ordered the Holy Aioli: American cheese, caramelized onions, smoked bacon and garlic aioli.

And it was indeed great. I mean... just awesome. The meat was juicy, the onions were bursting with sweetness, the bacon was pretty much perfect, and the sauce was as garlicky as I like it, which is to say pretty damn garlicky. I ate this thing with remarkable speed and I even considered getting another.

But I'd also ordered a Frito Pie. I had thought Elizabeth might want to share it with me, but she did not, leaving me to tackle it alone. I could not finish it. There was a LOT of Fritos and chili. Not that I'm complaining. It was a cool day and this hit the spot.

Dog Haus's wieners are quarter-pound dogs and Elizabeth couldn't finish hers, so she gave me the end - "It's too much wiener for me!" - and I put it on top of the Fritos, with a forkful of slaw. It was the perfect way to end the meal.

I can't see any reason why Dog Haus hasn't come up with another winner here with the Biergarten. I mean, I'm sure there would be times that I hate the place: they're open until 2 AM Thursday-Saturday and I can only imagine the crowd of people craving hot dogs at 1 AM on a Saturday night. (Lord knows I've been part of that crowd many times in years gone by.) But on an overcast Saturday afternoon, with great service, great food, and a total bill for all of this that barely surpassed twenty bucks - I don't remember the last time the two of us had a lunch in Old Town that left us happy and full for that price - it was one of the most pleasant lunches I have had all year.


ben wideman said...

Glad to hear it is a good spot! I wish it had been open while we were in Pasadena. You're making me hungry!

Bekah said...

The perfect toasting of that hamburger bun blows my mind.
Here we have Wild Dawgs for killer hot dogs. And since I think more people should laugh, please check out their logo: .
It made the zealots gasp and the young request it on a t-shirt.
Have a good one!

Michelle said...

Oh my that food looks awesome! Next time I'm in Pas I will be trying it.

SuperLarge said...

Yeah, if they can get it together on a weekday at noon so people can actually order, that would be nice. I walked in there on Monday and walked out again about two minutes later, as did another person. Lunch time is too precious to be milling around while the cashier is twirling her hair. It's too bad.

JustinM said...

Ben: I think you would have liked it, and it would have been an easy spot to drink a beer on the patio with the kid, as a good friend of mine did the other day.

Bekah I want that! (I'm talking about the hot dog, of course.)

Michelle: Definitely do.

SuperLarge: You hit upon the one thing about the place that drives me crazy - it gets swamped and it could be more efficient. I can't tell you how many times I have gone to the original location where the line was out the door and spilling down the street, and stood in line for about five minutes while it did not move before I left. (Actually I can tell you: probably four.)

Now, to be fair, many people are inconsiderate a**holes who spend their whole time in line texting or talking with their friends and don't bother to read the menu, and then spend three minutes deciding what to get when they are at the head of the line. But I've also seen what you described, too.

Bryce said...

I loved my reservoir dog and slider. Service was good when I went in, and everyone was friendly. Only complaint is having to order beer at the bar(unless you want their one pre-selected offering). Putting in two different orders and waiting in two different lines at 4pm isn't a big deal. But I imagine it would be a bit of a pain if there was any sort of crowd.

JustinM said...

I bet Ramen Bryce would have loved this place in college.

Liz said...

That burger was amazing!

Anonymous said...

I love the Dog Haus Biergarten! The Holy Aioli is definitely my favorite- but I leave it open faced and add scrambled eggs- DELISH!

As far as ordering and waiting in line when it's busy- a secret hint is to go sit at the bar and order from there without the hassle of waiting in a long line! Have a beer- eat your food- and enjoy a chit chat with the awesome bartender :)

No matter what- It's worth the wait anyways.

JustinM said...

Thanks for the tip. I've never had a problem with the wait, but I usually try to go far enough from the lunch rush that it's not too crowded. But I know some people who work in Old Town who have to go at that time, and since they're working they don't really want to get a beer at lunch.

The Biergarten has definitely been better than the Hill location in terms of waiting, though.