Dr. Dawg, are you serious?
Yes I am. Dr Dawg despite the name has a seriously great burger. Dr. Dawg is a Chicago style hot dog-Italian beef-burgers shop like you find on just about every street in Chicago, there are very few in the Milwaukee area. Despite the fact that it is Chicago inspired in the middle of Packerland and Cheesehead Central, the food is very good.
As a matter of fact , I used to live in Chicago when I got out of high school and despite having to get used to living on your own in a very fast paced city, I got a job at Dogs ‘R’ Us near Belmont & Broadway near where I lived and I’m very familiar with the menu that is pretty standard for these types of places. I also learned how a REAL hot dog is supposed to taste (not an Oscar Meyer pork byproduct dog) with a Vienna frank made with beef on a steamed bun and raw onions, mustard, hot peppers, pickle spear, celery salt, tomatoes and that special neon green relish but never ketchup. NEVER ketchup! This was new to me since I always put ketchup and mustard on a hot dog but trust me, they are militant about not putting ketchup on a hot dog down there. There are hot dog shops that will throw you out for asking for ketchup on your hot dog. I’m serious.
The burgers at these places are usually good but not great by any means, just a frozen patty thrown on the grill, mashed with a spatula, slid off onto a cheap bun and had the usual fixings thrown on top and that was it. I had to get creative in ways to try to make them for myself when I ate them every day but there was only so much you could do with thin frozen patties and cheap buns. This however is how most of the Chicago hot dog joints treat their burgers on the menu. But not Dr. Dawg.
Dr. Dawg is owned by a transplanted couple from Chicago who know food. Although they patterned the sore after the style in Chicago they really focused on improving the quality and taste of the food to be better than what is typical. The burgers start out from high quality beef from Niman Ranch that is fed from a strict vegetarian diet with raised in humane standards. This part is so key in making a great burger. From there, the meat is mixed in a special blend that the owner perfected based on a blend used by his mom and created by his dad who was a butcher in Chicago that supplied beef to high end restaurants. The patties are loosely formed by hand and then seared on a griddle to lock the juices in and then char grilled.
Note- they grill the burgers to a medium well doneness unless you ask first. They will grill it to however you like it but make sure you specify or it will more well done.
There are numerous toppings you can get but you know that when you see Nueske’s bacon as an option that it is not a typical fast food place. The Dawg’s hot sauce and mayo makes a really good sauce by the way with great flavor and just enough heat.
Don’t pass on the fries by the way. I have cut back on fries to the point I no longer order them or substitute something else in place of them because after having so many burgers and fries, it started taking it’s toll in added weight I gained but I didn’t pass up the free small order of fries I received during the one year anniversary of Dr. Dawg’s opening. These reminded me of the fries at Dogs ‘R’ Us that I made myself. They are fried to a dark brown with coarse salt on top and really full of flavor. They have a creamy consistency on the inside of the fry and a great dark brown exterior that is far and above the typical blanched white potato French fry you see everywhere. These are really worth trying.
Here is my burger from my second visit:
Dr. Dawg even serves beer with a surprisingly good beer list: