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How 'bout them dogs

Aaah, the nearness of summer! Backyard barbecues, marshmallows on sticks over the fire pit — what could be better?
Letting someone else do the cooking!

For a hot dog unlike any you’ll find at the local supermarket, swing into SubDogs HotDoggery on Broughton Street. This is the downtown destination for gourmet hot dogs.

“Gourmet hot dog.” That’s probably not a phrase Upton Sinclair ever imagined in the wake of his groundbreaking novel The Jungle.

The expos  about the life of immigrants in the United States is best remembered for its insider’s look at the turn–of–the–century meatpacking industry. Thanks to Sinclair, the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 was passed and laid the groundwork for meat safety – which today allows us to fall in love with what we call a gourmet hot dog.

History class over, we can return to SubDogs. Chef and owner Matt Jording kicked this concept around for a decade before launching near the busy Broughton and Bull streets intersection. His sells a full half–pound frank that is custom made using premium ingredients. That “say ahh”–sized dog is nestled into a house–baked bun for a perfect fit, then topped with any number of mouthwatering – and in some cases – zany ingredients.

I kept it pretty simple, opting for the Philly Wit, topped with saut ed green and red bell peppers, onions and Cheese Whiz. These meal–sized wieners are a hands–on affair and this gooey behemoth sent me scrambling for the napkins. The bun was ridiculously soft, the dog piping hot and the toppings fresh.

Still, the purist in me scrapped away the goodies midway through and doused the rest of my dog with mustard. Oh dog heaven.

There are 17 dog or brat options on the menu, a handful of salads and Dog Nughts – corndog nuggets sold in sixes,   buckets or a full bucket. Turn any dog into a meal deal for another $2–$2.50 and get an order of fries and a fountain drink.
Happy hour, 4–9 p.m. daily, offers a free beer with your dog.  That’s something to bark about! Find the entire menu online at

5 W. Broughton St./790–5050

Breakfast blues

That divine little Soul fusion joint, Café Florie, has stopped breakfast service and will focus on lunch and dinner. 

Saturday brunch will continue, from 9 a.m.–3 p.m., then dinner service runs until 8 p.m. Regular lunch and dinner hours will be Tuesday through Friday 11 a.m.–8 p.m.

Eat the wildlife

I spied a full–sized raccoon in Johnson Square during Taste of Downtown. It wasn’t cavorting about the moss–draped trees. It was sitting proudly on a vendors table holding a sign: “I am a cake!”

Darned if it wasn’t.

Designer, baker and artist Ashlee Perkins of Tier Luxury Cakes crafted the stunningly authentic looking critter. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because Perkins has appeared on Food Network Challenge and is recognized as an up–and–coming designer in the luxury cake industry.  Perkins shop is at Broughton and Abercorn streets.

You can see her gallery of cakes and contact her via her website,