Chicago transplants inevitably ask me this question: Where can I find a Chicago dog, an Italian beef and a real deep-dish pizza?
I’m still looking for that beef sandwich and real deep-dish, but here’s one more place for a Chicago dog.
Newly opened CaskCades in downtown Puyallup, a family-friendly craft beer, hot dog and game emporium, opened Thursday with a menu of hot dogs that includes an ode to a traditional Chicago staple.
Chicagoans will be happy to hear that co-owners, longtime friends AJ Wiltrout and Andy Gaine, went to great lengths to source the ingredients, all the way down to the neon green relish and crunchy sport peppers.
Here’s a first look at CaskCades. It’s this paper’s policy to avoid criticism of a food and service in a restaurant’s first month.
That Chicago dog: Wiltrout and Gaine bring serious Chicago hot dog game. Everything looked and tasted right on their Chi-Town ($5.75).
I know from being schooled (many, many times) by Chicago transplants that there is a divide between the hot dogs used on a real-deal Chicago Dog.
The steamed Red Hot frank was served on a poppy seed-dusted bun and arrived properly “dragged through the garden,” which is a fun way to say that they follow “the rules” when it comes to the usual Chicago dog toppings: chopped onions, tomato slices, a pickle spear, the signature neon-green relish, yellow mustard, sport peppers and a dusting of celery salt.
Chicagoans might find fault that the pickle spear at CaskCade’s showed up on the side, but that’s an easy fix: Tuck it into the bun.
The rest of the dog menu: I bit into the Puyallup Fair hot dog and found a tasty Red Hot beef frank, plus contrasting drizzles of barbecue and white cheddar sauces (just, yum), chopped, fresh onions and a slice of bacon ($5.75). The Ring of Fire was approaching Defcon Level Get Me Another Beer with a beef dog and bacon with Sriracha and Aardvark habanero sauce ($5.50). Sweet strawberry jelly and cream cheese cooled the heat.
Other dogs on my to-try list include the Mud Slide with peanut butter and bacon ($5.50), the S’more with marshmallow sauce, chocolate chips and graham crackers ($5.50) and the Captain PBandJ with peanut butter, jelly and Cap’n Crunch cereal ($5.25). Like it simple? Get the Day Hike with brown mustard, relish and onions ($5).
For vegans: Field Roast's Frankfurter for an extra $1 charge.
Sides: Tim’s Cascade chips with any hot dog, or add $2.50 and get a choice of slaw (the wasabi slaw was snappy and fresh) or garden salad (not from a bag).
More to eat: Snack plates include a hummus ($7.95), charcuterie plate ($15.95) fruit-and-cheese ($12.95) plate. Also, smoked meat-and-cheese mix ($8.95), plus pot pies with a side ($7.50).
Kids meal: Hot dog with juice and chips or apple slices ($5).
On tap: Snoqualmie Root Beer for kids (plus packaged juices). For grown-ups, 32 taps with adult beverages including a healthy selection of South Sound beer (I spotted local brewers Wingman, Wet Coast and Puyallup River Brewing), with IPAs, ambers, reds, darks, gluten-free choices. Ciders and wines also on tap.
Atmosphere: Friendly, casual. Order at the counter and take a seat at one of the tables in the front or side dining rooms. Adults-only seating at the bar. The dining room seats about 40.
The games: Stand-up and sit-down electronic arcade games, plus a few pinball machines and shelves stuffed full of board and card games.
Another real deal: For the diehard Chicago fan who is on Team Vienna, check out The Hometown Dogs food truck, which serves theirs with Vienna Beefs dragged through the garden.
Pretty close: Shake Shake Shake in Tacoma’s Stadium neighborhood and The Red Hot tavern (21+ diners) both have Chicago-dog nods on their menus. The Red Hot also serves a vegan version called the North End Not Dog.
Where:106 N. Meridian, Puyallup;
Info: 253-256-4210; facebook.com/CaskCades