“You know what the gourmet here wanted? Hotdogs! You know what they’re made of, Chet? Huh? Lips and assholes!”
Roman Craig (Dan Aykroyd) in The Great Outdoors
Is there any food product that gets less respect than the hot dog? Many jokes have been made a the expense of this tasty, all American treat. Many have speculated on just what goes into them. A Simpsons episode once showed how Lisa Simpspon thought hot dogs were made…and we witnessed a raccoon, a worm, and a rubber boot going through a meat grinder. To be honest, I really don’t care what goes into a hot dog because they taste really good, especially at Martino’s at 1215 W. Layton Avenue in Milwaukee. Many people don’t even realize that Martino’s has a year-round operation in addition to their very popular Summerfest stand. I didn’t until a couple of years ago. Ever since then it has been a lunchtime favorite of mine.
Martino’s knows how to make a great hot dog. They start with Vienna Beef and prepare the dog in several ways. My favorite is Chicago Style which includes that atomic green relish, sport peppers, mustard, onions, tomatoes, pickles and a dash of celery salt. All of this is packed onto a steamed poppy seed bun and wrapped up with what Martino’s calls “a tasting of fries.” As you bite into the hot dog it snaps ever so slightly. This is what hot dog aficionados love. Your mouth is then filled with a cacophony of flavors from the slightly smoky juicy hot dog to the bite of the peppers and relish to the slight tang of the mustard and the cooling effect of the tomatoes. It is one of those combinations that works perfectly. Remove any of the toppings and the effect would be lost. Its kind of like that first bite into a gyro after you have eaten enough of the meat to make it manageable. You have to have the lamb, the steamed pita, the cucumber sauce and the onion and tomato to realize its full potential. The fries are shoestring style and are very good.
Another standout is the corn dog, which is one of my favorite guilty pleasures. That same Vienna dog is coated in a cornmeal batter and fried until it is golden brown and crispy. The result is perfection. No ketchup or mustard is needed, the cornmeal and hot dog become one tasty treat on their own. Martino’s is also famous for their Italian Beef, which is quite tasty, especially with some hot peppers on top.
One of the best things about this place is the value. You can easily leave Martino’s fully satisfied for under 6 bucks.
Martino’s Italian Beef, 1215 W. Layton Ave. 414-281-5580