There are at least five scenes in Mudville in which hot dogs are consumed and commented on. It’s a baseball novel, after all.
One of these scenes feature what I call in the book as a “divey” place on the outskirts of town called Uncle Franky’s. The hot dogs there are good, Roy decides, especially with Uncle Franky’s sauce.
I didn’t make up the name Uncle Franky’s. I drive by it one all the time in Minneapolis. It’s on Broadway Avenue in what’s called “Nordeast,” one of the more colorful neighborhoods in the city. I’d never actually eaten there — I just liked the name and the logo.
So my wife and I checked out their new location on campus where we both work. It’s in an out-of-the-way corner of an old building called “Dinkydale” on 14th Ave SE and Fourth Street… the very Fourth Street that Bob Dylan once sang about (he used to live in an apartment above an adjacent building and worked the corners and coffee shops of the neighborhood).
First of all, scratch divey. It’a a nice, well-kept place with a staff that seemed to genuinely enjoy making hot dogs and serving them to you.
Second of all, scratch the sauce. They had every topping you can imagine, but none were branded as Uncle Franky’s condiments. You can get outrageous combinations of things, like a frankfurter topped with sliced Italian beef… certainly an intriguing thought but I wasn’t sure my gut could handle it.
Speaking of food that made Chicago famous, my wife went for the Chicago Dog.
I went for my favorite meal from childhood — a coney.
All in all, they do a hot dog proud at Uncle Franky’s.