Barry Campbell

July 1, 2004

Post #1719 – 20040701

Mr. Pinkwater,

I’ve always enjoyed your comments on NPR. (My mother, a retired children’s librarian, is one of your biggest fans, I think, and she turned me on to your writing years ago.)

At any rate, a piece you did on NPR years and years ago has stayed with me, because we share a common obsession: the Chicago hot dog. I remember your delight at finding a place near your home that served the authentic article.

Well, I have good news for you. You live in the Hudson Valley, yes? If business or pleasure ever require your presence in New York City, there is a new place to get a thoroughly authentic Chicago dog. Restaurateur Danny Meyer has opened a permanent stand, called the Shake Shack, in the beautifully restored Madison Square Park (a little gem of a city park bounded by 23rd and 26th Streets on the north and south, Madison and Fifth Avenues on the east and west.)

Meyer offers beautiful frozen-custard-based desserts (the custard, honestly, is to die for) and lovely old-school hamburgers and hot dogs. One of the many, many hot dog options is the Chicago-style dog.

The presentation is authentic to six decimal places: a beef hot dog, on poppy-seed roll, dressed with green relish (a green that does not occur in nature), onion, little tomato wedges, a pickle spear, sport peppers, a generous dollop of good mustard, and a dash of celery salt.

Just the other day I had a couple of these lovely artisanal sausage sandwiches, and a little cup of exquisite frozen custard afterward. I was a happy, happy man.

For the record, I have no commercial affiliation with Danny Meyer or the Shake Shack. I’m just a fat guy, giddy with delight.

Daniel replies:

I remind and warn you--they are not artisanal--they are antiarterial. Use with caution.