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The Sixth Borough aka Bootsie's Hot Dogs


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#31 Andrew Fenton

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Posted 31 August 2006 - 12:56 PM

the thing that i wonder about that place is how long they're going to last without getting sued by someone falling and breaking their neck on the extremely treacherous grease-covered tile floor.  i mean, i've come this close to wiping out every time i've been in there.


That's why the doctor is always telling you it's not healthy to eat all those greasy burgers, see? It's got nothing to do with your arteries.

#32 MarketStEl

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Posted 31 August 2006 - 01:56 PM

Not sure if Mr. Butz has read this but Michael Klein of the INKY has. Today's food section reports favorable buzz. "The budget- conscious crowd on E-Gullet has seized on the prices"

No mention, however of the way negative service reported on this thread.

Oh and Bootsie's partner is a writer for General Hospital, seems like there isn't a whole lot of restaurant experience in this venture.

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.org, Michael, .org...
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#33 Holly Moore

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Posted 31 August 2006 - 02:58 PM

Okay, back again today. First things first, service has been friendly on both of my visits. Right place, right time I guess.

Tried both the buffalo dog and the organic beef dog. The buffalo dog was so much like the kobe dog that I'm wondering if I might have received a buffalo dog my first visit by mistake. Just as un-greasy and lacking juicy flavor.

The organic beef dog is by far my favorite of the three. Juicy and a real hot dog flavor. But I miss the snap of a natural casing dog. I'll keep asking. Maybe they'll humor me one of these days.

For those asking about Five Guys - only one I've been to so far is one of their Arlington VA operations. My burger was way over cooked. The fries were good. So was their dog. I'll probably hit the Chestnut Street 5 Guys this weekend and hope for a properly cooked burger and peace on both sides of the counter.

Back to Bootsie's - Bootsie's fills a major Center City eating deficiency that has been unfilled since Levis' was sold back in the mid 80's and since Dewey's shook their last shake - a walk in, walk up to the counter kind of place - quick service, real food - available on Sundays and evenings. I'm pulling for them and believe they are smart enough to listen to their customers and adapt to their suggestions and criticisms.

That said, if the place was mine, I'd put a serious, basic New York style dog on the menu, I'd trim the hot dog buns so the dog hangs out the ends or at least reaches the ends, and I'd either twice fry my fries or switch to a Nathan's krinkle cut. (I go to Nathans as much for their fries as their dogs.) But it's not mine, so all I can do is whine a bit every once in a while, between bites of dogs or burgers.

Edited to add - I see the owner's membership to eGullet has been activated. I'm expecting he'll be joining in this conversation soon.

Edited by Holly Moore, 31 August 2006 - 03:17 PM.

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#34 MarketStEl

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Posted 31 August 2006 - 08:17 PM

For those asking about Five Guys - only one I've been to so far is one of their Arlington VA operations.  My burger was way over cooked.  The fries were good.  So was their dog.  I'll probably hit the Chestnut Street 5 Guys this weekend and hope for a properly cooked burger and peace on both sides of the counter.

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If by "properly cooked" you mean "not brown all the way through," you're going to be disappointed. Their policy--posted on a sign at the order counter--is to cook all burgers well done, and no, don't ask.

Judging from comments I've seen elsewhere, this policy applies to all their locations.
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#35 Holly Moore

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Posted 31 August 2006 - 09:15 PM

Thanks for saving me a trip to 5 Guys though I might still go for their fries.

Anyone know if, in Philadelphia / Pennsylvania, the well done policy is imposed by over-protective authorities, or is another example of corporate lowest common denominatorism?
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#36 Bluehensfan

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Posted 01 September 2006 - 06:29 AM

Bluehen (or anyone else)- How do you think 5 Guys compares to Jakes? I like Jakes but give the nod to Charcoal Pit for best to go burger in our gastronomicaly humble state.

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When Jake's first opened the burgers were much better than the Charcoal Pit. Unfortunately my last visit to Jake's (in November of last year at the Elsemere location) was so bad that I have not returned since. The burger was beyond overdone, dry, and deviod of flavor, and was topped with a green and brown colored tomato slice (as in one). The fries were actually limp and cold (which is really odd seeing that they never used to be like that) and the black and white milkshake was terrific but not enough to salvage the meal. Jake's burgers used to be really fresh tasting and juicy but on a few occasions before that visit they were starting to go downhill, as in cooked to death, which is a shame since they only use fresh meat.

We have been back to the Charcoal Pit a few times, and even though their burgers are admittedly frozen, preformed patties, you can order them rare and there is still someone at the place who knows how to cook. The fries have always been fine and the milkshakes decent, although a notch below Jake's.

I suspect that Jake's is expanding too quickly (as in the next Five Guy's?) as I read a while back that they are franchising to places like Tampa, Florida.

While Jake's took the crown from the Charcoal Pit a few years back as having the best burger, with poor prep and quality control issues they have shot themselves in the foot. At this point in time i'd say the Pit has the best burgers in the state although I've never tried that Red Robin place in Bear. I would place Five Guys as being second and Jake's third. The fries are much better at the pit too, as Five Guys near us can't seem to cook them properly (or has not changed the oil since last summer). Maybe Emeril's business partner who bought the Camellia Grill in New Orleans will expand to DE and then I will be happy...

#37 Bluehensfan

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Posted 01 September 2006 - 06:39 AM

Thanks for saving me a trip to 5 Guys though I might still go for their fries.

Anyone know if, in Philadelphia / Pennsylvania, the well done policy is imposed by over-protective authorities, or is another example of corporate lowest common denominatorism?

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The Five Guys in Delaware has a sign that states that all burgers are prepared well done so I suspect it's (like Jake's burgers in DE) another slap in the face for customers. I like my burgers rare but I can put up with well done but still juicy. But it seems that there are some line cooks that figure a few extra minutes cooking time won't hurt but in reality it's not the case.

Edited by Bluehensfan, 01 September 2006 - 10:17 AM.


#38 mrbigjas

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Posted 01 September 2006 - 06:44 AM

i can't be the only one to think that a super-greasy fast food burger is just fine cooked all the way through. if it's greasy enough, it's not dry.

#39 Holly Moore

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Posted 01 September 2006 - 08:51 AM

A well done burger, no matter how greasy, is always a disappointment - and often a predictor about a joint's tao. Nothing good comes from a well done burger.

That said, if the bun is buttered and toasted, the mayo real, the tomatoes vine ripened, the cheese aged cheddar, and the burger is still juicy, greasy, and charcoally, there is a possibility that the accoutrements will disguise a well done burger enough to make it edible and possibly enjoyable.
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#40 rlibkind

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Posted 01 September 2006 - 11:20 AM

Anyone know if, in Philadelphia / Pennsylvania, the well done policy is imposed by over-protective authorities, or is another example of corporate lowest common denominatorism?

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From Philadelphia Department of Public Health's regulations governing food service establishments:

"Hamburger patties and other ground meat products shall be heated to ensure that all parts of the product are heated to 155ºF (68.3ºC)."
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#41 MarketStEl

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Posted 01 September 2006 - 05:24 PM

Thanks for saving me a trip to 5 Guys though I might still go for their fries.

Anyone know if, in Philadelphia / Pennsylvania, the well done policy is imposed by over-protective authorities, or is another example of corporate lowest common denominatorism?

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The Five Guys in Delaware has a sign that states that all burgers are prepared well done so I suspect it's (like Jake's burgers in DE) another slap in the face for customers. I like my burgers rare but I can put up with well done but still juicy. But it seems that there are some line cooks that figure a few extra minutes cooking time won't hurt but in reality it's not the case.

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Count me in with Bluehensfan (BTW, your avatar is broken).

I can deal with a well done burger if it's not well done to the point of dryness. Five Guys--at least the one on Chestnut--gets its burgers off the grill and onto the bun while they still have juices left in them.

That said, medium rare is where I prefer mine.
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#42 Bluehensfan

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Posted 01 September 2006 - 07:15 PM

Count me in with Bluehensfan (BTW, your avatar is broken).

I can deal with a well done burger if it's not well done to the point of dryness.  Five Guys--at least the one on Chestnut--gets its burgers off the grill and onto the bun while they still have juices left in them.

That said, medium rare is where I prefer mine.

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Sorry...I fixed the avatar...must be the rain? (or just blame SEPTA!)

I still like my burgers rare. What's the world coming to when there's a sushi joint serving raw fish on every corner but you can't get a burger rare in this city?

Edited by Bluehensfan, 01 September 2006 - 07:16 PM.


#43 simply_perfect

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Posted 01 September 2006 - 07:37 PM

Well all, we at BOOTSIE’S cook all our burgers to medium! You can even get it medium rare if we’re not super busy. Our burgers are juicy and 8 oz. across the board (other then our 4 oz. kid’s burger). Everything we offer is natural and free of by-products and fillers. See you all soon.

#44 Holly Moore

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Posted 01 September 2006 - 08:01 PM

Welcome to eGullet.

The burgers are next on my list.
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#45 KatieLoeb

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Posted 01 September 2006 - 09:05 PM

Welcome simply_perfect! Happy to have you join us here.

Speaking as one who has been accused of same, shameless shilling should be kept to a minimum. :biggrin: :wink:

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#46 simply_perfect

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Posted 01 September 2006 - 10:31 PM

Welcome simply_perfect!  Happy to have you join us here.

Speaking as one who has been accused of same, shameless shilling should be kept to a minimum. :biggrin:  :wink:

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katie, i'll do my best :laugh:

#47 MarketStEl

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 04:53 AM

A well done burger, no matter how greasy, is always a disappointment - and often a predictor about a joint's tao.  Nothing good comes from a well done burger.

That said, if the bun is buttered and toasted, the mayo real, the tomatoes vine ripened, the cheese aged cheddar, and the burger is still juicy, greasy, and charcoally, there is a possibility that the accoutrements will disguise a well done burger enough to make it edible and possibly enjoyable.

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Don't think Five Guys will meet this criterion.

They use a standard restaurant grill, and the cheese is American. (Edited to add: Oops! Scratch the comment about the cheese. They do offer you a choice of cheeses--American, cheddar and provolone. I think they may offer Swiss as well, but don't quote me on that.)

However, the tomatoes were real ripe ones--and this is one of the few occasions where I ate them on the burger.

As I'm a ketchup-and-mustard guy myself, I can't vouch for the mayo.

Moving back to the topic at hand, price aside, it does sound like Bootsie's has seriously good fare from these initial reports, pace the comments about the hot dogs. And if I can afford to plunk down $10 at Good Dog or $15 at Rouge every now and then, I can certainly afford to go there.

Take a good look at the avatar attached to this post, simply_perfect. Someone bearing a strong resemblance to it will be walking through your door before long.

Edited by MarketStEl, 02 September 2006 - 04:55 AM.

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#48 Andrew Fenton

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Posted 04 September 2006 - 07:04 PM

Maybe it's just wrong place, wrong time, but I just left Five Guys Famous Burgers and Fries (the new one, 1527 Chestnut), where I witnessed another behind-the-counter melee


I tried 5 Guys this afternoon and was disappointed by the fast, courteous service. No fighting, no fireworks. Oh well.

Anyway, I thought the burger was pretty good. Not as in "Philadelphia's best" good, but as in "head and shoulders over other chain burgers" good: greasy, sloppy, with lots of onions and pickles. And as other have remarked, very good french fries, and lots of 'em.

I'll try Bootsie's one of these days, too.

#49 Andrew Fenton

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Posted 09 September 2006 - 11:29 AM

I'll try Bootsie's one of these days, too.


... and I did, today!

I thought that the organic beef dog was pretty good, and the chili nice and spicy. And I'm always psyched when I go to a place that serves fresh lemon- and limeade.

Service was friendly, and more efficient than I was (I walked away from the counter without paying and had to be gently reminded that the food wasn't free...) The bill for two dogs, two lemonades, and fries was $15, which doesn't seem too unreasonable to me.

Next time I'll try some of the more exotic sausages. I definitely haven't had enough baby animals in my diet lately.

#50 KatieLoeb

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Posted 09 September 2006 - 01:37 PM

I made it over to Bootsie's today too. Mr. Butz and I realized we knew each other from way back when I worked for a certain wine shop in NJ. Small world - even smaller town.

I had an organic beef dog with the spinach and garlic topping and a little schmear of mustard. Outstanding! I'm also a fan of the fresh limeade and my fries were twice fried and delicious. I'm told they've had lines out the door at times and am not surprised. This is great fast food, made with high quality ingredients. And they're open late. This beats the hell out of Lorenzo's pizza or either Passyunk Avenue cheesesteak for a when-the-bars-get-out snack.

Service today was vastly improved over my last visit. Friendly and efficient. I was offered a taste of one of the toppings I inquired about. Nice.

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#51 VictorFiorillo

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Posted 28 September 2006 - 01:08 PM

Word is that Bootsie's is handing out free brekfast sandwiches tomorrow morning on Market between 16th and 18th. 7:30-8:30am.

#52 Bluehensfan

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Posted 29 September 2006 - 05:49 AM

Here's a follow up on the Five Guys/Jake's debate. Last weekend had (gulp!) both. This time we tried the Jake's location in Newark given our bad luck at the Elsemere branch. The Newark store hasn't missed a beat. The burger was fabulous, just like it always has been and the fries (with old bay seasoning) were done just right. It really makes me wonder why the Jake's in Elsmere is so much worse. Five Guys was the usual. Good burger, but not as good as Jake's at it's best. I still was not impressed by the fries there my last visit...they still taste a bit burned to me.

I still gotta try Bootsie's one of these weeks and add that one to the mix, but with all of the exotic options there, I can't see myself ordering a traditional burger!

#53 MarketStEl

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Posted 12 November 2006 - 08:38 PM

Take a good look at the avatar attached to this post, simply_perfect.  Someone bearing a strong resemblance to it will be walking through your door before long.

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I don't know whether Bootsie recognized me when I stopped by on Saturday afternoon, but we did end up chatting quite a bit about the food, the business and future plans -- and he keeps an eye out for comments on this board.

I said I'd post one. Here it is: The service is fine and the Kobe beef burger is one of the best in town. Bootsie's gets extra points for producing a medium rare burger when I requested one. (The woman behind the counter was a little slow in asking me how I wanted it, so by the time I relayed my preference, the burger that was being made for me was on its way to medium. Bootsie put a new patty on, then later thanked me for giving him his breakfast.)

The fries are also first-rate, properly crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside. These shoestring fries are a dark brown color to boot, which suggests to me that they had a pretty thorough second go-round in the fryer.

The menu now features several burger combos -- an effort, I imagine, to make it easier for patrons to make up their minds by offering some toppings pre-selected. I went for the burger with blue cheese, sauteed mushrooms and sauteed onions -- a dynamite combo. The burger was so juicy, the whole grain bun went all soggy on me. My T-shirt resembled Holly Moore's shirt by the time the meal was over.

Now I have to go back to try that Kobe beef hot dog.
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#54 Rich Pawlak

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Posted 12 November 2006 - 10:11 PM

I stopped into Bootsie's on Wednesday afternoon, and it was nicely crowded, always a good sign. I proceeded to order the buffalo hot dog and the fennel Italian sausage and an order of fries. I was totally underwhelmed, I'm sorry to say.

The hot dog was mushy to me, even though I asked for it well done. Didnt care for the texture. The bun tasted stale.

The sausage was also a dull one, could hardly taste any fennel! My sandwich was drowned in red and orange peppers, and served on a pumpernickle roll of some kind. What the hell was that kind of bread doing wrapped around an Italian sausage??

My fries were good, but weren't hot. There were not fresh out of the fryer, and had obviously been sitting a while. So, 3 for 3, kinda disappointing, considering what has been said here. And a mighty stiff tarrif to pay as well. Sorry, I had to be honest.

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#55 Bluehensfan

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Posted 19 December 2006 - 12:09 PM

Looks like Bootsie's got the boot. In the window is a sign stating they will re-open in early January as a full service restaurant featuring a Continental and Mediterranean menu, including steak and other great creations. Is that where the chef from the Waterworks landed?

#56 simply_perfect

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Posted 19 December 2006 - 07:45 PM

Looks like Bootsie's got the boot. In the window is a sign stating they will re-open in early January as a full service restaurant featuring a Continental and Mediterranean menu, including steak and other great creations. Is that where the chef from the Waterworks landed?

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Sorry to disappoint you, but we did not get the boot. We made a business decision to change our Philadelphia venue. As far as our chef goes, it’s not who you think it is. The guy I put in charge of our menu and kitchen has been in the business for about 30 years and has proven himself as a valuable asset and welcome addition to our crew. We will as you stated re-open the first week of 2007 with a full menu for both lunch and dinner, consisting of Mediterranean and continental cuisine. We are also participating in Philadelphia magazine “Philly cooks” on January 17th. Included in our transformation are also a proposed wine and specialty beer bar, as well as, the appropriate atmosphere for the type of dinning we will offer. Hope to see you in our re-fashioned restaurant soon :biggrin:

#57 rlibkind

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Posted 19 December 2006 - 08:58 PM

Well, looks like the high-end hot dogs did not prove themselves in the Center City marketplace, since simply_perfect is shifting gears to what he obviously believes will be a more economically renumerative line.

While it usually pays to overcharge the American public, the humble frankfurter rarely supports such a pricing approach.

What this city needs is a good $3-$4 dog, like a natural casing all-beef Best Provision or Usingers dog. For cheap dogs I'll go for the fifty-centers at Ikea, which have got to be the cheapest in town.
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#58 Bluehensfan

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Posted 20 December 2006 - 07:00 AM

Well, looks like the high-end hot dogs did not prove themselves in the Center City marketplace, since simply_perfect is shifting gears to what he obviously believes will be a more economically renumerative line.

While it usually pays to overcharge the American public, the humble frankfurter rarely supports such a pricing approach.

What this city needs is a good $3-$4 dog, like a natural casing all-beef Best Provision or Usingers dog. For cheap dogs I'll go for the fifty-centers at Ikea, which have got to be the cheapest in town.

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Sorry about the cliche "getting the boot" comment...no harm was intended. Unfortunately we never made it to Bootsie's when we ventured in town (we are generally only there on Saturdays), although we did plan to go there one of these weeks. When they say they will be serving Mediterranean cuisine, I hope they serve grilled fish or some Greek specialties...that sounds appetizing and I would be heppy to stop by next month!

I hope the "rebooted" restaurant (how's that? :biggrin: ) will be open for lunch on Saturdays, seeing that too many good places in town shut down for lunch on Saturdays or do the brunch thing with a different menu.

By the way, a great place for hot dogs (if you're willing to drive) is Jimmy John's on Rt. 202 just north of Rt. 1 in West Chester. The casings are very firm and snap when you bite into the.

Edited by Bluehensfan, 20 December 2006 - 07:03 AM.


#59 simply_perfect

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Posted 20 December 2006 - 09:49 AM

Well, looks like the high-end hot dogs did not prove themselves in the Center City marketplace, since simply_perfect is shifting gears to what he obviously believes will be a more economically renumerative line.

While it usually pays to overcharge the American public, the humble frankfurter rarely supports such a pricing approach.

What this city needs is a good $3-$4 dog, like a natural casing all-beef Best Provision or Usingers dog. For cheap dogs I'll go for the fifty-centers at Ikea, which have got to be the cheapest in town.

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just for the record, our 3.2oz organic all beef hot dog was $2.95. and it may also be available for lunch, as well as, same size kobe' beef hot dog. the new menu will have a number of sea food items on it including whole grilled fish. economics will
dictate whether or not we will open for lunch on the weekends. stay tuned

#60 Bluehensfan

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Posted 20 December 2006 - 10:52 AM

Well with grilled fish, we will be sure to stop by if you're open on Saturdays at lunch. The city could use a place serving really good grilled fish a la Dmitri's on Saturdays at lunch... With all of the office buildings around there it would seem to me that lunch would be at least profitable during the week, but the weeked seems more dicey.

Edited by Bluehensfan, 20 December 2006 - 10:52 AM.