I was chagrined to find out that I was just about the only one in the newsroom unfamiliar with the “Chicago dog.” In fact, in my very casual survey, only Senior Editor for Digital and Sports Brian Clark was unaware of this hot dog phenomenon.
Sarkis Benjamin knows all about the Chicago dog. His new restaurant, Sark’s City Grill in Modesto, specializes in it. And for good reason – Benjamin developed a taste for the regional specialty when he lived in Chicago from 1974 to 1981. On the off chance you are as in the dark as Mr. Clark and I were, the Chicago-style hot dog comes in a poppy seed bun sporting mustard, celery salt, pickles, tomatoes, onions, “sport” peppers and a special “neon green” relish.
Sark’s restaurant can claim authenticity pretty readily, as Benjamin has the peppers, salsa and relish shipped in from the Windy City.
“This has been a passion of mine,” said Benjamin, who has owned body shops in the area for more than 10 years. His current body shop is just around the corner from the Carpenter Road restaurant, which opened in December.
Since then, Benjamin said, business has been steadily climbing. “The food we have been serving has been a hit so far with our customers,” he said in an email. In addition to the hot dog, the restaurant serves several Mediterranean dishes, including gyros, chicken tika and homemade falafel.
When I dropped by Sark’s City Grill, I watched a Chicago-style hot dog being created, and I can see why the beef frank in a poppy seed bun has developed such a large fan base.
Sark’s City Grill is at 1219 N. Carpenter Road, No. 1, in Modesto. It’s open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Call (209) 523-7275.
Elsewhere around the Business Beat
I’ve had a few people inquire as to what’s going on with Noah’s Hof Brau. The downtown restaurant has been closed since a December fire behind a neighboring business that did significant smoke damage to Noah’s. At the time, owner Amy Li said she hoped to have the restaurant reopened within 10 days or so. Well, it’s been two months and it’s still closed.
I haven’t been able to reach Li since then, and there’s no answer at the Noah’s number. But a sign that recently appeared in the front door gives hope to fans of the German and Chinese food served at the restaurant: “We are expecting a possible re-opening of Noah’s within a timeframe of mid-March. We thank you for your continued patience and understanding!”
And finally, some good news on the hiring front.
What Christmas is to toy stores and electronics retailers, springtime is to those in the home improvement business: the busiest season of the year. The Home Depot Inc. announced that it will hire 80,000 people nationwide in anticipation of increased business. Of those jobs, we are told 180 are in the Modesto area. In a news release, the company particularly encouraged college students, retirees, veterans and reservists to apply. All applications must be submitted online. To apply, go to www.careers.homedepot.com.