Franktuary takes hot dogs religiously
And the meat shall inherit the earth. Franks be to God.
There's a good reason for all of the spiritual puns in this Downtown hot dog shop. Franktuary is in the back of the historic Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, along Oliver Avenue. The eatery also is associated with Three Nails, an Episcopal cell church ministry.
So, say your grace, then eat, drink and be merry at Franktuary for a snack or meal when Downtown. You'll be surrounded by cheery, nostalgic-style decor, and hot dog-themed decorations that show the place's sense of humor: One painting shows the Mona Lisa holding a hot dog.
"We don't want to be that greasy hot dog dive that some people associate with dogs," says Megan Lindsey. She co-owns Franktuary, which opened in October 2004, with Tim Tobitsch. "We're both ... very relaxed, very funny and quirky people, and that really comes out in how we run the place."
You can get a variety of hot dogs, ranging from The Standard ($2.50), your simple, everyday dog, to The Texan ($3), topped with cheddar cheese, chili and jalapenos. Other funky and popular dogs include The Pittsburgh ($3.50), which is covered with cole slaw and a mashed pierogie, and The Hypocrite ($2.50), a veggie dog slathered in chili. Franktuary also offers bratwurst, kielbasi and knockwurst ($4 each), each of which is cut in half and served on two buns with sauerkraut and brown mustard.
If you're not in the mood for hot dogs, though, there are plenty of other options at Franktuary. You can get four types of grilled chicken wraps ($4.50 each), salads ($2.50-$6.50), pickle spears (75 cents for two) and pierogies ($2 for two). Franktuary also offers dairy- and fat-free fruit shakes, made with frozen fruits and 100 percent juice, and sorbet ($2.50 small, $3.50 medium, $4.50 large). Ice cream and sorbet ($2 for one scoop, $3.50 for two) are available in more than a half-dozen flavors.
Lindsey and Tobitsch came up with the idea for Franktuary while they were students at Grove City College, facing graduation and not knowing what they would do afterward. Tobitsch had a dream of becoming "the Dave Thomas of hot dogs," Lindsey says, and she had done missionary training with Three Nails. The Trinity cathedral donated its storefront space to Three Nails, which allowed the entrepreneurs to open Franktuary there. Franktuary donates a portion of its profits to Three Nails, which has small groups that meet throughout the Pittsburgh area.
"We weren't sure how (Franktuary) would work out, but it's been a really great situation," Lindsey says.
"A lot of people just really rave about our food," she says. "People enjoy eating casual food in an atmosphere that's cheerful as opposed to a fast-food joint. We like people, and we're there to make sure everyone has a great experience at Franktuary."
Location: 325 Oliver Ave., Downtown
Hours: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday. The restaurant might expand its hours in the fall, and also does off-site catering.
Note: Franktuary delivers by bicycle and accepts credit cards.
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