Last month I saw a post in the Bangkok Foodies Official group on Facebook of a new venue offering Chicago-style hot dogs called Pappy’s (Official Facebook page). The poor fellah who made the post was facing some serious criticism regarding his photo skills. Maybe it was all the heat the guy was getting or the fact that Chicago-style hot dogs were now available in Bangkok (it was mostly this reason), but I was feeling pretty eager to try it for myself.
So I took my gal out for some 100 baht beers, a lesson in 80’s retro Street Fighter arcade gaming (I still got the moves!), and some seriously tasty hot dogs. Who says romance and chivalry are dead?
I don’t know if it was the beers or the euphoria from ending every opponent character my gal chose in a K.O., but I was feeling good and really impressed with this hot dog. It’s certainly more impressive than my iPhone 6 photo capabilities. Chatting with the owner, Drew, it was obvious that he had a real passion for making this dog as authentic to Chicago-style as possible in Bangkok and yet still be affordable.
I planned to return to get better pictures (though I still think these pictures don’t do the hot dogs justice) and learn more about Drew’s story. Then new COVID restrictions were levied against Bangkok’s F&B scene and so those plans I had were moved to the back burner…
Luckily Pappy’s opened for LINEMAN delivery and takeaway which made it possible for me to discover their menu and story a bit more and I’m happy to share those discoveries with you. If you’ve been craving a 100% beef Chicago-style hot dog in Bangkok I think you’re going to be very happy.
Let me show you!
More to the menu…
Their menu looks simple but there are more options if you ask. For example, in addition to the hot dogs, fries, and floats on Pappy’s menu, they also offer fried cheese curds with homemade marinara sauce. I guess why the menu says “Hot Dogs & Stuff“.
Delicious smoked beef and pork burger options fall in the “stuff” category…
But let’s dive straight into the hot dogs, shall we?
What makes it Chicago-style?
Pappy’s signature menu item and best seller is their Chicago-Style Dog (180 baht). If you’re wondering what makes this a “Chicago-style hot dog”, let me tell you.
Firstly, the wiener itself must be 100% beef. This includes the casing. Pappy’s uses their own recipe for these hot dogs and they are 100% beef. Don’t worry, if you’re not a beef eater (or if you’re price sensitive) you can order their The Fugazi Dog (120 baht). It is the same as the Chicago-style dog but uses a pork wiener instead.
The bun is also different from your New York-style hot dog buns. It’s sturdier and it opens up wider. It has to be that way in order to handle all the toppings crammed into it. It’s also covered in poppy seeds. Though Drew admits that this is still a learning process for the bakery he’s using to get those seeds to really stick.
The toppings are mustard (God help you if you try to put ketchup on this hot dog!), raw chopped onion, tomato slices, a dill pickle spear, and peppers. Last, but not least, the hot dog receives a dusting of celery salt.
Hot dogs two-ways…
You can order fries separately for 80 baht OR you can order your hot dog “Depression Era” for an extra 30 baht and they’ll load up the top of your hot dog with fries.
For a real treat, these Cheese Curds (200 baht) with homemade marinara sauce are delicious. The surface has a nice crunch with gooey cheese that retains a springiness that squeaks against your teeth when you chew. Why not add a touch of Wisconsin to your Chicago meal?
What floats your boat?
For drinks, Pappy’s offers 3 different kinds of floats: The Cooler (sherbert & Sprite), Old School (Root Beer or Coke & vanilla ice cream), and Affogato (Coffee with coconut ice cream & cinnamon). All of the floats are 100 baht and if you want to add a little “prohibition” to your drink it’s 100 baht for a shot or 150 baht for 2 shots.
I tried the Affogato (100 baht) and was really happy that it wasn’t really sweet. I also thought it was a smart play to keep me awake after filling my belly with hot dogs and cheese curds!
On a repeat visit my gal and I had the opportunity to try their beef and pork burger menu items. If you’ve been following my scribbles for a while you know I wouldn’t pass up a chance to check out a burger. There are plenty of great burgers in Bangkok, but you’re not going to find one like these that delivers such incredible smokiness.
The Jordan Burger
Both the beef and pork burgers are thick patties. But not so thick that it hits you like a brick. Each patty starts off with 160 grams of beef or pork which is mixed with 20 grams of chopped bacon pressed into the top of the patty. These patties are then smoked with mangrove wood and grilled to perfection.
All burgers are served with a side of fries.
The Jordan Burger (280 baht) is made with the smoked beef and bacon patty, Pappy’s signature burger sauce, homemade pickled pepper relish, Sriracha mayo, lettuce & tomato, a slice of American cheese, sandwiched between a black sesame topped bun. I’ve never had a smoked burger before–this burger is on my personal “Top 3 Burgers for Bangkok” list.
There is so much flavor here with the smokiness of the burger, the acidic bite from the pepper relish, and the delayed heat from the Sriracha mayo. This is a serious contender for Bangkok’s burger scene.
The Southsider Burger
If I’m going to have a burger I have always chosen beef. I don’t have anything against pork–I’ve just always leaned towards beef. This was my very first pork burger. I never would have imagined that a pork burger could be so tasty! Because the flavor profiles on this burger are also different yet equally delicious to the beef burger it’s tough to choose which option to go for.
My gal and I chose to cut each in half and share them. Problem solved!
If you think pork burgers are bland or rubbery, prepare to have your mind blown with this experience. The Southside Burger (200 baht) is made with a smoked pork and bacon patty, Sriracha mayo, pickled pepper relish, secret sauce, lettuce & tomato, all sandwiched between a black sesame seed topped bun.
The secret sauce reminds me of the mustard and vinegar Carolina BBQ sauces I’ve had with more honey sweetness. Combined with the smoked pork patty and bacon this tastes like pure barbecue nirvana.
A chat with the owner…
During my visit, I had a chance to chat with Pappy’s owner, Drew, and learn a little more about his story. Because Drew’s father worked for an NGO, his childhood was spent internationally. In fact, Drew had lived in 13 different countries by the age of 17. His father’s extended family lived in Chicago, and it was the Windy City that they always returned to when visiting America.
As important as it was to see family, it was also important to satisfy their cravings for Chicago flavors, and no visit would be complete without a stop at Gene and Judes for some red hots. Though Drew’s time in Chi-Town is limited to visiting family and attending the University of Chicago, he still considers himself a Chicagoan.
A long three weeks…
In 2020, Drew came to Thailand to volunteer with an NGO group that was helping the Karen community in the north. What was supposed to be a 3-week stint turned out to be much, much longer due to the travel restrictions caused by the COVID pandemic. He jokingly refers to himself as a “COVID refugee”.
After months in the Big Mango, he was itching for something productive to do. He began to collaborate with his friend, Romaine, owner of the 100-Bit Barcade, to bring some “fun food” to the dive bar/arcade scene. But creating something “fun” in Bangkok doesn’t necessarily mean the process is going to be fun.
It was a crash course in discovering that if you’re bringing new flavors to the city’s food scene it’s going to be an uphill struggle. Drew wanted to keep the flavors as authentic as possible to what he’d find in Chicago. But there simply was no 100% beef sausage available (Vienna Beef red hots were not an option). Bakeries weren’t making buns with poppy seeds. Finding consistent suppliers of cucumbers and peppers that he could pickle himself was also a challenge.
But each hurdle that he successfully navigated over brought him one step closer to perfecting a hot dog in Bangkok that provides the flavors of Chicago-style hot dogs without the hefty price tag of importing ingredients from America. He is rightfully proud of the results. On April 3, 2020, Pappy’s debuted their dogs in Bangkok.
Looking at the post that got me excited to try it. The only haters were those who never tried it. I suspected it was a knee-jerk reaction to the poster’s less-than-professional photo. Those who had tried the hot dogs were passionate defenders of them. I felt it was worth a try.
From my experiences, they’re hot dogs so they’re tough to photo elegantly. But the links are very tasty both in their flavor and snap texture biting into them. The toppings are fresh and provide a balance of sweet, spicy, vinegary, and saltiness. The bun is damned near perfect, too. Once those poppy seeds stick as they should it’ll be perfection.
Bottom line, if you have a passion for hot dogs, or have been craving a Chicago-style dog, you need to try this!
I’m hungry. Where is it?
Pappy’s is located right next to the 100-Bit Barcade on Charoen Krung Road. If you’re familiar with the old FooJohn Building, this is it. If you don’t want to take a taxi it is an easy 10-minute walk from the Hua Lamphong MRT station Exit 1.
They are currently available for LINEMAN delivery and takeaway. But once the dining restrictions are lifted in Bangkok visiting them for some hot dogs while schooling those you care about in arcade fun over malty beverages should be a priority outing!
I want to hear from you!
Should you decide to experience Pappy’s I’d love to hear your feedback in the comment section below, directly to me, or via message on either the Chow Traveller Facebook page or Chow Traveller Instagram (and feel free to like/follow these pages if you want to learn about more foodie gems). However you choose to reach out, I’d love to hear from you!