Restaurant Review: Buns & Brews
The urban legends and occasional myths about hot dog manufacturing are somewhat less than appetizing. Of course, that’s the case for most meat products. The more you know the backstory, the harder it is to chew, in both a literal and figurative sense.
It’s best to put such things out of mind, and wholly worthwhile when it comes to enjoying the offerings of the local hot dog scene.
Buns & Brews is located on Parsons (but far, far away from the endless construction), the operation moved there this spring with a wide array of customized hotdogs. The classical interior is dressed in unironic, positively inspired mustard and burgundy tones. The walls are bedecked with photos of possible hotdog combos, as well as a display board that holds photos of customers taking big bites out of loaded dogs. Not your typical Instagram look.
The franks aren’t your ordinary grocery dogs. They are uniformly big and plump and worthy of the special toppings they might garner in the kitchen.
An early favorite from the menu is the Jamaican Me Crazy Chicken. The dog is topped with a dose of jerk chicken that is so on point, it’s worth wishing for a sandwich filled with it alone. Shreds of coleslaw also share the bun space. It’s not the sweet sort, rather, it’s defined by an unmistakable mayo accent.
The Hot Diggity is perhaps a more conventional hot dog combo. It’s more like a picnic dinner you eat with your hands, topped with sweet baked beans and more of the house slaw. It’s built on a more substantial pretzel bun for some bonus brine.
It feels like a moral imperative to also try a Rocky Balboa dog. It is, essentially, an opportunity to consume both pizza and a hot dog in one fell swoop. The frankfurter itself is carefully swaddled in cheese along with a thin layer of pepperoni. Then it’s topped with a mix of banana peppers, olives, shredded lettuce and tomato in an old-school vinaigrette.
Other combos tried included the Manhattan and Southern Comfort. The former is topped with dewey soft strands of sauerkraut, a brew sauce (it resembles a sweet thousand island dressing) and highly processed corned beef. For whatever reason, a processed hot dog seems perfectly perfect; corned beef that lacks beef texture is more unsettling.
The Southern Comfort was more likable, its collard greens pair better with a frankfurter than might be imagined. You can do your own thing and create a custom dog with toppings too.
The menu is dominantly dogs ($6), with a few token bar appetizers and sides. Most of the side options are variants of the toppings on the hot dogs; the collard greens are worth a revisit, as they offer a soft, seasoned goodness that is hard to achieve at home. Plus, from a health-nut perspective, green leafy vegetables are supposed to have lots of vitamins and antioxidants. Perhaps they can balance out the nitrites in a dog binge.
As for the brew bit, you’ll find some local options from North High, as well as the ubiquitous Sam Adams and Bud Light. And cocktails, if you want to be fancy.
You can find Buns & Brews at 970 Parsons Ave.
For more information, visit bunsnbrewscolumbus.com.