The Wurst Dogs in Town

Thursday, September 22, 2016 | 7:55 pm

Adam Gertler, “Würstmacher” (sausage-maker), for Dog Haus, is proud to take the title of wurst in town. His creative collection of dogs have stepped up Dog Haus’ game from local phenomenon to rapidly expanding, national chain.

Pasadena is home to Dog Haus’ original location on Hill Avenue and its very first biergarten on Green Street. This casual yet detail-oriented burger, sausage and dog concept is known for their creative flavor combinations and mouthwatering variety of toppings. They opened in 2010 with their 100% all-beef skinless Haus Dogs, Haus Sausages and 100% natural Black Angus beef burgers on grilled King’s Hawaiian Rolls and have added new flavorful items and beers to their repertoire.

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For Gertler, it all started with the Pastrami Dog. After appearing as a finalist in season four of the breakaway hit, “The Next Food Network Star,” and working with his brother on a barbecue restaurant in Philadelphia, he decided to try his hand as a wurst maker.

“Sausages were the hole in my BBQ game and they became the next thing I wanted to do at home…it really became a food craft,” he said.

As an East coaster, Gertler brings together the flavors of both coasts in his dogs. He describes East coast dogs as more spice heavy with a focus on pickling spices like coriander and black pepper while West coast dogs are more straightforward flavor wise. At Dog Haus he combines these ideas and throws in a carefully curated mix of spices and mix-ins like fresh basil and cheese.

“The little things make a big difference,” he said.

By focusing on quality ingredients like using clarified butter rather than margarine on their grilled King’s Hawaiian bread, they have built a recognizable taste and look. Each creation is a masterful combination of flavor, texture and presentation.

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“The Sooo Cali dog is a very good indication of what we do here,” he said. “It’s so full of flavor.”

It features wild arugula, house made spicy basil aioli, crispy onions, avocado and tomato. The signature of spicy basil aioli is tasty enough to eat by the spoonful and pairs well with the slight sweetness of the bread and creaminess of the avocado while the tomato and arugula add a fresh, bright taste.

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For something a little more tame, you can’t go wrong with the Downtown Dog, Dog Haus’ take on a classic stadium dog. This smoked bacon wrapped dog is topped with caramelized onions, pickled peppers, mayo, mustard and ketchup. It’s a gourmet version of your favorite street hot dog without the mystery ingredients. All of Dog Haus’ dogs are made of whole ingredients and free of phosphates.

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Although their signature is an all beef dog, Dog Haus offers a playful take on a turkey club called the Freebird. This turkey dog flavored with rosemary, thyme and sage. It
comes with avocado, ranch, smoked bacon and tomato to recreate the classic sandwich taste.

“I want to try different flavors – things that had never been put into a hot dog before,” said Gertler. His current favorite is the Spicy Thai Red Currywurst which was inspired by a trip and cooking class he took in Thailand. It’s a German style wurst bursting with Thai flavors, tamed by Dog Haus’ signature grilled Kings Hawaiian bread.

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Gertler also recommends the Little Leaguer which comes topped with a heaping helping of Dog Haus’ beef chili, shredded cheddar cheese and onions. They also offer vegetarian dog and sausage options and Gertler hopes to experiment with meat-free wursts in the future.

Dogs are clearly the star of the show, but it would be a shame to pas up Dog Haus’ tater tots, fries and beer on tap. Their tater tots come either plain or topped with chili, cheese and green onions.

“Our intention is to make really great comfort food,” he said.

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Dog Haus is located at 93 East Green Street, (626) 683-0808 and at 105 North Hill Avenue, (626)577-4287. Visit www.doghaus.com for more information.

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