This is one of those situations where some of you are saying, “Well, of course they did.” That’s because this is one of those little changes that slipped past me for a while. A friend mentioned it, then I noticed the (relatively) new sign outside. It still said, “Jackson Avenue Market” on the outside, so I wondered exactly what was happening here and stepped inside.
Angela Szabo who has been with the Market from the beginning explained that they are still the Jackson Avenue Market (200 W. Jackson Avenue), but they’ve changed things up pretty dramatically and added the Curious Dog part of the business as a focal point. The little L-shaped space still looks mostly the same. The mural I pictured in the article I wrote when they first opened in 2011 still graces the wall befuddling at least this passerby.
Seating has been expanded and the cooler, which used to have a more mundane selection of beer, now has large numbers of craft beers my beer-drinking friends have told me about and a bunch that I don’t recognize at all. They do the usual mix and match option. There are still a few beers on tap; a couple of Blackhorse beers, PBR. Vintage games (read, “the ones I played when I was young”) line two back walls. The games are on loan from a friend who collects them. The guitars hanging on the back wall belong (this is from memory from three years ago, so I’m pretty sure) to Matt.
Brothers Todd and Matt Weidenhamer have owned and operated the business since its inception and a few months ago decided it needed a shakeup and that marked the inception of the hot dog angle. The creativity began to flow with that and the sandwiches and the list of possibilities grew too long for the chalk boards.
The hot dogs are all-beef on Italian bread and the sandwiches are made of Amish meats and cheese sliced while you watch just for your sandwich. The hot dogs are named after places (except for the Curious Dog) from Thailand to Jersey and the sandwiches are named (mostly) after people from Tony Soprano to Rachel Ray. I’m told a Danny Devito is in development. You’ll have to figure out the connections in either case, but you’ll find some unusual ingredients and unusual combinations of tastes.
Urban Woman and I got the Curious Dog and the Hawaiian Dog. I ate the Curious Dog with bbq, potato salad and (a generous amount) of bacon. Very tasty and it all worked together, somehow. I didn’t need any sides. Urban Woman liked her Hawaiian with ham, pineapple, bbq, slaw, honey and topped with sesame seeds. I’m not a slaw kind of guy, but she said it was good. Both were very filling. I was pleased to find Mexican coke in the cooler, so that topped it off for me.
They also sell cupcakes which are tricked out in various ways. They recently made one that looked like a cheese burger, for example and had to explain to one customer that, no, it would not taste like a cheese burger, it was, in fact a cupcake. The cupcakes are actually called Maddie Cakes after Maddie (Matt’s daughter) who joined us after she got out of school. The cupcakes are made by Todd, but Maddie gives the occasional hand and remains the inspiration.
Much of what you’ll find is made in-house, from the cupcakes to the nachos. They make their own kimchi and the mayonnaise, as well. The Maddie Cakes are vegan-friendly and they use the brothers’ grandmother’s recipe and make them fresh daily.
It’s also a late-night place to pick up something to eat, with hours running from 11:00 AM – 11:00 PM Monday through Thursday and 11:00 AM – 1:00 AM Friday and Saturday.