Sioux City has a few places that specialize in Coney Island-style hot dogs, which are small, three-bite-size franks generally served under a blanket of fine-grind chili meat. Thanks to a tip by local car dealer Jack J. Holmes, we believe we found the city’s best hot dogs at Milwaukee Wiener House.
They are a lovely sight, marshalled on the grill in impeccable formation: row upon row, side by side, each identical in shape, not one out of place. All condiments are available, but when we told the gent behind the counter to give us “the usual,” he dressed ours with mustard, chili, and raw onions.
The wieners come nestled in soft, warm buns so fresh they show the imprint of the gentlest grasp. These tube steaks are mere fingerlings, pale pink but with bright, porky flavor that is well complemented by the zest of the house-made fine-grind chili. Three or four such steamy babies make a nice meal.
The Milwaukee Wiener House opens at six in the morning, and has done so for more than eighty years. Old advertising posted on the wall boasts that it has served 4,000,000 hot dogs, but Gus Demetroulis told us that statistic was true when he and his partner Thomas Eliades took over the restaurant in 1960. Today, Tom’s sons Mike and John run the place and estimate that The current tally is likely close to 10,000,000 wieners sold.