Introducing: The Little Dog, a retro hot dog joint in Little Italy that keeps things simple
In a city obsessed with elevating old-school comforts to ridiculous heights—$20 fried chicken, brie and duck confit grilled cheese—it’s refreshing to find a retro hot dog joint that honours the trashy simplicity of the ’50s staple: the Montreal-style steamed hot dog, affectionately known in La Belle Province as the steamie. Unlike grilling, which can split the dogs, steaming preserves their structural integrity so they plump up with meaty juices. Owner Sam Santino (who also runs the Big Chill ice cream parlour next door) got hooked on the gherkin-sized Lesters-brand dogs during visits to Montreal, where they go for as little as 50 cents each. At his tiny hole in the wall, just away from the bustle of College Street’s bar scene, the Lilliputian wieners cost a toonie and come with a choice of the usual salty, zingy condiments. Other kitschy options, like chili cheese dogs and poutine made with frozen McCain’s fries, will satisfy late-night bar crowds craving a greasy fix, but the best time to visit is on a lazy afternoon when you can grab a candy-coloured picnic table on the patio and indulge in some misty-eyed nostalgia.
The Little Dog, 566 College St., 416-960-2455