Photo by Jacob Rich

4 Stars

Situated inconspicuously by neighboring Back to the Grind on University Avenue and near the Mission Inn, D-Dogs, which opened in July, finally offers a great sports bar and grill to UCR students who are willing to make the trip downtown. As the name may suggest, hot dogs were aplenty.

As my group and I walked in, we were greeted by a large bar down the center of the restaurant, surrounded on both sides by faux-brick, one of which sported a series of sepia photos. Large TVs showing the Eagles-Chiefs football game surrounded the top of the bar, while even more adorned the back of the restaurant. The lively atmosphere was certainly heightened by the game and the ensuing cheers coming from around the restaurant as the game went on.

Our server, Kalauna, greeted us pleasantly and gave us the unique D-Dogs menu. Included with the menu was a colored pencil, with which you choose your hamburger or hot dog type. Customization is the key at this establishment. First, you choose between pretzel buns, white buns or lettuce wraps. Then you choose the type of meat for hamburger or hot dog, which range from beef natural casing to jalapeno hot links for the hot dogs and from beef to veggie and more with the burgers. Finally, there are the toppings, with possibilities including grilled onions, fried calamari fries, chipotle cream sauce and more. The fact that every item on the menu started with the letter D — as in D’Macdog, which I had — added to the lighthearted and fun spirit of the place.

The aforementioned D’Macdog came with fried smoked gouda mac and cheese, bacon bits and chipotle cream sauce. I also added mayo for the added chance of a heart attack — I mean, extra flavoring. When I received the dog, complete with pretzel bun, the smell of the sauces nearly enveloped me in deliciousness. I wasn’t quite sure, however, how I was going to fit the dog in my mouth. As I lifted it up to take a bite, it was difficult to wrap my mouth around everything, especially the fried mac and cheese, which kept falling off the dog. I eventually ate the bites on the side — they were still as creamy and delicious.

The dog itself, made of natural beef casing and coming in at a quarter pound, was juicy and satisfying, and the mayo and cream sauce combined with the pretzel bun gave a smooth texture and truly great taste to the dog. I also had fries on the side, which were perfectly salted and tasted extremely fresh.

I would be remiss, however, if I did not mention a word about beer at a sports bar. According to our waitress, they have 40 beers on tap, 37 of those being craft. My only small disappointment was dessert — the large brownie my group and I shared tasted dry and microwaved.

This, however, should not dissuade you from this excellent restaurant. Friendly and fast service, great food and a fantastic, fun atmosphere make this a perfect place for students to go and have a good time watching the game or hanging out with friends. D-dogs doesn’t disappoint — and is D-licious.