UPDATE: Bourbon Dogs is closed as of December 2016
Bourbon Dogs was initially intended to be only a pop up when the founder Max Paarlberg kicked of the project in the summer of 2015. He got a short term lease for the bar Locke Müller by Görlitzer Park and started selling his dogs at some of the city’s street food markets. The whole venture quickly became very successful and it turned out that premium Hot Dogs were exactly the thing everybody had been waiting for. One thing led to another and Max eventually signed a permanent lease for his Hot Dog bar.
Max has done a supreme job of elevating the sloppy sausage dish to new heights
The idea behind the Bourbon Dogs project was born during a trip to the U.S. when Max encountered the rich hot dog culture in cities like New York and Chicago. He wondered why the hell this didn’t exist in Berlin and took upon him the grand mission to become the evangelist of U.S. hot dog culture in Berlin. Within the research process he realized that the perfect beverages to be paired with his hot dogs are bourbon and craft beer. And so Bourbon Dogs was born. He developed his sausage recipe with his butcher Simon the Sausage man that never sleeps and his buns together with the Bekarei.
The Bourbon Dogs venue definitely has more of a bar vibe than a restaurant one right now, but that really just adds to the experience. This is definitely an eatery where you should embrace the concept and have yourself at least one of his cocktail creations, or why not a shot of straight Bourbon? Max has over 20 varieties hanging on chains behind the bar and his selection might just redefine your perspective on the spirit. But the stars of the Bourbon Dogs show are undoubtedly the Hot Dogs and Max has done a supreme job of elevating the sloppy sausage dish to new heights. Take the “Chicago Joe”, his version of the classic Chicago version of the hot dog with pickled vegetables and mustard. Forget sugary and nasty pickles, at Bourbon Dogs the pickles are fresh, crispy and just very damn tasty and work very well with the mustard and the celery salt. The pickles are actually so good that you should order a side plate with just pickles.
This creation qualifies as pure soul food
Another, tasty classic includes the “Bourbon Dog” with coleslaw, rye barbecue sauce and crispy onions. True to his creative nature chef Max has also developed a couple varieties that are a bit more unusual, like the “Jiro Dreams of Hot Dogs” dog with Fräulein Kimchi’s shredded kimchi and sriracha mayo. One of my absolute favourites is the Notorious D.O.G., a special edition hot dog that was created for the hot dog takeover of Burgers & Hip Hop. The dog is covered with layered sweet onions cooked in Bourbon, covered with American cheese sauce (yes I’m talking about that bright yellow one) and last, bit really not least, sprinkled with crispy bacon bits. This creation qualifies as pure soul food and managed to put a massive smile on my face as I gobbled down the cheesy goodness. We can only hope that this special edition dog makes it to the fixed menu.
Bourbon Dogs is one of my favourite Berlin restaurant openings of the last months, a great example of how much potential lies in a dish as simple as a hot dog. The bourbon and craft beer beverage concept guarantees an abundance of fun and I have the gut feeling that this eatery will become a legendary hangout of the food scene. Right now chef Max is serving a special lobster roll on Sundays together with Champagne cocktails. Fucking lobster rolls. As I said, this is the material for legends.