The Scoop Houston: Happy Fatz
I was about to leave the office on Tuesday evening when it suddenly hit me: I needed a hot dog for dinner. What you don’t realize is just how big of a deal this was. Only a few weeks ago, I was in Detroit visiting family where I was introduced to a 3 AM Coney Island hot dog that led to a rather unfortunate traveling situation the next day. Now that I could finally mustard muster up the courage to look a hot dog square in the eye, I didn’t want any ball park frank or regular ol’ chili dog. I wanted extravagant. I wanted a gourmet hot dog.
Thankfully, this city has a surprising number of offerings in the gourmet hot dog world. On a good weather day, I would frequent my favorite joint over in EaDo, Moon Tower Inn. However, with an afternoon shower still rolling through town, I decided to try somewhere new—somewhere that had indoor seating: Happy Fatz.
I had heard great things about this place, so the boyfriend and I rolled over to the quaint bungalow/restaurant in the Heights, straight into a front row spot. Parking is hard to come by on this particular street, so I was pleased with our luck. We strolled by a couple sharing a dog with their dog on the small outdoor patio (that was somehow dry despite the earlier downpour), and walked inside to gander at the chalkboards full of “Specialty Dogz”. You have your choice between about ten pre-crafted concoctions or you could go rogue with the B.Y.O.D (Build Your Own Dog) if you think you can do it better than the experts. With ingredients such as grilled peppers, hash browns, bacon, avocado, and even olive tapenade, you probably couldn’t cause too much damage. There was no line, but since we hadn’t eaten at Happy Fatz before, we absolutely needed a hot minute to make our decision. The guy behind the counter, clearly noticing that we were newbies, offered a menu with pictures if we needed extra help, but we had finally made up our minds. I chose The Clucker, Ryan went all Burger King and had it his way, and we ordered The Slaw Dog Millionaire to share.
For such a small restaurant, the place didn’t feel too crowded and the happy chatter coming from the dining room was inviting. We chose a table in the corner and drooled over our neighbor’s food before receiving three of the biggest hot dogs I’ve ever seen. Each had a quarter pound Hebrew National Kosher beef hot dog, enveloped by a buttery, toasted challah bun. We would have tried their homemade pretzel bun, but unfortunately they had already 86’d it that evening.
The Clucker came loaded with hash browns straight from the flat top grill, crumbles of crunchy bacon, a schmear of a sour cream-based hot “clucker” sauce—which is a secret apparently…I asked—and a perfectly fried egg on top. Never in my life did I think I would have a breakfast hot dog this delicious. Anyone who enjoys breakfast for dinner should try this, stat.
The Slaw Dog Millionaire nailed it with the name and the topping combo. It is simple in theory (coleslaw, red cabbage, celery salt and bacon), but the flavor in these items were insane. The coleslaw had the perfect blend of mayo and vinegar, the cabbage was not soggy, and the cool dill paired perfectly with the bite of the cilantro. The bacon added an intensified smokiness to the frank, and the red cabbage brought the crunch and some color.
We were happy and fat before we knew it. Upon leaving the restaurant, we noticed a dessert case and coffee menu that could not be passed up. Turns out, at Happy Fatz you can come for a gourmet hot dog, homemade baked goods and an array of coffee treats. Between mini cheesecakes, decadent 3-layer chocolate cake slices and intriguing cake balls, I discovered I suddenly had room for some sweets in my life. I left with a tasty S’mores iced latte and a divine, moist, chocolate cake ball that left me wishing I had gone for the 3-layer slice.
From the welcoming staff and down-to-earth, neighborhood feel to gourmet dogz in a category of their own, I am ready to come back next week for more. I can safely say that Happy Fatz has raised the bar for all other hot dogs in town and urge you to head on over as soon as possible.