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First National Franks

The

The "Chicago Dog" is covered with onions, relish, tomato, mustard, pepper and a pickle spear and comes with a side of homemade French fries. (April 10, 2010) Photo Credit: John Dunn

Big, fat, juicy wieners are dressed to impress at this snappy new hot dog and burger boutique in Medford. You'll encounter one wearing only a squiggle of yellow; it's about 5 feet long, made out of resin and looms high over the roof of this colorful little newcomer.

Co-owner Frank Marinaro (could he have a more fitting first name?) and short-order chef Jenn Morbillo dash in and out of the kitchen, keeping the orders in motion.


TOP DOGS

Plump quarter-pound Boar's Head dogs are first boiled, then grilled, served on partly scooped out hoagie rolls.

I sample a Chicago dog (onions, relish, tomato, mustard, pepper and pickle, $3.99) as decorative as it is satisfying. Then, there's a simple and so-good "New Yorker" topped with nothing but sauerkraut and mustard ($3.29).

One day, fries are bronze and delectable; the next time, they're so well done they evoke the brown bits on the bottom of a potato chip bag. Even so, they're hard to quit nibbling and, in fact, were cited in Newsday's recent article on Long Island's best fries. A "dirty filthy" burger ($4.99) comes topped with coleslaw, ketchup, pickle and chili. It's a fine burger, juicy and rare as I want it to be. Next time, though, I'd skip the chili: meat overload.

The place serves omelets for breakfast. My favorite is the virtuous egg white "gym rat" with turkey, Swiss, spinach and peppers.

In contrast is dessert. Fried Twinkies? Not bad. But deep-fried Snickers are irresistible.


GONE TO THE DOGS

A "Detroit"-style topping of lettuce, sour cream, pepper, pickle, onions and ketchup can't save a sandwich starring a dry, overcooked boneless chicken breast.

A slick of grease undermines the "old school" omelet filled with ham, tomato and American cheese. It flunks its final.


BOTTOM LINE

When the costliest item is $6.99 (double burger or chicken breast), you can afford to eat your way through the menu and figure out what you like best.

The franks do it for me.

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