Eating elsewhere: Soda Dog

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Soda Dogs Windy City
Soda Dog seems like a can't-lose proposition for those venturing into Michigan vacationland. Located on Indiana Highway 212, just west of the dunes in Michigan City, Indiana, it's a seasonal sausage hut from the owners of the excellent Stop 50 Wood Fired Pizza just up the road in Michiana Shores. Featuring an assortment of custom-topped hot dogs, including a few oddballs (like a cottage-cheese-and-chili-topped number) and house-made sodas with carhop service, it appears to be a cross between an old-timey drive-in and a Hot Doug's-style haute dog emporium.

Well, not quite.

The fact is, Soda Dog is a bit of a bummer, which can be attributed to the awful beef and pork skinless dogs, mushy tubes that can't stand up to the substantial toppings of the Detroiter (coney sauce, onion, shredded dill, mustard, cheese) or the Southern Living (coleslaw, mustard), or, for that matter, the fearsome-looking but otherwise tasty batter coating the spicy corn dog. A crestfallen pal remarked that Soda Dog coasts on the goodwill earned by Stop 50.

Yes, a corn dog.

It doesn't have to be that way. They do commission a slim, natural-casing all-beef dog from a local sausage maker, which is used for their version of a Chicago-style dog. It's a good thing, full of snap and flavor—a wiener of distinction. Why they don't offer this with the other toppings, I can't fathom.

You can avoid these with an Italian sausage, a bologna sandwich, or pretty decent handmade thin burgers, but what Soda Dog does best is sodas. I sampled some subtle, natural-tasting, and not aggressively sweet rotating varieties like coffee and blueberry, and the intense, clear mint flavor is something special too.

Soda Dog, 171 Highway 212, Michigan City, Indiana, 219-872-7632

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