Hot dog! Better than ballpark's


Frankly, food is fine at harbor eatery


January 07, 2004|By Tom Waldron | Tom Waldron,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

It may have been wintertime, but the temperature the other day topped 60 degrees - just the weather for a hot-dog outing.

A few days earlier, I had stumbled on the perfect destination, Power Dogs, on Pier 4 in the Inner Harbor. Power Dogs sits on the first floor of a building adjacent to the old Power Plant, now the home of a bookstore, restaurants and other establishments.

Outside, Power Dogs displays what threatens to become the most tourist-photographed object at the harbor, a statue of a smiling hot-dog man, wearing a folded white paper hat.

Inside, Power Dogs is covered in chrome, still gleaming four months after the small eatery opened. I was pleased to learn that Power Dogs is affiliated with Ann's Dari-Creme, a celebrated hot-dog spot in Glen Burnie.

As at Ann's, the menu is small - burgers, cheese steaks and chicken fingers, in addition to the dogs. But with nothing costing more than $7.55, the modest prices are a relief, given the overpriced restaurants that abound along the waterfront. The eatery also has a lovely view of the water and the National Aquarium in Baltimore.

The food is fine if, like me, you have occasional cravings for hot dogs, fries and the like. The foot-long hot dog ($3) featured a deep-fried wienie inside a fresh bun, with a tiny bit of tangy chili, raw onions and mustard. I am not sure how to rate hot dogs, but this one was definitely better than the average ballpark frank at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

The nothing-special cheeseburger ($1.75) included a very small piece of meat engulfed by a huge bun. But the cheese steak ($4.35) came with a thick pile of meat, which we devoured. Chicken tenders ($3.95) were bland, albeit plentiful.

Power Dogs offers soft-serve ice cream - vanilla for now, but more during the summer - plus a long list of toppings, including pineapple and walnuts. We tried a couple of chocolate shakes, which were made with the soft-serve ice cream, milk and chocolate syrup. They were mighty thick and delicious.

Parking, of course, is a problem and could cost more than your meal.

Power Dogs

Food: ** 1/2

Service: ***

Waiting area: ***

Parking: *

Where: Pier 4, Inner Harbor

Phone: 410-385-1962

Hours: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday through Friday; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday (These winter hours will expand in the spring.)

Prices: Hot dogs, burgers, cheese steaks and ice cream, $1.65 to $7.55; no credit cards

Outstanding: ****; Good: ***; Fair or uneven: **; Poor: *

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