I found Duff’s Doggz in the southeast corner of the Carmel Mountain Home Depot parking lot. It’s a shack not even two parking spaces wide, and like most Chicago-style hot dog joints, it’s adorned with the logo of Chicago’s premier frankfurter vendor, Vienna Beef.
12047 Carmel Mountain Rd, Carmel Mountain
Hot dog quality is consistent with any place serving Vienna Beef. The rolls likewise come from Chicago area purveyors. A basic hot dog goes for $2.50, while the signature Chicago-style runs $4.75, served in a poppy seed roll and topped with sport peppers, tomatoes, onions, relish, and mustard, then finished with a pickle spear and a dash of celery salt.
In between are to-be-expected hot dog variations featuring the likes of chili, sauerkraut, and/or Fritos. There’s also Polish sausage ($6) and Italian beef sandwich ($8,99), all totally Chicago-appropriate. The elk sausage on special intrigued me.
But the New England lobster roll truly caught me off guard.
Turns out, the restaurant supplier back east that ships Vienna Beef products has a line on lobster, so ipso facto, the little Duff’s Doggz shack serves one of the best Atlantic lobster deals in town.
Listed on a chalkboard at $14.50, it’s made Maine-style, mixed with light mayo. But it’s served with a slice of lemon and a ramekin of melted butter on the side, should you have other expectations. The small roll is seared with butter on a flat top, and amply filled with claw and knuckle meat. It’s not enough to make an entire meal, but alongside a Chicago dog, I left satisfied.
I wouldn’t have thought I’d ever be making a lunch out of hot dog and lobster, but here I sat doing just that. At a small table in the parking lot of a Home Depot. Not bad for a weekday.