185 N. Franklin St. 312-251-7009
Rating: !! (out of 4) Give it some time
The scene: U.B. Dogs, a tiny counter-service spot near the corner of Franklin and Lake, provides yet another option for a quick hot dog in the Loop. While most biz is carryout, there are a dozen or so stools to hang out and eat.
The food: Whereas recently opened Westminster Hot Dog skews gourmet with its sausage, this is straight-up classic. Choices include a classic Chicago-style hot dog ($2.79) or chili-cheese dog ($3.29), and combo deals include two dogs, fries and a drink for $6.33. Fries ($1.79) are fresh-cut and nicely brown with bits of potato skin, but they're lifelessly soggy with not a crisp bit in the bunch. Adding sloppy Merkts cheddar to make 'em cheddar fries ($2.99) doesn't help. One perk setting it apart from your basic hot dog joint is your choice of complimentary dipping sauces: garlic-wasabi, sun-dried tomato and chipotle.
The drinks: Fountain sodas and bottled water
Bottom line: U.B.'s owner insists they are in "soft opening" mode until a May 1 grand opening, but they're charging for food just the same. I'll be back to see if they can make good on those fries.