Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hank's Haute Dogs

On Coral Street

I had been hearing a lot about Hank's Haute Dogs and tried going there yesterday afternoon, arriving only half an hour after closing. I figured that would be it, but as I was driving down Nimitz, I realized that I still had half an hour before closing and I could make it. I wasn't hungry. I just wanted to see what it was all about.

Hank's is a pretty non-descript place on Coral Street in the Kaka'ako industrial area of Honolulu. Actually, "industrial" is kind of a misnomer now. It's been under revitalization plans for the past fifteen years or so, and pretty soon it will be more urban residential and commercial than industrial.

As I walked it, it was pretty quiet. Just a guy working the register and a few cooks milling about, putting stuff away and getting ready to go home. The guy at the register was pretty friendly, welcomed me to Hank's and told me about what had already been 86'd. I told him that I really didn't want to think too much about what to order but give me whatever dog he thought best exemplified Hank's - and an order of fries. And a P-Cool Ginger Soda, whatever that meant.

His choice was his favorite: the chorizo sausage with fried onions, brown mustard and cilantro.

French Fries and Chorizo Sausage

As I waited around, we got to chatting. Hailing from Chicago, I noted that this place reminded me of Hot Doug's, of which Mike (his name) told me that his father and Doug were good friends and that they bought their sausages from some of the same suppliers as Doug. Turns out that Mike's dad is Henry Adaniya, the restauranteur who made his name opening Trio in Chicago. Evidently, Adaniya's family comes from Hawaii and it was his chance for a homecoming. He sold off his partnership in Trio and headed back to Hawaii to build a new future.

For someone who's been away from Hawaii for over twelve years, Adaniya's story resounded personally.

The chorizo came and it was time to get down to business. Meaty, spicy and tasty. Good stuff this chorizo. Balanced nicely with the onions and cilantro and not to mention the soft bun and this one's a winner. Plus, since it's so close to closing time, dogs are half off. That's a plus.

The fries were those really thin fries that are kinda popular today. They're not my favorite way of making fries. I like them thicker and meatier, but these were nicely done - though they could have used a little more salt.

Then there was the P-Cool Ginger Soda. I went with it because it sounded weird and it was, but only slightly. It had that ginger zing with a light sweetness and overall quite pleasant. Don't know if I'd order it all the time but it was different and sometimes different is preferred.

Chorizo Sausage - a close up

We chatted on about how business is doing, what's the restaurant scene in Honolulu like, how hard it is to find good kitchen help and the price of commercial retail space in the city (astronomical). They're working on plans to open more Hank's around Honolulu and hopefully to also takeover a space that has personal family meaning to them. Hopefully they'll get it.

Hank's Haute Dogs
324 Coral Street
Honolulu, HI 96813

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