Prairie Dogs sausage maker eyes Uptown space

Late-night hot dog stand would serve beer and wine

Credit: Submitted image

Prairie Dogs is headed into the final hours of its Kickstarter campaign. Regardless of the outcome, however, restaurateurs Tobie Nidetz and Craig Johnson said they would continue negotiating for a Lake Street space close to Lake Calhoun.

The late-night diner would prepare sausages and hot dogs on-site, with options like Pliny the Elder (a dog fried in duck fat with foie gras mousse and currant apple relish) and the Seoul dog with house-made kimchi and shoyu mustard.

“It’s out in left field, and that’s kind of where we want it to be,” Nidetz said in his Kickstarter video. “We wanted our hot dog and sausage shop to be nothing like anybody’s ever seen before.”

The potential restaurant space on Lake would have room for a bar with about 15 seats serving craft beer and wine. Dogs would be delivered on bicycle in the Uptown area, with the potential for farther-flung deliveries through a service like Bite Squad.

Johnson comes to Prairie Dogs after serving as chef at Spill the Wine. Nidetz has worked as a consultant for more than 50 restaurants in Chicago and the Twin Cities, creating menus, designing kitchens and training staff. In the early 90s, he spent three years operating his own restaurant, Tobie’s Tavern, at the Downtown site slated for Block E.

“It was the right restaurant at the wrong time,” he said.

The restaurateurs are currently appearing at pop-up locations like the tiny Zumbro Café in Linden Hills.

“We had 100 people showing up for that one,” Nidetz said.

The next pop-up is April 6 at Ike’s Food and Cocktails Downtown.