Late Night In @ Mayday

We're not late owls in general, but last week we found ourselves disappointed by the fridge's options and went out into the world to seek happy bellies.  We'd been to Mayday before, but it was just as they were getting started and we wanted to give it another shot.  They've got some good stuff going on over there, and it's a unique choice at just about any hour.  There's still room for improvement, but especially at 11pm on a Tuesday you'll be happy it exists.

The Food:  At Mayday, it is all about the hot dogs.  You can either build your own, or choose from their suggested combinations.  I went with a "signature dog" and Sarah built her own.  Sarah ordered horseradish, raw onion, and sweet green relish with pickle on the side on her dog, which comes on a house-made pretzel bun.  The horseradish turns out to be horseradish mayo, and she thought it would be nice if that was clear and that they would have straight up horseradish.  I ordered the Mayday Dog, which comes with carmelized onion, grilled peppers, spicy mustard, house ketchup, and house relish.  The spicy mustard is quite sweet as well (it reminds me of Woeber's sweet & spicy), and I don't even really like green peppers, so it's my own fault for ordering them.  In general, the toppings erred on the sweet side more than the spicy, and I would have been happy with louder flavors across the board.

We both agreed that overall both the hot dog and the bun taste good.  The dog didn't have that casing snap that is familiar and, in our opinion, desired.  With a bun that is fairly dense, and just a bit sweet, if you want toppings and bun and dog in a bite, it is bound to be a big one.  It wasn't way off, but in our opinion, they could get a better balanced dog, that has a better bun/dog/topping ratio if they tweak it just a bit more.

It's notable that these dogs range from $4.50 to $6.50, so if you're one of the people who simply cannot believe the price of Senate's hot dogs, not to worry - Mayday dogs are more in the range you'd expect.  They also come with a side of either Husman's potato chips (noted on the menu as locally made) or mixed greens with homemade basil vinaigrette dressing.  The chips were, well, chips.  And the salad was ok, and a nice option to make you feel better about eating a big hot dog, but it was overdressed (probably much earlier in the night), and I agree with Sarah's assessment to just ask for it on the side.

The Ingredients:  The menu doesn't say much other than what to order, but we found all of the information about ingredient sources and origin to be great!  Avril-Bleh & Sons Meat Market supplies the all beef hot dogs, and the Chef Aaron Cross makes the pretzel buns fresh daily.  It'd be great if they'd share the sources of the other ingredients on the menu as well.

The Story, Setting, & Service:  The first time we went to Mayday they had recently started doing hot dogs, and frankly (pun intended), it could have better.  They forgot the hot dog in one of our hot dogs, and we weren't too excited about the combinations we got.  But, it's only a couple minutes from our house, and they've got some cool ingredients, so we thought we'd give it a try again.

You pick up an order form at the bar, circle all the things you want, and then the bartender tallies up your bill.  You walk the now-stamped order around the corner to the kitchen (it's sort of a Comet-esque process) and in a few minutes - hot dogs!

Mayday is in the space where Gypsy Hut used to be, and it is still pretty much the same overall.  As an avid ping pong player, I love that they have a table upstairs, and the non-initiated can choose from a number of indoor and outdoor seating options.  The space is very hipster/garage/warehouse feeling, and honestly, it looks somewhere between rough around the edges and a mess (we've never understood, for instance, why the trash pile on the side of the building can't be enclosed or in some way diminished - it's an eyesore for sure).  But, on my last couple visits it has felt on the unpolished side, and the vibe is decidedly Northside hipster.  The reviewer from Metromix may have said it best, saying "I'm probably not cool enough to come here on a regular basis."

There are a number of indications that these folks are skilled artists - from stenciled art to eye-catching flyers, which makes you feel like you're at a insider's hangout.  Posters advertising Mayday's events focus on sexy ladies in almost every instance, but I think most people would be lying if they said they didn't want to take a second look.  With bingo nights and drunk spelling bees, they've got some pretty cool ideas that would be worth checking out.

The most recent event info is loud and proud on the front of Sidewinder Coffee & Tea - the owner there is a part-owner at Mayday too.  These are clearly folks that are connected in the community.  When I asked about how the hot dog eating contest went at the May 1st Mayday party that was advertised behind the bar, they told me not enough people wanted to participate and instead gave the glut of dogs to CAIN.

It was great to be able to grab a late bite to eat, and with NorthSlice Pizza coming soon, there will be another option.  Now, if someone can just open a thai/noodle place in the neighborhood that is solid, I'll be all set!

The Last Bite:  We'll head back to Mayday, if for no other reason than to try to construct the perfect hot dog.  With a number interesting ingredients to choose from, we're bound to get it right sometime soon.  My next try: spicy mustard, banana peppers, carmelized onions, and beer cheese.  Hey, why not?

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Holly said...

My biggest complaint about their dogs is the bun. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love pretzel bread and I think the bun is wonderful on it own. However, I really don't think it's the best vehicle for these dogs, especially when the weiner itself has so many components added to it.

Gavin DeVore Leonard said...

Holly - I think you make a good point. It's not that the bun is bad, it's just that there is so much else going on...