Lori and Kevin Ames started more than two decades of Columbus restauranting by selling hot dogs from a cart Downtown. Well, you know what they say about "the more things change ..." right?
So, sure enough, after revivifying the once-grody Press Bar and Grill and after opening (and closing) both Frezno Eclectic Kitchen and Dagwoodz in the Short North, and after getting back to Downtown by launching Lola and Cinco, the Ameses are once again ... selling hot dogs Downtown. Ah yes, the full circle.
Taking over the spot of the Original Soupman - who packed up his pots after a short and unsuccessful stay here - the Ameses are apparently striking while the bad economy/back-to-inexpensive-basics/pared-down-menu-trend iron is still hot.
Thus, taking inspiration from places that concentrate only on a few ostensibly well-prepared food items - a la the Five Guys Burgers and Fries franchise - the couple has just opened their newest venture, which they're calling Burgers, Dogs and Fries.
Thus, just like that Five Guys operation, BDF offers only its three namesake munchies (done in various iterations) plus a few sides. The drill here is to order a B D and/or F and then - for an upcharge - increase its size and/or accessorize it (though many add-ons are free).
Well, after a couple of visits, I suggest this place either up its burger game or change its name to just DF. Because though you can upgrade your hot dog from a nondescript link to a Nathan's Famous frank (highly recommended), the only options for burger orderers are adding more toppings on the disappointing, industrial-grade house hamburgers. Here's a few notes.
• Cheeseburger ($3.39) A decent, puffy bun was untoasted and too large for its pedestrian patty. As for that patty, it's homely and certainly no better than a Wendy's single.
• Philly Burger ($3.39) The free extra toppings (mayo, jalapeno, a swiss cheese "single," grilled onions and peppers) help, but there's no getting over that sub-par beef disc.
• Nacho Dog ($3.60 with Nathan's upgrade) The best thing I tried here. Good chili, pickled jalapenos and spicy nacho cheese sauce make it taste great, and crushed tortilla chips give it a nifty crunch.
• Reuben Dog ($2.85 with Nathan's) Not bad, if sorta dominated by its sweet Thousand Island dressing.
• Crinkle Cut Fries ($1.50 small/$2 large) I liked 'em. These appealing throwbacks were thin and crispy, not too greasy, had a really fun-to-eat shape and tasted almost like potato chips.