It’s a taste of the Windy City in Brooklyn!
A new takeout joint in Windsor Terrace is offering hard-to-find Chicago-style hot dogs with a side of nostalgia.
Dog Day Afternoon, from restaurateurs Joe Boyle and Jay Kerr, opened this week to crowds of hungry Windsor Terracites clamoring for one of their toppings-loaded dogs.
“The reception was really amazing,” Kerr said on August 3, one day after their initial opening. “This was our dream come true.”
Kerr and Boyle launched their venture after years of working together at restaurants in Brooklyn including Buttermilk Channel and Kings County Imperial. Boyle, a Chicagoland native, has hosted Chicago-style hot dog pop-ups at Brooklyn bars for years.
“We decided, after having worked together for so long, ‘why don’t we just do this for ourselves?’” Kerr said.
The duo immediately decided on the name Dog Day Afternoon, inspired by the Al Pacino film of the same name. But only after months of searching for a suitable storefront would fate land them on the exact block of Prospect Park West where the 1975 movie was filmed.
“Right when we were about to give up, magically it plopped down for us, there was this spot right across the street from where they filmed the movie,” said Kerr. “Honestly, it felt like it was a miracle.”
To make authentic Chicago-style hot dogs — piled high with toppings including pickles, tomatoes, sweet relish, onion, sport peppers, and celery salt on a poppy seed bun — you need the right kind of beef, Vienna Beef.
“Those in the know in the hot dog lovers community, they all know Vienna Beef is where it’s at,” Kerr said.
Vienna Beef, prized for the ‘snap’ effect caused by its natural casing, is notoriously hard to get a hold of in large quantities outside of the Chicago area, but the duo managed to track down a supplier out in New Jersey who had the weenies but wouldn’t deliver to Brooklyn. And so, the frankfurter enthusiasts became their own deliverymen, packing thousands of dollars worth of hot dogs into their car, blasting the air conditioner, and jetting back to Brooklyn with their beefy bounty.
While offering a taste of Chicago through their menu, which includes classic Chicago dogs, chili dogs, vegan dogs, polish kielbasa and milkshakes, the duo hoped to create a sense of nostalgia through the decoration of their small storefront.
Their offerings are projected on an old school back-lit menu, while the wall is covered in photos of various actors — including Pacino in “Dog Day Afternoon,” of course. The restaurant also features an arcade-style video game system and a rack of vinyl records for sale.
“When I was a kid I would have loved to have a place like Dog Day Afternoon that just felt magical,” Kerr said.
With their opening day drawing a crowd from the neighborhood, Kerr says there’s one more milestone they need to reach.
“If we can get Al Pacino to come out and stand on that corner eating one of our dogs, we’ll both die happy,” he said.
Dog Day Afternoon, 266 Prospect Park West between 17th Street and Prospect Avenue in Windsor Terrace, open noon to 7 pm.