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Waka Dog Café

Ankur Chawla | Monday, February 4, 2013

With its grand opening just over a week ago, the Waka Dog Café is the newest addition to South Bend’s deep arsenal of eateries. The Waka Dog Café replaced the not-so-great Falafel Express, right next door to Between the Buns and Studebagels. Making the move from its former Mishawaka location, Waka Dog should definitely be on your list of places to eat off campus when quarter dogs just aren’t good enough.

Offering a wide range of hot dog options, Waka Dog’s more popular options include the Chicago Dog, with the traditional poppyseed bun, pickles, peppers and celery salt, and their other options with chili, cheese, cole slaw and more. However, their menu doesn’t stop there. Pulled pork, spaghetti and meatloaf make up the home-cooked meal options along with fries, onion rings and mozzarella sticks.

The best part of the menu has to be the prices. While not exactly quarter dogs, a regular hot dog for $1.79 and any two hot dogs with fries and a drink for $6.99 is tough to beat. Still, even with the cheap prices there is no sacrifice on quality, as a dog at Waka Dog is reminiscent of one you may buy from your favorite stand in Chicago or New York.

An interesting menu item at the Waka Dog is the “WAKADOG Challenge,” which deserves a spot on “Man vs. Food.” The challenge starts with a half loaf of Italian bread topped first with two half-pound foot-long dogs prepared Chicago style. Then, the dogs are topped with three-quarters of a pound of Carolina pulled pork, a generous helping of coleslaw, fistfuls of fries, chili and cheese and pretty much anything else you could ever want on a pizza tray of hot dog awesomeness.

Living off campus, I have struggled to find a replacement for quarter dogs at LaFun, and though Waka Dog is only open until 9 p.m., it definitely is a more-than-adequate substitute. Additionally, they have a full breakfast menu with pancakes, eggs and French toast all for much less than I would have to spend on a meal at the dining hall. I have no doubt dropping by for a Waka Dog on your way to and from Between the Buns will become a game-day tradition next football season.