Dog Eat Dog: Two food spots for dog lovers

In honor of this year's Pets Issue, we wanted to highlight a few of Baltimore's dog-themed and dog-friendly eating spots. Bone appetit! (Sorry)

Kooper's Chowhound Burger Wagon, (410) 563-5423, brgrwagon.com

Thursday is Koopers Day at City Paper, The Sun, the Transit Administration, and elsewhere along N. Calvert Street. Been that way for ages. The tan and brown Chowhound truck is adorned with a picture of Cooper, the friendly looking dog who, before his death, served as the brand's mascot. The truck posts up next to the parking garage, its chimney wafting a magic burger smoke. The $11 burger is a luxury, both in cash and calorie, but they do it so right. You ask for medium rare, and you get a medium-rare, 1/3-lb patty. There's "Elvis Got The Blues" with bleu cheese and bacon; and Gonzo sliders, two smaller burgers infused with Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter, celery, and mushrooms and topped with cheddar cheese, caramelized onion, tomato, and a bit of jalapeno heat. Lately, if we don't get the MacGuinness (black angus beef, bacon, and cheddar) or a full custom job (you can choose from roasted red peppers, truffle arugula, feta cheese, Baja slaw, chipotle mayo, and 25 other toppers) we go for one of the newer chef specials, which carry a little heat and a little sweet.

Fredo of Chowhound tells us that he moved here from New Orleans a year and a half ago and although he's not familiar with every neighborhood, Baltimore, a port city rich with culture and plagued by crime, reminds him of home. As he makes the southern drawl burger (topped with smoked cheddar pimento cheese, ale braised collards, pickled fried green tomato, and a remoulade sauce), he describes with childlike enthusiasm that it's a homage to his southern roots. Chowhound's fries are good, and you can get a can of soda for a buck just like at most food trucks, but the burgers are the real star, thanks to the crew inside and Fredo, who serves and collects, remembering more names than most politicians. (Edward Ericson Jr. and Reginald Thomas II)

Pub Dog Pizza and Draft House, 20 E. Cross St., (410) 727-6077, pubdog.com

My husband and I stumbled into Pub Dog Pizza and Draft House several years ago, looking for food, beer, and most importantly, to get off the crowded Federal Hill sidewalk (it can get busy in that part of town on weekend nights—not sure if you've heard). We wound our way past the crowded bar, snuggled into a table, and ordered. I'm not really a beer drinker, but my husband is and he ordered from one of their many dog-themed, house-brewed beers. There are tons to choose from: Order a peach dog, a hoppy dog, or even a muddy mutt, to name a few. Their pizzas are the kind I like—crisp, not too doughy, with slightly burned edges, melty mozzarella, and a tangy sauce. And they have dog-inspired names, too: The Baja chihuahua Pizza comes with lime marinated chicken and chipotle sauce; the Cajun dog pizza has spicy Cajun chicken; and the atomic dog pizza comes with hot sauce, hot cherry peppers, and smoked gouda. (Lisa Snowden-McCray)

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