Mile High Hopes for Vienna Beef

When I first noticed the sign for Mile High Vienna Beef, painted on the red-brick side of a storefront at Third and Santa Fe, I almost inadvertently steered my car into the building.

My love of Vienna Beef is storied and strong, and the notion of a purveyor of such fine hot dogs close to my house was irresistible. But then nothing happened. The sign remained, but no progress occurred whatsoever, and my sighs became more and more exasperated every time I drove by. Eventually I gave up my dream of walking through the neighborhood for a couple of dogs on a bright Saturday afternoon, figuring that the owners had either run out of money or given up hope.

And then all of a sudden, it opened its doors a week ago, and has been up and running ever since.

So I popped in yesterday for lunch. The decor was sparse, with stacks of Chicago-themed framed posters yet to be hung, but business was not, as Vienna Beef connoisseurs trickled in one after another. (Oddly, many of them were either off-duty cops or security guards, with guns on their belt loops.)

Mile High Vienna Beef does a solid dog – though the relish is a little on the sweet side. By far its more intriguing deal, though, is the six-pack. For $15, you can purchase six hot dogs prepared to exact, individual specifications, which are then stuffed into a cardboard, six-pack container along with a side of fries: It's a portable Vienna Beef feast, ideal for a picnic, the menu suggests.

Or for stuffing yourself sick in the pale, lonely light of your cellar. The choice is yours! -- Adam Cayton-Holland

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