Joe Tomasello figures the closest competitor for his Chicago-style hot dogs is over at Seattle’s Safeco Field. Those are big words for the former Giuseppe’s hotdog truck owner, who recently opened Joey T’s Taste of Chicago inside Stein’s supermarket in Rathdrum.
But it’s not just talk. According to the website for Vienna Beef, which got people barking about their dogs at the 1893 World’s Expo, only two of the 580 Vienna Beef vendors exist in Washington, both in Seattle. There are none in Idaho registered with Vienna Beef, which is strict about licensing on its line of all-beef franks and sausages, bratwurst, deli meats and condiments, which Windy City diners have been eating for generations. There is one in Missoula, Mont., that’s technically closer than Seattle, but still a heckuva haul for a dog.
Joey T’s has sit-down and drive-through service for not just dogs, but gyros ($5.75/$8.75 with fries and drink), falafel sandwiches ($5/$7.50) and juicy patty melts ($5.25/$7.75). Cool down with Luigi’s Italian ices ($2) and frozen, chocolate-covered bananas ($2.75) or try fresh-made Greek salad with grilled chicken and house-made dressing ($8.75).
It’s really about the dogs, though. A basic Chicago in a poppy seed roll ($3.85/$6.35) comes loaded with mustard, relish, chopped onion, dill pickle spear, tomato wedges and also sports peppers. The Maxwell Street Polish ($3.85/$6.35) swaps tomatoes and relish for grilled onions, while Bratwurst includes sauerkraut ($3.85/$6.35).
Tomasello makes his own sausage from a family recipe, nestling a single ($5.50/$8) or double link ($7.25/$9.75) into crusty Italian bread with green peppers. Add giardiniera — a vinegary condiment usually comprised of peppers, carrots, celery, olives and sometimes cauliflower — for a major kick.
It’s the perfect blend of sweet and heat, crispy and chewy and totally filling from a guy who grew up with food and spent 35 years cooking in one venue or another when he wasn’t working construction, maintenance or manufacturing. Big and bold, Chicago style.
Joey T’s Taste of Chicago • 16102 N. Hwy 41, Rathdrum • Open Mon-Sat 10 am–7 pm • (208) 687-5639