New Episode: Franks ‘n’ Dawgs, Italian Village, 90 Miles

By David Manilow |

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Premieres Friday, November 2 at 8:00 pm

I was having a memorable meatball sandwich at Publican Quality Meats on Fulton Market last week, when I noticed on the menu that the meatballs were smothered inside a buttered bun provided by the quirky Franks ‘n’ Dawgs on Clybourn.

Franks ‘n’ Dawgs has been around for just a couple of years but their loyal following has become accustomed to elegant touches and creative twists to their house made sausages. They have everything from foie gras to lobster as well as the house favorite – “Turdoggin” – which is made with turkey and date sausage and crispy duck confit. Here’s how we shot that one. (You can see lots of dogs, our interview with owner Alexander Brunacci along with our review coming up on Friday’s show.)

While Franks ‘n’ Dawgs is BYOB, the venerable Italian Village has more than 35,000 wines in their massive cellar. The Village’s Gina Capitanini is the fourth generation owner of the group of Italian restaurants that make up The Italian Village Restaurants on Monroe Street in the Loop since 1927. For our second segment of Check, Please! we chatted with Gina about her life as restaurant owner, and, among other things, she said, “It’s not just a job, it’s really a lifestyle for my family. It’s something that’s been passed down from generation to generation. It’s a sense of pride, something that you just know you were born to do.”

Bringing the crew to Cuban hot spot 90 Miles was more than we bargained for, in a good way! They often feature live music with a band that brings traditional Cuban music table-side and we got our very own taste of the spicy Cuban atmosphere.

90 Miles owner Alberto Gonzalez traveled to Florida with his family from Cuba when he was 11 years old. He later moved to Chicago and decided to bring the Cuban fare he grew up on to the city, essentially fulfilling his very own “American dream.” 90 Miles is named for the 90 mile gap between the Florida coastline and the island of Cuba. With two locations, one in Logan Square and one in Roscoe Village, 90 Miles Cuban Cafe makes Cuban food in Chicago a reality. Alberto told us, “It’s a great feeling. Sometimes I have to go across the street and pinch myself, looking at what’s going on, because it’s a dream come true.” Watch the live band that plays often at 90 Miles, here with some help from 90 Miles owner Alberto Gonzalez.

We’ll be shooting at three restaurants around town this week: Wednesday in Bronzeville, Thursday on Devon, and Friday in the South Loop. So, if you’re in the neighborhood, stop by and say “hi”!

I hope you enjoy the show!