Not many well-established restaurants in Denver also serve gourmet hot dogs through the back-walk-up window. That is certainly the case for Truffle Table’s Fancy Hot Dogs. Owners Karin and Robert Lawler met in San Francisco and moved to Colorado in 1999. Since then, the Lawlers have had their fair share of service in the restaurant industry. With various stints in multiple Denver restaurants, Robert and Karin used their tenured knowledge to launch Truffle Table in 2013. While Truffle Table is located in the Highlands neighborhood among the large directory of upscale restaurants, the idea of diversifying their menu and reaching a different market is exactly what the owners had in mind when opening Fancy Hot Dogs.
Initially, the back window was reserved for friends of the Lawlers who wanted to experiment with different food ventures. This included Ohana Island Kitchen— which was so successful it went on to open their own LoHi brick and mortar location.
Now the pass-through is now home to Nathan’s all-beef dogs with out-of-the-ordinary toppings. For those familiar with the Truffle Table, it’s quite different from the shop’s decadent, cheese-focused offerings. So you’d be surprised to hear the inspiration came from the family’s abroad trip in Western Europe where you’d expect fromage to be the highlight. But, alas, nothing could really cure this iconic American craving.
“There’s nothing fancy about a hot dog but [there’s] something so comforting about them,” Karin said.
There’s a blessing to working with such a simplistic vessel — so many flavors and styles are fair game. Currently, the menu offers eight differing combinations ranging from $5 to $7.50. Aside from the timeless Coney and Chicago dog, some are topped with peanut butter miso, Sriracha, kimchi, pork green chile, goat cheese, avocado or sauerkraut. The menu also offers a Beyond Meat dog for non-meat eaters. For an extra $3 any of the specialty items can be replaced with a plant-based substitution.
With a strong familial backbone, many hot dog flavors were created by the Lawler’s two sons, who came up with the peanut butter miso topping. This all-beef dog was aptly named Fancy Dog — the heart and soul of the business’ namesake. Each hot dog flavor is inspired by the family’s personal preferences with classic influences and spicy touches. Though this new hot dog business has only been in service for less than a month, the menu is open to spotlight flavors and unique toppings.
The power of American comfort food and its innate ability to trigger memories is just the feeling Fancy Hot Dogs is tapping into. Especially during a time of severe house fatigue, the walk-up window is a welcome experience for locals venturing out.
“Opening Fancy Hot Dogs has given us hope. Starting a new project when everything is on a downturn gives us hope,” Karin said.
Fancy Hot Dogs is located through the back window of Truffle Table at 2556 15th St., Denver. It is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.