Retro Dog (Second Visit)
Akron, Ohio    Date of Visit:  07/03/15
 Click Here for Original Visit

On a second trip to Retro Dog we found a larger menu based on the same burger/dog shop staples. The new additions are mostly toppings for said staples. We went with burgers today, a straight up cheese and something called the hula ghost. Steph’s cheeseburger had a flash of pink running through the center. I don’t mind it in a place with good holding and some skill. Saw on their website that is what they aim for, unless something else is requested. On behalf of those who have been conditioned for terror should anything but brown appear in their cow sammitch, you gotta ask. You will literally scare people away.



First things first…the fries were so much better than our first visit. Don’t know if they changed something or if our first try was an off day; tasty, not chewy. The toppings were pretty good to a point on both the buffalo and toxic waste fries. I’m not sure what the peculiar gray sauce reminiscent of Italian dressing was doing on top of all the lettuce atop the basket of buffalo fries and I would have preferred much less alien pickle and more sriracha on the toxic waste basket but both had good elements, and much better fries.


Buffalo Fries Good But Didn't Get The Gray Sauce Atop

Toxic Waste Also Good But Too Much Alien Pickle Overpowered


Oh, they serve wings now. We tried the buffalo and the banzai sauces. Both baskets had good sized and well fried appendages. There was a mistake in the order and we got the buffalo wings instead of the ordered buffalo fries and they were offered gratis to make up for the wait. Both options were pretty good but the multiple and rounded layers of the banzai wings were our favorites.

Solid Buffalo Wings

And Better Banzai Option

Steph’s straight up cheese burger was fine, scarily pink in the middle for some, but fine. She also ordered the retro float with the house made root beer and vanilla custard, very happy with that. I tried the hula ghost burger with provolone, bacon, lettuce, grilled onions, grilled pineapple and ghost pepper sauce. The pepper sauce was about as piquant as that served by Wendy’s (I would like more bite but it did exist) and the sweet fruit worked well together. Strangely, my burger patty was cooked through. Retro still offers some pretty tasty and unique options. If we were closer we might frequent the place and have some information on their many other combinations. Still worth a try.

Steph Was Surprised By Pink Center

And Mine Was Done Through

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Retro Dog
 Akron, Ohio     Date of Visit  08/26/12 

Last night at the Roger Hoover and The Hurt album release we were given suggestion for a new restaurant in the Falls. What I didn’t bother to remember is that 95% of the restaurants in the Falls are closed on Sundays. So was this one…look for it this week and thanks Kristin. So, we drove around for a while and ended up at Steels Corners at a place I had first mistaken for a gas station, Retro Dog. The name is a bit of a misnomer, there are retro features to the place and there are things so far from retro to make the name a bit of a joke, like a number of vegetarian options.



The Open Kitchen

The biggest retro standout is the car hop service along the long turquoise structure in the center of the parking lot. There are also windows for ordering food and ice cream (custard) along with a couple of picnic tables. Inside was much nicer and maybe more deco than I had expected. Definitely upscale for a dog shop. There is an open kitchen pretty fully staffed tasked with dogs and whatnot. It took us a while standing at the counter inside to decide how much was too much to order and then got a little bit more.

We ordered a root beer float two dogs, a burger, a sausage sandwich, fries and onion rings. My experience with the menu was as interesting as the place itself. They make their own root beer and frozen custard and while I can’t vouch for how they taste separately they are darn good together. The lightly eggier richness of the vanilla custard and a full bodied root beer are a long standing combination for a reason…and it is really good here. It made me wish I had ordered some of the odder combos.

Their Custard & Root Beer Go Well Together

Chewy But Tasty Fries? What Is That?

Tempura Rings

Ketchup & Mystery Sauce
  You can get you float in black cherry, orange cream, red strawberry or cream soda. You can also get the custard in various machinations such as cone, sundae, shake or marble which is a blizzard knock off now that everyone has one.

First the sides. The fresh cut fries tasted really good, nice doneness, appropriate salt, available malt vinegar and ketchup. The only thing is they had a strange texture I have never experienced before. They were chewy, like moving towards rawhide chewy. Strange and little off-putting they did taste good. The tempura battered onion rings were fried to a dark brown and the batter provided enough flavor to make it more about the crunch than the onion. Enough so to make Steph not hate them, I enjoy oniony onion rings but these were still pretty tasty overall.


The Retro Dog Was Unimpressive

From Either End

The Red Hot Was Much Better

From Many Ends Of The Flavor Spectrum

The dogs. I ordered a retro dog and a red hot. The retro dog was nothing to get excited about. The dogs themselves, at least the natural casing regulars, aren’t overly special, not really any more so than the Sugardales at Jib Jab or the sausages at Dan’s in Medina. They certainly aren’t going to compete with Hot Doug’s or Gene and Jude’s or even Boss Frosty’s. They do have other specialty sausages on the menu and if we get back and they are worth mentioning I will add something. Back to the retro dog, topped with homemade coney sauce, cheese sauce and onion, I found it all a little flat and disheartening. Not bad, just wouldn’t want to cross the street for one. The red hot was an improvement of some significance. Same dog but topped with their Hot Chow-Chow relish and stadium mustard, this one had something the retro couldn’t manage, enough to keep you interested. The stadium mustard has that little kick but the difference is in the Chow-Chow which does sport some spice (not a lot) and a nice vinegary slap that does wonders for the whole deal. There are a number of other options…we ordered knowing we wouldn’t be finishing what we had and try to minimize waste, I am curious about other offerings like the white hot and the Chicago and the Carolina but those will have to wait.

Is There Such A Thing As Too Much Cheese?

The Big Sal Was Awesome!

The burger arrived looking something akin to glorious. Steph ordered a double cheese burger and at Retro Dog the double applies to the burger AND the cheese. Dear Sweet Mother Prudence, this thing was redolent with cheese. I hate to say it…I kinda hate myself for saying it…it’s sacrilege according to my belief system…this burger has too much cheese on it. I feel dirty, but relieved. I took a bite of this towering sandwich and was overwhelmed with cheese. I thought it would make me happy, this sense of cheesy abandon, it made me miss the burger and accompaniments. Still, you can scrape off some cheese and the burger is legitimate but short of spectacular.

I ordered the Big Sal. An Italian sausage patty topped with provolone cheese and something called retro rocket sauce. First my confusion. We got a little cup of sauce along with our cup of ketchup which I suspected was the retro rocket sauce. It looked more like the cheese sauce atop the retro dog…and the Big Sal had another sauce hiding under the provolone after I poured some of the other sauce on top of the cheese. The darker sauce under the cheese was chock full of sweet, heat and aromatic veggies.

That was really tasty…put it atop a sausage patty that is intensely spiced with Italian awesome, covered with provolone and set in a bun loaded with darkly baked sesame seeds and the unexpected find on the menu was the standout. Not everything at Retro Dog is retro or delicious, but some of it is and it’s more than enough to be interested in the rest of the menu.

Is This The Retro Rocket Sauce?



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