Celebrity Chef Richard Blais and the folks who brought you Flip Burgers are bringing gourmet hot dogs to Poncey-Highland.
HD1 — located at 664 North Highland Ave. in the space formerly occupied by San Franciso Coffee — combines a hipster vibe of crafted cocktails with warm, homey touches such as upscale picnic tables.
On opening night Thursday, local characters rubbed elbows with a few corporate types as they waited in line to order from an eclectic menu ranging from a classic dog (sauerkraut and mustard) to the exotic Merquez (lamb with red currents, mint, cucumber and yogurt).
“We’re trying to put a new spin on classic hot dog combinations” Blais said as he eyed a steaming platter of waffle fries. “I’m kinda known as the high-tech, chemically-induced food guy. It's good to get back to local, nose-to-tail, respecting nature, that sort of thing.”
Blais grinned when it’s pointed out that his Red Haute dog includes a rather high tech pepper jack cheese foam.
“Well, there’s nothing like a little cheese foam to set off the dog,” he said.
Local Iron sculptor and self-professed hot dog lover Neil Carver was on hand Thursday night to try out the new eats.
“I just love hot dogs,” Carver said. “I even got one tattooed on my arm.”
Carver joined friends Lisa Cooper and Charli Traylor who were munching on Prawn dogs (fried shrimp and grits) and Pigs in sheets (pulled pork wrapped in puff pastry).
“We’re big fans of Richard Blais,” Cooper said. “We were excited when we heard the rumor that he was going to do something 'hot-doggie' in the neighborhood.”
Other notable "hot doggie" menu items include the beef pastrami dog with ox tongue and tripe hash, the Kenturkey with bacon and a tomato-pimento marmalade and a plate of Irish bangers and mash.
Soft serve ice cream is the featured dessert. Chef Blais' high-tech, chemical influence can also be found here in the vanilla with charcoal dust and sea salt.
HD1 is open daily from 1:30 p.m. until midnight. The restaurant is currently only serving dinner but will be open regular hours beginning Monday, Sept. 26.