Wiener Works serves small-town tastes with choices in hot dogs and brews

Wiener Works offers a variety of specialty hot dogs, ranging from the basic hot dog to a chili cheese dog, above, and everything in between. (Photo by Stephanie Lee)

Imagine a hole in the wall with a décor of cluttered posters, local celebrity photos and vintage beer adverts. Imagine food made from scratch rather than cheaply premade, a fridge half full of microbrews and Pabst Blue Ribbon on tap. Wiener Works might almost be the epitome of a hipster restaurant, if not for the fact that it’s more than 20 years old and has always been like that.

Wiener Works is a small, counter order restaurant located near the corner of Madison and Auburn. It has a simple but expansive menu, focused primarily on hot dogs in almost anyway you could want them, but also with a handful of other items. They provide a choice of beer steamed foot longs, 14 inch “wonder dogs,” bagel dogs, mild German sausage, hot polish sausage, handmade beef patty hamburgers in single, double or “mad cow” and grilled cheese, BLT or pastrami sandwiches. The vegetarian options are few, however, with just salad, coleslaw or grilled cheese, and vegans will have to content themselves with coleslaw, or ask for something custom.

For drinks, Wiener Works offers Pepsi products (refills are 50 cents), a handful of fruit juices or a vast variety of beers; everything from standbys such as Corona or Budweiser, to little known microbrews such as Kilt Lifter and Arrogant Bastard Ale.

This reporter ordered a mustard dog with yellow mustard, tiny fries and a soda for $8.62. The dog was steamed in PBR and served in a large white bread bun. Not quite plump, but juicy, with good flavor. The fries were plentiful, comparable to a fast food restaurant’s medium or large, but exponentially better and made fresh from potatoes cut on premises, lightly seasoned, and fried to a crispy golden brown to order.

The only complaint would be the size of the hot dog. While it’s a foot long, it’s otherwise a pretty standard size and could stand to be larger, or doubled in the absolutely huge bun. They do serve chilidogs both in the white bread buns and in bagel buns, which would fill up the bun, but that doesn’t help the simple mustard dog.

Wiener Works serves Pabst Blue Ribbon and Budweiser on tap for $2 all day, and Sierra Nevada for $3. The manager is currently trying to arrange for Beer Pong tournaments, and the TV plays sports all day with sound.

Wiener Works
5207 Madison Ave, #C
Sacramento, CA 95841
Price Range: $$-$$$ (Cash Only)
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Meal for 1 $8-$12

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