There was a buzz among my friends about Soda Factory and it has became their regular venue for Friday night drinks. Soda Factory is located on 16 Wentworth Street in Surry Hills and the entrance is a bit reclusive and not so obvious.
"Tuesday is the Dollar Dog night. $1 Hot Dogs!"
Initially I was not too keen going to a bar on a Tuesday night. The weather was cold and miserable, my comfy home has the winning upper hand.
"Really you should check it out. The hot dogs are good!"
My interest was still low. Based on economic theories and profit & loss principles, I must admit I did not have a high expectation for a $1 hot dog. I mean, that does not sound like a lucrative business strategy. At best, we would probably just get soft boiled frankfurt sausage on cheap bread rolls with tomato or BBQ sauces on top.
"So its not the cheap Wendy-style hot dog?"
What have I got to lose? If Soda Factory does indeed serve gourmet hot dogs at $1, I would want to know their business sustainability. Obviously they have done their marketing strategy well.
My friend and I arrived at Soda Factory promptly at 5pm for the Dollar Dogs event. Already the place was full. There was no empty table in sight. My friend who visited this place frequently has the foresight to reserve a table.
This small bar looked quite cozy with all the retro, mis-matched chairs/lounges and dimmed lighting. There were different themes going on at every seating booth. Tonight, we were assigned to the Audrey Hepburn retro-glamour lounge seating.
The island bar is located at the centre of the place. We need to place our drink and food order at the counter. We can collect our drinks immediately and the waitstaff will bring the food to our table.
I examined the Dollar Dogs menu with keen interest. I was surprised that there were 6 varieties to choose from: The Frank Sinatra, The Buffalo Bill, The Texas Redneck, Bobby's Bogan Dog, The Yoko Ono ($2) and The Don Draper. They all sounded gourmet and I was keen to see the actual dish.
There are 2 stipulations attached to these Dollar Dogs. Of course, there are. Firstly, at least one drink must be purchased for each order; and secondly, maximum 5 dollar dogs may be purchased at one time.
I placed an order for a Classic New York Street Dog - The Frank Sinatra which contained beef & pork sausage, American mustard, picked sauerkraut, pickles and topped with crispy onion rings. A classic combination but a good one.
My friends placed an order for all 5 hot dogs, heck, it's only $1, they can have it all! However, they skipped the Yoko One (the vegetarian one). To order a vegetarian hot dog was too puzzling for them.
The collective favourite was the Texas Redneck - the straight shooter. The pork sausage was nice and juicy and topped with smoked chili, cheese and a good smokey BBQ sauce.
We also quite liked the Bobby's Bogan Dog - the fair dinkum Aussie delight. It contained lamb sausage, dijon mustard topped with smashed peas and feta cheese.
The Don Draper was another good choice. The beef and pork sausage was quite tasty, filled with finely diced onions and topped with Monterey Jack Cheese, tomato and American mustard. It was slightly salty on its own, but with a drink, it tasted just right.
The hot dogs were small but cute in a petite style. They were approximately half size of the normal serving. Obviously one hot dog would not suffice any ravenous appetite. It was no wonder my friends ordered 5 hot dogs straight up.
I thought the hot dogs looked adorable and they were definitely not the Wendy's style hot dogs I envisaged. The sausage tasted decent and the onion rings were crispy. I was quite happy with mine. With a Bourbon and Coke Float drink in hand, these gourmet hot dogs disappeared fast.
My friends were ready to order a second round.
"It's my shout this round," They said.
A gold coin for a hot dog and that won't really break your bank. What a truly great food deal in Sydney.
You can have as many as you want but bear in mind that the drinks are slightly pricey and they don't cost $1.
By the time I bid goodbye at 6.30pm, the Soda Factory was completely jam packed. Room has a good buzz, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and there was a line crowding at the bar. I can imagine this cozy bar can get loud and happy on Friday nights. When I stepped into the blasting cold night, I almost want to duck back in for more $1 hot dogs.
By the way, Wednesday nights are $1 baffalo wings. Time to come back tomorrow.