Many a genius plan has been born of necessity. When Bon Vivants cofounder Josh Harris' wheels started turning about how the heck he'd manage to reopen his beloved Mission Bar, Trick Dog, within the parameters required of the pandemic (limited capacity, plexiglass booth dividers), a light bulb went off. Trick Dog is all about crowding in for cocktails and camaraderie. He simply wouldn't sanitize it.
"It was really freeing when we decided that we weren't going to figure out how to do that, but rather we were like, 'lets do something else—let's try and view this as an opportunity," he says.
Today, on its tree-lined block of 20th Street on the Mission's east side—home to low-key yet top-notch foodie establishments such as True Laurel and Flour+Water, Trick Dog's cool dark facade has been transformed to house a bright new concept that's just right for the current moment. Get ready to meet Quik Dog, the award-winning bar's more extroverted, friendly cousin.
At Quik Dog, the brightly painted facade and to-go window signal a totally new era for the beloved cocktail bar Trick Dog.(Sarah Chorey)
A poppin' paint job guarantees you won't miss Quik Dog, which all but jumps out to grab with you with its open counter window and a cartoonish dog logo by San Francisco artist Ferris Plock. On our visit, Harris lingered outside, chatting up folks at a comfortable distance from behind his bandana mask; a loungey track by Poolside wafted through the speakers; and the smell of freshly grilled meats permeated the sidewalk. It's actually a concept Harris has been pondering for a while, but the moment is clearly now: "We can do it through a window, we're distanced, we don't need a lot of people," he says. "We just focus on the food, we don't have to worry about the drinks."
The first rule of Quik Dog (not that a place like Quik Dog has rules), is that pretty much all food items are served on a hot dog bun. Chicken sandwich? Hot dog bun. Burger? Hot dog bun. Hot dog? Hot dog bun. The standard Quik Dog condiments are pickles, Doggie sauce, lettuce, and onion; such toppings as melted cheddar and fire-roasted jalapeño spread make appearances here and there.
The menu by chef Timmy Malloy (Great Gold, Radhaus) builds on a few Trick Dog classics but with an eye toward optimum travel conditions. A burger from the Before Time has been reformed into an oblong shape and snugged into a sturdier bun to become the Quik Dog burger, while the OG Mission dog is butterflied and topped with a slice of bacon.
Vegetarian versions of the hamburger and hot dog are also available, sourced from Beyond Meat and Field Roast, respectively. And Trick Dog's popular kale salad has also made the cut, no changes necessary. "We did tests to see what it tastes like after 30 minutes or an hour—it holds up pretty good," Harris says.
While you won't find Trick Dog's extensive list of complex cocktails, there are of course drinks in the form of simpler options that can be quickly and easily made by a smaller staff. Beer by the can, wine by the glass, and an array of fun soda options are also on offer. It's grab and go, in Bon Vivants style.
(Photography by Sarah Chorey)
Want to feel like a kid again? Order the Quiknuggets—they're brined in buttermilk brine, fried, and accompanied by barbecue sauce and honey mustard, naturally. You can also order it sandwich-style with lettuce, onion, Doggie sauce, and pickles...on a hot dog bun, of course.
// Quik Dog is open 4pm to 9pm Wednesday through Sunday, 3010 20th St. (Mission), trickdogbar.com.