It’s very possible you had no idea just how worldly hot dogs could be, but at Bam!Dog the owners are making it clear there isn’t just one way to eat a hotdog. This goes beyond the typical Chicago dog versus New York hot dog debate (although Bam Dog offers renditions of both on their menu) to cover a world of delicious options for those who can’t get enough of their ballpark franks (and beyond).
Bam Dog is an unsuspecting shop tucked in between Goodwill and a yogurt store in the Smithridge shopping center on corner of South Virginia and South McCarran. Inside are a few tables and a large, wall-sized menu boasting photos of every dog you can try from the Chi-Town Pride (a jumbo all-beef hot dog served on an artisan poppy seed roll and loaded with pickle relish, red onion, Roma tomatoes and a pickle wedge with a swirl of yellow mustard and a touch of celery salt) to the New York Bomber (a jumbo all-beef dog on an artisan roll stopped with sauerkraut, push-cart onions and spicy brown mustard).
For six months during the pandemic the shop closed its doors while the owner attended to his other business in Tahoe, which led many customers to believe it was gone for good. Luckily, however, Bam Dog came back with a bang—or, I guess, a Bam!
From Mexican to Italian, Hawaiian to Texan, the menu features a lot of regional dogs competing for best flavor. The combinations get seriously creative, using Italian sausage as the base on the Italian Stallion and spicy chorizo for the Mexican Madness. Mango salsa makes an appearance alongside chopped bacon on the Aloha Addict while the California Dreamin’ has hummus and Veggies Goddess dressing.
Bam Hot Dogs
5000 Smithridge Drive
Reno, NV 89502
Two of our favorites though are the Cheeseburger in Paradise, which features a Great Basin Pale Ale and Cheddar Bratwurst on a fresh-baked artisan sesame seed roll, topped with American cheese, shredded lettuce, Roma tomatoes and sliced dill pickles with a design of thousand island dressing as the finishing touch; and the All American Picnic, a jumbo all-beef dog in the same sesame seed roll topped with potato salad, Roma tomatoes, chopped bacon and green onions before its finished with BBQ sauce.
If you couldn’t tell, the hot dogs here are gourmet concoctions dreamed up by some inspired hot dog aficionados. No item feels like your run-of-the-mill dog. Instead, a slew of interesting ingredients create a menu that makes it near impossible to choose just one. And that’s before we launch into their selection of wings and tots—perhaps that’s another article all together.
Regardless of what you order, it’s going to get messy. The dogs are piled high with the listed ingredients and the all-beef dogs are quarter-pounders that are filling. The outside has just the right amount of crisp to it, before you bite into the tender dog. And the bread elevates it even more. Mix up your rolls from the options available to try—all soft and warm around the myriad of toppings.
When you stop in, grab a fountain soda or even a beer to enjoy with your meal. And, if you want, ask staff how you can mix up each dog, getting a little more inventive with all you have to work with.
Nora Heston Tarte is a long-time Reno resident living on the southside of town. In addition to food, her hobbies include wine, hiking, yoga and travel. She is also the managing editor of a regional, lifestyle publication and freelances for other publications most frequently in the travel space. She graduated from California State University Sacramento with a bachelor’s in English and is pursuing her master’s in Professional Journalism as we speak. You can follow her travel adventures, and local exploits, on her Instagram account @wanderlust_n_wine.