When Henry "Hank" Adaniya opened his hot dog shack in Kakaako in 2007, it was a bold move. Coral Street wasn't known for shiny condos or Pow Wow street art murals. It was home to autobody shops and industrial supply warehouses marked by terrible graffiti.
My dad would take me to Hank's whenever he felt the urge for dogs. The only food destination we knew around here, Hank's mainly fed diehard foodies, mechanics and car salesmen until Food Network got wind of what Adaniya was cooking up. It was more than lobster dogs and Kobe beef dogs: Adaniya, an acclaimed restauranteur from Chicago whose parents were from Hawaii, would often host gourmet and ethnic popups at his cozy shop. Hank's was Kakaako's happenin' haute spot.
Now Kakaako has a new hipster identity and condo towers and spiffy commercial complexes have sprouted. Through more than a decade of change, Hank's has remained a Kaakako lunchtime staple and my go-to when I want a Chicago dog or a serious charburger. And now Hank's is changing: For the first time there's happy hour Wednesday through Sunday and it's seriously goood.
For me this is exciting because now that Hank's is open past 4 p.m., it gives me extra time to grab a Hankburger and a few extra bites with sips of $3 Pabst Blue Ribbon and $4 Maui Pau Hana Pilsner cans. If you're feeling fancy, spring for the $8 mini prosecco bottle. But the real fun starts with the lineup of pupus Adaniya has assembled. In addition to 20 percent off dogs and Hankburgers, happy hour bites start at $3.
Get the trio of sliders, $3.50 each or $9 for any three – choose from duck with a mellow cherry compote, pastrami with yellow mustard or lamb with tzatziki, all on buttery, soft brioche rolls. The standout for me is the lamb slider with cool cucumber tzatziki, but the pastrami is also perfect with a dab of tangy French's yellow mustard.
The chorizo fried taco, $3 each or three for $8, is an easy sell with its crunchy texture and spiced chorizo sausage tamed by avocado crema. They're poppable and perfect with Maui Brewing Co's crisp pilsner.
If you're a fan of McDonald's Filet-o-Fish or Burger King's Big Fish sandwiches, get a fish slider, $3 each or two for $5. This is fried cod with cool lettuce, a tangy remoulade and a sprinkle of cheddar served on a hot dog bun. The contrast of pillowy-soft bread with battered fish just works.
The montanara pizzette ($4) is a miniature fried pizza topped with marinara, mozzarella and sopressata cured meat. It's crisp and has a nice balance of saltiness and acid from the tomato sauce. This one was inspired by Adaniya's most recent trip to Italy; he says more trip-inspired pupus are coming.
The zucchini fries ($3) were not the batter-fried zucchini sticks we were expecting. Instead they turned out to be a nest of zoodles lightly battered and best eaten as soon as possible. I think they tie the whole menu together. Of course, you could always spring for a bag for Hank's beef fat fries instead.
In the end it doesn't really matter. No matter how you tackle Hank's happy hour, you won't be worrying about your wallet.
Hanks Haute Dogs
324 Coral St.
Happy hour Wed - Sun 4-6 p.m.