Knowing that the pandemic will likely keep the bar itself from reopening indoors anytime soon and crafting its cocktail artistry in keeping with its established brand, Trick Dog is reopening for now under a slightly different guise and concept: Quik Dog.
Longtime fans of the Mission District bar know that it opened in 2013 with a very particularly concept and aesthetic. Every six months the cocktail menu would completely change, and be a fully themed experience, generally with unusual alcohol combinations, flavors, and house-made ingredients — but always with a sense of light-hearted fun, and none of the stuffed-shirt, mustachio'd snobbery that cocktail culture had come to assume by that year. It opened as a bar with food, and former Chronicle critic Michael Bauer notably gave the place a three-star review, praising how symbiotically the food and cocktails worked together.
"Every dish is robust and makes sense in a crowded bar setting," he wrote. "The elongated burger is made with sirloin, chuck and brisket; it's cooked on a flat-top griddle and placed in a buttered and toasted sesame hot dog bun with mild cheddar cheese and a chow chow sauce."
That namesake elongated burger, the "Trick Dog" — which co-owner Josh Harris stole as an idea from his longtime teenage hang, SF's Olympic Club, where Hot Dog Bill's has famously served a "burger dog" like this to golfers since 1950 — is the anchor for the new to-go menu at Quik Dog, which is set to begin service at the Trick Dog space on Thursday, September 17.
As SFGate reports, the food menu has been rejiggered to be more takeout friendly, but fans will recognize the Trick Dog in addition to the well-loved kale salad (made with avocado, parm, pepitas, and a slow-cooked egg yolk dressing), and some excellent chicken nuggets ("Trick Nuggets") which have been an occasional special over the years. Among the new additions is the "QD Mission Dog," which is a hot dog inspired by the bacon-wrapped beauties that drunk people have bought from street vendors around the neighborhood for decades.
"It’s our goal that Trick Dog would come back and be here," Harris tells SFGate. "But I don’t intend to bring Trick Dog back until Trick Dog can be what it was."
Thus, in place of the themed cocktail concoctions will be a simpler list of to-go, batched beverages that serve six. There's the aptly named Cruel Summer (reposado tequila, amaro, and sweet vermouth), a white Negroni, and some two-ingredient highballs like a Paloma-esque mix of mezcal and grapefruit soda. There's also going to be a selection of non-alcoholic regional sodas, as there was on the Trick Dog menu.
Follow Quik Dog on Instagram for updates — Harris and his team have always been very good with the 'gram — and look forward to placing your orders later this week.
Also look forward to a time, somewhere down the line, when Trick Dog can hire the rest of its bar staff back and welcome people back inside for made-to-order, gorgeous drinks. Harris says that the place likely won't reopen the minute the city allows bars to reopen at limited capacity, because a half-empty or three-quarters-empty bar just isn't Trick Dog's style — and he adds, "Just because somebody says you can do something, doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do."