Fans of the popular street meat style hotdog but who are looking for something a little more dynamic can find their wishes granted just east of the city in the Beaches. Open for less than a year, Shakes and Franks is a modern take out style joint that has been creating quite the buzz – from their sold out opening in January, to a successful summer serving Torontonians delicious wieners and frosty shakes.
Owners and brothers Giancarlo and Sergio Leone aren’t newcomers to the food business. While neither have any formal culinary training, both have a passion for food and have spent their lives working for their family’s ice cream company, a background that inspired Giancarlo and Sergio to create the perfect milkshake and build a culinary business off of its sweet foundation. Each with an entrepreneurial spirit and an inspiration to pair milkshakes with the next big thing – hotdogs, the Leone brothers are making Shakes and Franks their next big adventure.
Locally sourced ingredients make these dogs stand out, but it’s the collision of some crazy good topping choices and the flavour of US-imported Nathan’s Hot Dogs that creates a combination worth talking about. From comfort classics like the deep fried, bacon wrapped, Mac N’ Cheese topped Mac Attack to out of this world flavour creations like the Hula dog, a zesty and vibrant, deep-fried, bacon wrapped wonder with a touch of habanero heat and indulgent garlic mayo.
Ordering from the board behind the counter, customers are given a few options; franks, shakes, spuds and sweet things, along with a small list of sides. Hot dogs come in two sizes: 6” or 12”, three meat types: beef, chicken or veggie, and any dog can be wrapped in bacon for an extra $1.25.
While you wait, I suggest you grab a Banana Cream Pie shake (or any of their other options) and find out what all the hype is about. With a rich and creamy base of local Toronto ice cream, mouthfuls of banana and pie crust adding a unique, flavourful texture, topped off with fresh whipped cream and drizzles of sweet caramel sauce… Well, you might not have any room left over for that hot dog you just ordered.
Visiting Shakes and Franks will make you forget about that diet you convinced yourself you’re going on, with the smell of fresh hot dogs and interior décor colours reminiscent of ketchup and mustard conjuring up a vision of a summertime backyard barbecues.
While the concept of milkshakes and hot dogs is a simple one, Giancarlo and Sergio Leone have managed to take it to the next level. With unique flavour choices, a natural talent for creating the mother of all milkshakes and genuinely friendly customer service, Shakes and Franks is making big things happen – and you’re not going to want to miss it.
Check them out online at www.shakesandfranks.com or visit them at 2032 Queen Street East in Toronto.
Photos by: Amanda Morari