September 16, 2014

Gluten-Free Hot Dogs at Mustard’s Last Stand in Boulder

By Evan Sandsmark -  

We don’t eat hot dogs very often, but when we do, we like them to be reasonably high-quality, loaded with condiments, and obviously gluten-free. This last requirement can be somewhat challenging, not only because regular hot dog buns contain gluten, but also because some hot dogs contain gluten. However, we knew that Mustard’s Last Stand uses Vienna Beef Hot Dogs, which are gluten-free, and we also recently discovered that they explicitly call attention to their gluten-free menu options, so we decided to stop into the restaurant on a recent afternoon in Boulder for a gluten-free hot dog. (We could have, for the record, stopped in for much more than a gluten-free hot dog. Mustard’s Last Stand has lots of vegetarian and vegan options, including vegetarian hot dogs and hamburgers, and there is even a vegetarian reuben.)

In the many years we have lived in Boulder, we have passed Mustard’s Last Stand countless times. It has a prime location right on the corner of Arapahoe and Broadway, and for whatever reason it catches our eye every time we are in the area. Despite its presence in our life, we never ate there, but we decided to change this a couple of days ago. Mustard’s Last Stand is something of a Boulder institution, having been in town for 35 years, and we figured we had to try it at least once.

We decided ahead of time that we were going to order whatever the regular hot dog option is. We wanted the most standard, and probably the most popular, menu item to assess the gluten-free version. Thus, we ordered the Chicago Style Hot Dog, the first thing listed on the menu, and added a number of the suggested condiments, including sauerkraut, chopped onions, hot peppers, and, of course, mustard. (We were at Mustard’s Last Stand, after all.) While a lot of mustards are gluten-free, not all of them are, so we made sure that the kind we were given was in fact GF. No one knew if the mustard contained gluten, but the cashier brought out the bottle so we could check the ingredients list. We were in the clear.

After placing our order, we found a spot along the seating bar that wraps around three walls of the restaurant. The majority of this bar runs along the side of the restaurant that overlooks Broadway, and this is where we found a place to sit, allowing us to watch cars and people pass as we waited for our food. Mustard’s Last Stand is a small place, but there is a surprising amount of seating, especially when you include the tables outside. So, unless you come during the middle of the lunch or dinner rush, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a table.

Mustard's Last Stand

After about five minutes, our name was called and our hot dog was presented. We ordered it with a “taste” of fries, which is the smallest size you can order and costs only 89 cents. However, we got a decent amount of fries with our meal, as you can see in the photo above, so if you like fries but want to keep your meal cheap, just order a “taste” with whatever you get. (The fact that the fries were cheap also lessens the strain of the dollar surcharge for a gluten-free bun.) And while we are on the topic of the fries, we are happy to report they are extremely good. They are homemade, with the potato skins still on them, and were fried to crispy perfection. All we ever ask of fries is that they are crisp, and Mustard’s Last Stand delivered.

As for the hot dog itself, it was very good, and tasted, just like the restaurant promises, like it came from a hot dog cart in Chicago. In part, this was simply because the hot dog used was from Vienna Beef, the brand that is almost universally used for “Chicago Style” hot dogs, but it also had to do with the toppings, especially the hot peppers and sauerkraut, two staples of Midwest cuisine, with its Italian and German influences. For the most part, the gluten-free bun didn’t really play any discernible role in the taste of the hot dog, which is as it should be. However, toward the end of the hot dog, with the frankfurter and condiments in retreat, the taste and texture of the bun become more noticeable. It was light and soft, but a little chewy, and in truth it tasted like most of the GF hot dog and hamburger buns we’ve tried.

Overall, we enjoyed our meal at Mustard’s Last Stand and will go again when the desire to eat a hot dog strikes us. The food was convenient, cheap, and tasty, and in a lot of cases, that is all we are looking for.

For more information, including the restaurant’s menu, check out Mustard’s Last Stand’s website.

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