CHICAGO — Wagyu beef is no longer reserved for high-end restaurants — you can find it in Home Depot hot dogs.
The lavish steak has met the working man’s bun at select Fixin’ Franks, the popular hot dog stands stashed away in Chicago-area Home Depot stores.
They’re on a trial run at three Fixin’ Franks in Chicago: 2570 N. Elston Ave, 3500 N. Kimball Ave and 6211 N. Lincoln Ave, said Fixin’ Franks manager and co-owner Jordan Shirley.
In the suburbs, they can be found at these Home Depots: Evanston at 2201 Oakton St.; Niles at both 8650 W. Dempster Street and 901 Civic Center Drive; Mount Prospect at 350 E. Kensington Road.
The fancy dogs raised by Vander Farmers in Sturgis, Michigan, can still be dragged through the garden, Chicago-style, “and I’d recommend anything on them but ketchup,” Shirley said.
Wagyu steak dogs and brats are $8 each, about twice the price of a regular hot dog, Shirley said.
“I haven’t heard of anyone not liking them so far,” Shirley said. “Wagyu is the new thing, and everyone wants to have their hand on it. It tastes different than your typical dog. Every bite is full and smokey.”
Wagyu, a rare delicacy in the U.S. that translates to “Japanese cow,” is beef from one of four Japanese-born breeds, according to Food & Wine Magazine. An adult cow can sell for up to $30,000, the cost owing to the meat’s exclusivity, breeder’s costs and import prices, according to Business Insider.
Vander Farmers makes “F1 American Wagyu” with a crossbreed of Japanese Black Cattle and Holsteins, a breed of dairy cows, according to a news release.
Fixin’ Franks started in the late ’90s when Shirley’s father, Conley Shirley, “went from selling lattes and cappuccinos inside the store to serving hot dogs,” Jordan Shirley said.
It was a hit with hungry contractors. Fixin’ Franks is now in 17 Home Depot locations, Shirley said.
“I think it’s a perfect match,” Shirley said. “Hot dogs are a blue-collar, quick-and-easy meal. And everything is Chicago as f—.”
As the second-generation operator, Shirley is modernizing the business by launching its first Instagram page and adding new collaborations to get giardiniera from J.P. Graziano in West Loop and meat from Makowski’s Real Sausage Co. in Bridgeport, Shirley said.
Shirley is looking to partner with more small local businesses, and the wagyu dogs are the latest “nice little twist” to the menu, he said.
“It’s shedding light on the business. People who shopped at Home Depot always knew us, and it was almost like a cult following,” Shirley said. “We want to be open-minded. We want everyone to come in.”
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