I heard “a new hot dog place” had opened up near work. I wasn’t super-excited until I read somewhere, I can’t remember where, that the tater tots were amazing. Hot dogs and brats? Eh. I don’t particularly care for either. Meat with a skin kind of weirds me out. All personal skin issues aside, though, I have eaten my share of hot dogs and some brats and I don’t detest them. I’d just prefer a cheeseburger. Anyway, since I got to pick Bossa Grill last week, I agreed to Linkhaus this week. Hey, you never know, right?

“Napoleon, give me some of your tots.”

First impressions walking into Linkhaus were pretty cool. The front and back of the store are windows, which will let in lots of light. Well, actually, because of the way the building’s laid out the front and back of the store is actually the sides of the store… But I’m not sure that’s relevant. It’s a very shiny place, with lots of metals, tiles and other hard surfaces. I’m not sure if urban is the right description. Lots of tables in the center of the room. To one end was the register and soda fountains. To the other was a bar. WHAT? A bar! Booyah!

The layout didn’t put you at the register (or a menu) upon entering. But that wasn’t really an issue because they weren’t packed or anything. The menu’s displayed on three flat panel TVs behind the counter. But they’re set to the side of the register so I think even if they had been busy there still would have been room for looking and ordering simultaneously. This MAY cause issues with looking, ordering and sending out food because food orders are called out by number and picked up in the same area. But, like I said, none of this was an issue. I’m not an expert in building design or anything. Just giving my initial perceptions.

Alright, so there were twelve specialty dogs (hot dogs, brats and Polish sausage) listed on the menu, ranging in price from $5.50 to $6.50. You can also order “naked” brats and hot dogs and pick your own toppings. Some toppings, like pickles, onions, mustard and ketchup are free. Other toppings like cheese, peppers, sauerkraut and chili are 50 cents per item. They also offer meatless brats and hot dogs as well as 100% all beef skinless hot dogs (I didn’t see THIS option until after I ordered or I would have gone that route!). There are also seasonal brats. And sliders (which are 3 deli style mini hot dogs with various preset toppings). There’s also one dessert option (beignets), salads and a breakfast menu.

And then there’s the extensive tots menu! You can get Tex-Mex Tots (with jack cheese, pico and jalapenos), All American Tots (cheddar cheese and tomatoes) and Chili Tots. Or you can get “naked” tots in salted, spicy cajun or garlic. The naked tots come in three sizes. After I ordered I also saw there are various dipping sauces (sour cream and chives, blue cheese, nacho cheese, ranch, spring roll sauce, creamy horsradish). You know this girl would have been all over nacho cheese!

Anyway, I finally decided on the South of the Border Dog. It’s a chorizo style brat (yes, even after I ordered and didn’t really care for chorizo at Riverside Cafe Too) with red onions, jack cheese, avocado wedges, pico de gallo and pickled jalapenos. Sounds yummy, right? Yeah, I know. I wish I had asked about switching our brats for hot dogs and whatnot, but I didn’t. Since all of these are similar in price I assume you could, especially since they can all be substituted with the meatless and 100% beef options.  But I can’t guarantee anything.

Now here’s my first complaint. You spend six bucks on a hot dog/brat and it doesn’t come with anything. I know it’s a huge hot dog, but tater tots can’t be that expensive. Throw a few in. Or give a smaller option. The smallest option was way too much for one person. I ended up buying the smallest order of naked tots, cajun flavor. I’m not complaining about cost. If I wanted fast food I would have gotten fast food. I just wish someone at the counter would have said, “Hey, these are pretty big orders of tater tots. You guys (we were clearly a group of four) could easily share them.” But, I digress. Well, really, I don’t. We were openly Linkhaus virgins. And just like my complaint at Tsubasa, give us a little direction!

Alright, so food comes out and this is where I get REALLY pissed. When we were ordering our food I kept saying, “So these are just hot dogs and we have to order tater tots separate, right?” And then I asked if they were ordering separate. There were two workers standing there. No one spoke. When our hot dogs came out, they had sides of tater tots in them. I’m not sure if this is normal? Or if they had overflow and gave them to us because each of us ordered and order of tots. Or what the hell was going on. All I know is the amount of tots in the tray with my brat was more than enough for me. I didn’t even need the “regular” order I also got. So, feedback to Linkhaus if you’re listening. 1. If you already offer this small amount with all/some of the brats, say so on the menu and/or train your staff! 2. If you don’t offer these already, you should! That little portion is more than enough. Offer it for 99 cents or something. It was maybe an ounce (the regular tots are four ounces). Hey, I’m just sayin’.

OK, onto the review of the food. My brat was “eh.” I’m not a huge hot dog or brat fan, like I said. So I wasn’t expecting to become a convert, but it wasn’t really flavorful at all. The toppings were really good, but the bun broke and most of the pico fell out the bottom. The cheese had a nice flavor, the jalapenos a kick, and the avocados.. Oh, the avocados! And the bun was soft and delicious as well. The tots were out of this world. Crunchy and tasty. The cajun ones didn’t really taste spicy, but they weren’t bad or anything. I just don’t know that I would have known they were a special flavor if I hadn’t ordered them that way.

Other items of note: They have Strawberry Fanta and Mello Yellow. For some reason they don’t have ketchup, mustard and everything else at the tables. I found this very strange. They had one thing of each item in a center area. Unless they’re trying to work on a clean look, why not put these on the tables? It’s not super convenient to stop at that little island. Just a small detail. They had something called “spicy ketchup.” I didn’t personally think it was spicy, but I have a somewhat high tolerance for spice.

I like the idea of beer+tots or beer+dog combo. And I really liked the separate bar area. I’m not sure what drink specials, if any, they have. I may or may not go back for that. I definitely won’t go back just to eat a brat again. For me and my personal tastes, it wasn’t worth it. And that was the general consensus at the table. A bit pricey for a hot dog or brat. Adding a few tots in would have alleviated the $12 lunch bill we all had.

One thing I’d go back for is breakfast. They have a decent selection. And although I don’t need tator tots in my life, I think an egg/tots/something combo sounds amazing! And those prices seem more manageable or realistic for a non-dinner meal.

Check out their full menu here. I actually dug the layout and functionality of the menu.

Bottom line: The food’s not awful, but I felt underwhelmed. I’m not a huge hot dog or brat fan, but even the guys said they weren’t super-excited about what they got. Tots were good. I wish a very small order were included on the side of all hot dogs or brats. I might go back for breakfast.

Front of the restaurant. The menus to order are hard to see behind the soda fountain. But brats are prepared in that area, and picked up back there, too.

The bar.

My South of the Border Dog and some tots with spicy ketchup. See what I mean about a small side of tots in with my brat? More than enough for me.

Tex-Mex Tots with jack cheese, pico de gallo and pickled jalapenos

Close up of the Tex-Mex tots.

Horsradish Brat (Polish sausage, toasted hoagie roll, mustard, horseradish sauce, radish slices) and, again, a small side of tots.

Linkhaus on Urbanspoon

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Comments
  1. Anna says:

    I’ve been in there several times. I think it depends who is working. There are times I’ve been in and had exceptional service and other times when it’s been similar to what you described. There are a few workers that are quick to help you out and answer any questions right away, but then they have some employees that just stand there. They do need to get their employees consistently being directive and answering questions immediately, but they do have some good customer service oriented employees.
    I will say that I’ve heard some people take the opposite end as you on the tots thing. They were told that there were tots on the side so didn’t order any and then wasn’t impressed with the amount of tots. Although, I think they just went to serving more tots on the side within the two weeks. Again, here, I’ve almost always been told there were tots on the side, so I’m surprised you had problems with that.
    I can tell you this, they still need to work on their consistency, especially in how all the employees treat their customers. Some are much more helpful than others. I’ve been in several times and have received free tots or beignets a couple of times. Again, it depends on the employees working and how busy they are, I think.
    The bar serves only beer and wine. They have been having $5 pitchers of Tallgrass, although I think with the announcement that the state will be enforcing the per ounce law, that will probably be changing SOON… unless the governor does something about that law, then they might still do it. There beer prices are pretty good for the most part.
    As a side note, I and several people I know, think the spicy ketchup is too spicy so your opinion on that has to be due to your high tolerance of spices. I like some spicy stuff and it was too much for me. The spicy tots vary as well. I’ve been able to eat them sometimes, but I’ve gone in twice and not been able to eat them because the person who made them grabbed way too much cajun mix when they made them. The garlic tots have always been exceptional every time I’ve had them! The ketchup on the tables is likely do to wanting a clean look- they clean ALL the time there! When they get a rush, they might not get out right away to clean off the tables, but it doesn’t take them too long. When they are slower, they have someone sweeping the floor, cleaning bathrooms, cleaning all the glass, cleaning tables, etc. and making it spotless. Taking every time I’ve gone in, it’s one of the cleanest restaurants consistently that I’ve been too.

    • Kelly says:

      Wow, Anna! This is great feedback. I definitely agree the place was REALLY clean. And I suspected the clean feel is helped by tables without any clutter. And the less bottles they have to fill/clean also ensures more sanitary bottles. Some bottles/salt and pepper/menus stored on tables gross me out. So I appreciate that. My suggestion would only be a few more of each, but also know they don’t want the island cluttered.

      That’s funny that I have a high spicy tolerance. My sister makes fun of me for being a wimp. :-)

      And I can see either way it could be a lose situation with the tots. Just simply saying, “you know your brat comes with some tots” would have been helpful. Or mentioning it on the menu? But I can definitely see people being disappointed if they expect a huge side.

  2. Anna says:

    It would be nice to have a few more condiment bottles, especially when certain customers take the ketchup bottle to their table without returning it right away for other customers to use. Also, they don’t keep cups out to put the condiments in. However, they have them- you just have to ask them. They actually try to keep some filled up with ketchup and mustard with lids on them so when you ask, you usually get some already made up for you, which is nice. It is kind of a hassle to not have cups out there to put condiments in, but it does help to keep the island more clutter-free and clean. Also, from a business perspective, that and keeping the lids for their drinks back behind the counter with them, probably saves them a lot of money. Customers at restaurants, especially kids, don’t think about the things they waste by touching them and not using them. Whenever I’ve needed anything, they’ve always been very helpful in getting it for me- you just have to ask for several of their things.
    As far as the tots on the side, I really am surprised they didn’t tell you that. Every time I’ve gone in, they’ve told me and I hear them telling the other customers as they order. I’m usually only there in the evenings, though. So maybe it’s different at other times of the day or with different people working up front.
    Like I said before, there are some employees that are not that great at service, but they have some great customer service employees as well. Especially when they are not very busy, they really take care of their customers. The customers’ concerns are listened to and then receive action to correct them. If you don’t like your dog, they have no problems making you some other type of dog for free. It is nice to have a place that cares like that. Also, like I said before, they’ve given me free tots or beignets a couple of times, which of course I love and appreciate. :) There are not many places that randomly give you free food, unless they’ve messed up on your order or it is your birthday, so that is really generous of them.
    Also, forgot to mention last time that you can change a brat to a hot dog or vice versa for the same price. If you say you want a brat instead of a hot dog, you’ll get a regular brat, but they also have Chorizo (which comes on the South of the Border Dog), Spicy Italian (comes on the Italian and Grilled Pepper Dog), and Curry (comes on the Curry Brat) so you can choose from any of the four styles of brats for no extra charge. Heck, you can even change the type of roll you get: I know they have sourdough, poppy seed, and hoagie for sure- not sure if they have other selections as well or not.

  3. Anna says:

    Went back the other day and thought I’d report that their menu has been updated. In big bold letters on the menu screen, it says you get 4oz. of courtesy tots with every dog/brat, except the express dogs. The express dogs are also new: $1 for a 1/8lb. hot dog and $2 for a 1/4lb hot dog. They are cheap because there are no tots on the side and the bun isn’t near as good, although it is your typical hot dog bun. The bun just looks bad with their 1/4 dog is all, but still tastes good.

  4. Jana says:

    This restaurant has been permanently closed for some time now. Another opened in its place, but closed even more quickly.

    (Hello, fellow Wichita food blogger!)

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