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Trattner's Table for 2: Happy Dog in Gordon Square with Mike Polk Jr.

For a more laid back date night, head to the Happy Dog in Gordon Square.

CLEVELAND — Planning a night out on the town? Looking to impress a hot date or loved one? Tired of hitting the same-old restaurants? In this feature, 3News food expert Doug Trattner lends a hand as he highlights great places to visit in Northeast Ohio. From temples of fine dining to hole-in-the-wall dives, these places all have a few things in common: excellent food, good service, great vibes, and local ownership. So pull up a chair, order a beverage, and stay for the fun!

This week, Trattner took our Mike Polk Jr. out to a place beloved for its hot dogs, tater tots and live events. In true date-night fashion, the pair ordered dinner for each other, played a few doubles games of pinball, and enjoyed a couple rounds of ice-cold adult beverages.

LOCATION: Happy Dog

ADDRESS: 5801 Detroit Ave, Cleveland

Oldtimers might recall a time when this corner tavern was home to Mom Socotch’s restaurant, a family-friendly place serving homestyle foods. These days, the tavern is home to Happy Dog, a welcoming neighborhood watering hole where hot dogs and tater tots come with a side of live entertainment.

MENU STYLE: Diners order their dogs and tots via a chit-and-pencil menu that features dozens (and dozens) of toppings. Pick your dog (all-beef, vegan or red hot) and go to town designing the perfect weenie with 50 options that include meats, cheeses, sauces and fresh and pickled veggies. Tots come with their own choice of toppings and dipping sauces.

PRICE RANGE: $ (out of 5 $s)

TOP THREE REASONS TO VISIT:

1. This corner tavern boasts preserved-in-amber mid-century charm, including wood paneling, linoleum flooring, vinyl booths, and a handsome 46-stool oval bar that commands a full third of the room.

2. The dogs, tots, and beer selection are amazing, but it’s the special events that draw the big crowds. Some nights alt-rock or polka bands take to the stage, on others it’s classical music or a timely political discussion. 

3. PINBALL! Upstairs and down, there are enough pinball machines to keep a nerd pleasantly entertained for hours.

You can learn more about Happy Dog and browse their menu, here. You can also follow them @happydogcleveland on social media.

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