Underdogs has been kicking around in Robert Amar’s mind for close to seven years. Just over two years ago, he decided to work in earnest on making it a reality. Taking advantage of the ready-to-go subterranean spot that until recently housed Moroccan sandwicherie Argan, Amar is saying March 1 for his Rittenhouse franks stop.
While he hasn’t quite settled on the supplier for the meat, there are a few characteristics that are certain: the main event will be a thick dog, the kind that comes five to a pound, and not in a casing. In addition to hot dogs, sandwiches will also feature pork sausage from Fiorello’s, kielbasa from Czerw's, game-based wursts from D’Angelos and bacon from Martin’s in Reading Terminal Market. Buns will hail from Vallari's bakery in South Philly.
Toppings will be the highlight at Underdogs, filling out an eclectic menu that Amar describes as “having fun with the food part” of the operation. Each day will have a theme: Monday is veggie day, Tuesday will be “rabbit season,” Wednesday is for fish, Thursday is for duck and Friday is game day. Fresh-cut, double-fried pomme frites will be available on the side, along with an assortment of dipping sauces. Add-ons will include chili and the Pennsylvania Dutch traditional pepper hash. The price point will be extremely affordable, hovering around $6-$8 for a sandwich, fries and a drink.
Amar was most recently the general manager at Fairmount’s eco-friendly wine bar Fare, and will continue to consult there. He’s bringing some of what he learned there, including implementing composting at Underdogs, as well as using recycled or biodegradable packaging and containers. The quick-serve eatery will seat around 35 at hightops and counters, and will stay open until 4 AM on weekend nights to cater to the post-bar crowd. During the week, hours will be 11 AM–9 PM (132 S. 17th St.).