Adventures written by the VAMONDE Team
In the Twin Cities, a “hot dago” or “dago burger” is a patty made from Italian sausage served on a hamburger bun. “Dago” is also a slur for Italians that has an ugly past. But many Italian Americans use it to refer to each other in a friendly or tongue-in-cheek way, and locals insist the sandwich was named in that spirit. Despite occasionally causing controversy, the name has stuck and people here know dagos as the twin cities’ favorite sandwiches.
As with most local specialties, opinions vary on which restaurant has the original or the best. Dusty’s Bar in Northeast Minneapolis, which calls itself “home of the dago,” is a great place to try one, and to soak up some friendly and not-too-fancy local culture. Northeast Minneapolis is sometimes called “Nordeast,” reflecting the influence of northern and eastern immigrants on the neighborhood’s culture.
Dusty’s makes its own Italian sausage patties for their Dagos, which are surprisingly inexpensive for such a hardy meal. The “works” comes with mozzarella or American cheese, fried onions, and sweet peppers. They offer a few variations with different toppings, as well as a “half and half” which is half beef. They also offer other hot sandwiches, with the Reuben and polish sausage among the favorites. If you're looking for the perfect liquid pair for your sandwich, you won't be disappointed by the variety of beers on tap here.
Dusty’s is also known locally for its live music, particularly classic rock and roots music. The bar’s décor could also be described as “classic”—locals say it hasn’t changed much since the 1950s.
Cover photo: Eric, CC BY 2.0 via flickr.