Sammy's Wild Game Grill: Imitation Is the Sincerest Form of Flattery

Categories: Local Spotlight

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Photos by Troy Fields
At Sammy's, you can eat your dogs inside or on the patio -- or even grab them from a drive-thru to-go.
In this week's cafe review of Sammy's Wild Game Grill, the new wild game hot dog-and-hamburger spot off Washington, we examine the idea that all artists borrow -- and the great ones steal. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

A lot of Houston diners didn't see it that way, however, when Sammy's opened. Its menu, at first, looked somewhat familiar to fans of Moon Tower Inn. Both places served wild game meat-based hot dogs. Both places served them in Slow Dough buns.

But that's where the similarities end.

Sammy's offers a much wider selection of food and sides -- including hamburgers and elk chili fries that I'm a big fan of -- and most importantly, it has own distinct atmosphere. After all, the all-outdoor, grown-ups-gone-camping vibe was one of the most striking and important aspects of Moon Tower Inn, which is currently closed for remodeling.

And even if you think the two restaurants' menus are too close for comfort, does it really matter?

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The pheasant dog pairs nicely with a Fireman's No. 4.
Dolce Vita is perhaps Houston's most successful example of a restaurant that "borrowed" a menu -- nearly part and parcel -- from an already established restaurant. In this case, owner and chef Marco Wiles's menu was heavily influenced by Mario Batali's Otto in Manhattan. This co-opting has never hurt Dolce Vita; rather, Houstonians have more or less embraced the restaurant for bringing better pizza to our city.

More topically, it was suggested when Moon Tower Inn opened up that it had borrowed its entire wild game hot dog idea from Hot Doug's in Chicago. The point being that no ideas are original anymore; everyone borrows -- or steals -- whether they know it or not.

Get acquainted with Sammy's while MTI is closed. Lack of craft beers aside, you might be surprised at how much you like it.



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Location Info

Sammy's Wild Game Grill

3715 Washington Ave., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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12 comments
KING
KING

I like Sammy's. Big Moon Tower fan, but it's nice to have different options. Throw in Happy Fatz and Good Dog and you have a pretty nice quad of hot dog joints in Houston. They're the new cupcakes.

Kyle
Kyle

I think it's more the issue of doing it in the same city, and putting it in Dudebro territory. The Moon Tower folk actually praised a business in Austin that borrowed the idea.

Anyway, Moon Tower Inn does (*sigh*, did) have burgers.

Early Cuyler
Early Cuyler

Dudebro territory, that is awesome.  I will never understand why women are attracted to the Ed Hardy and Affliction shirt wearing set.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

Were the burgers a recent addition to the menu? I've only ever had hot dogs and [delicious, delicious] sandwiches there.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

I'll also say that in my visits to Sammy's, I didn't spot a single dudebro. But I also was never there late at night, when the clubs let out...

TQro
TQro

Yep, burgers were the Cheech-n-Chong and the Supercadillaclistic(?).  Spelling may be 'slightly' off on that second one. Ha!

Kyle
Kyle

About two months, I think. 

Early Cuyler
Early Cuyler

I don't remember burgers being served there either, just those dogs that would take thirty to forty-five minutes sometimes, although worth the wait.

Preston
Preston

I was here last Friday and the patronage was oddly blue collar for such a new place... more than a few name patches on shirts.

Josh
Josh

southernplayalisticadillacmuzik. Named after Outkasts first album.

Burgers cropped up at MTI about 8 weeks ago. They were proceeded by a grilled cheese menu about 5 months ago.

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