Table for Two: Mustard's Last Stand
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    Photo courtesy authors / North by Northwestern

    Whether you’re fretting about where to take that cutie you’ve been crushing on in chem for a casual coffee date or looking for a romantic anniversary dinner locale, we’ve got all the details here. We hope you enjoy reading about these date destinations as much as we enjoy writing about them and that you’ll give some of them a taste. 

    So, in the spirit of this selection: Chow down!

    Restaurant: Mustard’s Last Stand

    Address: 1613 Central Street, Evanston

    Hours: Mon-Fri 10:30 a.m. – 10:00 p.m., Sat 10:30 a.m. – 10:30 p.m., Sun 11:00 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.

    Getting there: less than a block from either Ryan Field stop on the Northwestern Shuttle

    Mustard’s Last Stand, a traditional Chicago hotdog house on Ryan Field’s doorstep, serves a variety of hearty American eats. Mustard’s is a stand in the most literal sense: you won’t find much more than standing room inside, but cozy, close quarters and the warm smells of chili and meat may turn out to be just what the doctor ordered, especially as winter wears on.


    His Take

    Food (3.5/5)

    Photo courtesy of authors

    Mustard’s is great for what it is: a hotdog joint. I can’t imagine anything hitting the spot better on game day at Ryan than, say, a hotdog and lemonade to enjoy while tailgating, and Mustard’s has some great `dogs to offer. I had a Polish sausage with chili and cheese; I watched it grilled in front of me, and it was served hot and tasty. The chili was hearty and full of beans. It drove the cold right out of me. But while it was one of the better hotdogs I’ve had, it was still just a hotdog. It didn’t make me see the dubious meat product in a new light or rethink the general public opinion of them as a food item. In short, I don’t see Mustard’s converting any nonbelievers to hotdogism anytime soon. But for those of us who are already on the `dog side of the force, Mustard’s Last Stand is a good place to get a fix. I enjoyed it, but if you aren’t in love with the idea of hotdogs, don’t expect Mustard’s to change your mind.

    Service (3.5/5)

    Another joint with average service. The staff at Mustard’s seemed happy to have us, but a bit impatient with our first-timers’ uncertainty when faced with their surprisingly large menu. This tension was perpetuated by the lack of any sort of division between the staff and the patrons. The only thing that separated us was a low counter. And while this lack of division created a nice, open space inside Mustard’s, I felt as though there was no escaping the staff’s collective gaze and no way to gauge their feelings towards me.

    Atmosphere (4/5)

    While it's a tiny eating space, there’s something homey about Mustard’s Last Stand. Indoor diners are relegated to a narrow bar that runs along one side of the room. It’s a bit of a precarious perch, but the view is rewarding: The walls are lined with a mixture of bizarre family photos, seasonal decorations and memorabilia from literally every sport imaginable. Croquet mallets hang above one window, while an old photo of Francis Ouimet is pinned up next to a box of old golf balls; horse racing scenes, slam-dunk shots and a variety of jerseys from Chicago sports teams and beyond leave little wall space exposed. It’s an interesting visual treat. Furthermore, the smell inside Mustard’s is to die for: hot chili, frying oil and meat smoke from the grills across the room. Enough of the food scent disappears into the kitchen fans that it never becomes overwhelming and stays, as far as I’m concerned, quite pleasant.

    Date Factor (3.5/5)

    If your date enjoys hotdogs, or just relatively inexpensive grill fare, Mustard’s Last Stand is a convenient and cozy place to go. It’s super easy to get to from campus, a very short shuttle ride north, and the trip could make for a pleasant walk together in the warmer months. Depending on what you order, the food can be a bit messy, but not to the point that embarrassing instances are likely.

    Her Take

    Food (4/5)

    Photo courtesy of authors
    Mustard’s Last Stand is everything a hotdog stand should be. Their vast menu encompasses traditional hotdog variants, burgers and snack fare. Before I discuss the quality of my food, I must divulge the standard by which I judge all hotdogs and sausages. In my ideal world, a hotdog should never need any toppings. The flavors and juices of the meat should be phenomenal enough to speak for themselves. At Mustard’s, I was completely satisfied with my Wisconsin bratwurst. The brat was plump, juicy and well-flavored. All of Mustard’s hotdog variants are served on poppy seed buns, a nice variation on the usual bun. I ordered a small order of chili cheese fries to accompany my brat, which was a winning decision. In my home state of Texas, the big chili debate is “beans” or “no beans.” I’m proud to say that Mustard’s is a “beans” chili kind of place. The small order of chili cheese fries was definitely big enough to share, and the ratio of fries to chili and cheese was a well-struck balance. As delicious as this hotdog stand’s fare is, the food is a little higher-priced than the typical hotdog and fries. The quality of the food may warrant this splurge spending for a yummy dog, though.

    Service (2/5)

    Mustard’s service is exactly what one would expect from a hotdog stand. Although the workers were decent enough, their overwhelming sense of impatience killed the sense of kitschy hospitality that the physical restaurant exudes. If you aren’t looking for five star service, Mustard’s will probably satisfy your requirements. On the brighter side, Mustard’s offers delivery services for a $3.00 fee, so you can always have a great ‘dog from the comfort of your own room.

    Atmosphere (3.5/5)

    This year-round hotdog stand is a bit more enclosed than a traditional stand. A cabin-style building, Mustard’s has a vibe somewhere between classic smokehouse and endearing hole-in-the-wall. As John mentioned, the walls are absolutely covered with sports memorabilia. Photos of various Big Ten teams stopping for a bite at Mustard’s line the walls; there’s even a picture of a bride and groom eating their first meal as husband and wife at Mustard’s. Images of famous athletes hang next to little league snapshots. Tradition runs deep at this simple and friendly restaurant, and I can’t help but think that the eclectic wallpaper of framed photographs must provide some sort of additional insulation in the winter. The small seating bar creates a folksy atmosphere, but Mustard’s could easily become overcrowded. Nothing about Mustard’s screams “classy,” but everything whispers “cozy.”

    Date Factor (3/5)

    Although I sincerely enjoyed my lunch at Mustard’s Last Stand, I think the bride and groom in one of the wall photos might have taken this lowly hotdog stand a bit too far. Unless your date is an absolute hotdog fanatic, Mustard’s should be relegated to the “cute, but not particularly romantic” date category. Mustard’s is a perfectly decent casual lunch or game day date location, but it’s nothing beyond that. That being said, it would be a great relaxed first date location. Just be sure that your date isn’t repulsed by hotdogs before venturing out to Mustard’s Last Stand, or you just might find yourself in Custer’s shoes.


    Mustard’s Last Stand is a great hotdog vendor next door to Ryan Field. Keep it in mind for next football season. After the game, Mustard’s is a fantastic place to grab a ‘dog or burger with friends to celebrate a victory or drown out a loss with cholesterol. Or take that cutie you’ve been flirting with for the whole game out for chili cheese fries or a scoop of ice cream. This winter, Mustard’s is the best summer cravings fix that’s easily accessible from campus. Mustard’s may not be the most romantic restaurant, but it’s a darn good hotdog stand.


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