In a word: Let's be frank, this is the wurst cart.
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JM ate the Milwaukee dog, the chili dog, and a lemonade.
Nichole ate the Italian beef, hot and wet.
The bill was $14, or $7/person, plus tip.
JM gave FIB's a B+; Nichole gave FIB's an A- (see our grading rubric).
FIB's is a cart worth a trip. It serves a food perfectly suited to the street food milieu, namely eminently portable hot Italian beef, Italian sausage, brats and hot dogs. It's attractive and clean, kitschy but not over the top. Sinatra tunes (the universal shorthand for Big City) wafted from the screened order window and a flyer featuring Mayor Soglin trivia was on hand.
There are only a handful of items on the menu, but it still took us longer to decide what to order than it took them to prep our stuff. We could have taken the scenic-kraut and walked around with our styro trays, but instead sat on a bench outside the Starbucks on the Square and dog in.
The beef was on an excellent roll, with a great ratio of bread to tender meat. The giardiniera and jus mingled in a lip-tingling way that suggested the jus itself had some spice to it.
Both of JM's hot dogs were served on steamed poppyseed buns. The chili dog was one of the tidier, more pleasant ones he's had. A couple tablespoons of meaty chili was rich with a broad, not piquant, heat, and soft, inoffensive beans, which for JM is sayin' somethin'. Diced onion (on the bland side) and a Pick-Up-Sticks-evoking pinch of shredded orange cheese topped it off.
The Milwaukee dog was dressed with average kraut and yellow mustard. If the mustard had been a good brown or even beer variety, JM would have no reservations about giving FIB's an A-. French's Yellow is fine but seems careless on a dog named after the beer capital of the world, like putting bell peppers on an Italian beef. We don't know of a FIB that would stand for that.
In other words (with apologies to John Sams) we could even say that we never sausage a thing.