Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Recently a Sonic opened near where Side Dish Jody and I live. This is the first nationwide chain that we have reviewed. Normally, I would bypass chains for the local flavor of a hot dog, but we were here eating and I saw a dog on the menu so I thought I would order it. Without the chili and extra flavors that Sonic offers, this was a very bland dog. The dog had zero natural flavor to it, and the bun was far from fresh. In fact, I probably should have rolled it back into the wrapper and put it in the bag it came from. But alas, I choked it down. Now to be fair, Sonic has been known for its toppings on it's hot dogs. I just chose not to get the toppings. If I were to do it again, I would order it the way it is intended. On the other hand, after my experience, it might take an awfully hungry day for me to buy another dog from them. D
Atmosphere- Sonic has tried to recapture Americana but taking the drive-in principle and modernizing it. Having recently been to a drive in place that specialized in hot dogs, it had the same feel but a totally different ambiance. Sometime when things are made to look vintage or authentic, they can come across as tired looking. Sonic had all the flare and the freshness for sure, but it lacks that unique panache that I have grown accustomed to when enjoying a hot dog. C
Price- This was the best part as the hot dog was only a buck. I have yet to find a place that serves hot dogs for anywhere close to this low of a price, but for a little extra price on their part, it could have tasted a lot better. So for the price of a lone dollar bill I give you an A
Side Dish Jody says...I was absolutely thrilled to see them building a new Sonic in Michigan. I was introduced to Sonic when I went to college in KY, and I missed it ever since. On this trip, I ordered the chicken finger dinner basket. Which includes-chicken fingers, tater tots, and a random piece of Texas toast. The chicken fingers and tater tots were crispy, salty and mighty delicious. I also like the ice that they put in their fountain pop. A-
Saturday, December 19, 2009
1) Santa Claus lives in the last frontier called Alaska.
2) Rudolph's nose didn't quite lead Santa's sleigh around the world. He more or less lead the other eight magical Santa-tuggers to a processing plant.
Don't believe me? Click on the title of this post to read more courtesy of seriouseats.com
Monday, December 14, 2009
Usually the term 'coney' refers to a generic restaurant. In this case however, a coney means a delicious dog smothered in cheddar cheese.
Click on the title of this link to read the article courtesy of our friends from seriouseats.com
Thursday, December 10, 2009
When we started this site, there were a handful of national iconic hot dog destinations that instantly jumped to mind as places we had to get to. Superdawg was one of them. Shoehorned into a pie shaped corner of roads that they have outgrown decades ago, the drive in style diner still serves you at your car. Complete with working speakers, car-hops, and the tray that rests on your rolled down window, (ala Fred Flintstone) this place is a genuine throwback! When my Superdawg came out, I opened the box and found this dog piled with jalapenos, a dill pickle spear that reached the length of the bun and a pile of fries . You get a bottle of ketchup on your tray because they refuse to add ketchup to this delicious morsel. The dog itself was perfectly done. Thick, juicy and a great snap as you bite into it. The steamed bun soaked in every bit of goodness from the neon green relish, onions and mustard. And those fries…OH THOSE FRIES. Fresh crinkle cut fries topped off the box and carried the flavor of the hot dog...excuse me, SUPERDAWG along with it. A
Atmosphere- How can you not love a place that has two 12 foot tall hot dogs that rest on the roof? Maurie and Flaurie (the names of the hot dogs and, coincidentally, the owners) have been welcoming generations of hot dog eaters since the 1940’s. The sheer small size of the lot that it sits on, creates quite the interesting dilemma for cars trying to maneuver about the parking lot. You could also walk up to an order window to get your dogs to go or sit at one of the few seats inside. I wish I could have come at night to see the neon lights up and running. But that just means I will have to come again to experience it. B
Value- Not a cheap dog at $4.75 but I guarantee you that you will not be disappointed. The Superdawg that I had came with fries as I mentioned and every bite was well worth it. When thinking of the price, consider the size of the pickle that also adorns the bun, which is almost like a side dish extra in and of itself. Bring cash, because apparently the Visa commercial and slogan, “Visa, it’s everywhere you want to be”, has not reached this corner of Chicago yet. B+
Side Dish Jody says…Side Dish Jody did not come on this road trip with hot dog guy. But judging by the menu, she would have liked the fries (if they didn’t touch a hot dog) and probably would have tried a burger. No Grade
Sunday, December 6, 2009
This high school has revamped an old school bus and turned into a traveling hot dog wagon of sorts. Apparently the "Spirit Bus", as it is known, shows up to football games during the pre-game tailgate, school activities and other sporting events to pass out hot dogs for free.
On this interactive game, the Spirit Bus launches hot dogs at the other school's mascots from the conference.
If a school attacks your bus before you shoot it with a hot dog, the game ends.
Have fun and rack some high scores. Feel free to report your high scores here and leave it in the message box.
Click on the title of this post which takes you to the game.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Located about an hour north of Chicago, IL, this was an experience. I had the chance to eat with Joe, who is the owner of Trolley Dogs. Known for his hat which is about a two foot long hot dog, Joe told me the history of his restaurant after a career as a number cruncher. I had two dogs on the night. The first was a trolley dog, which came with a homemade tamale wrapped inside. To combine the Southwestern flavor with a Midwestern hot dog was a great idea and the flavors meshed well. Secondly came the Tijuana Dog. This was a treat unlike any I have had before. So promptly named by Joe after a dog he had following a night out in Tijuana, this was a dog wrapped in bacon then deep fried. Topping this deep-fried-dog was jalapenos that were more sweet than spicy, mayonnaise, mustard and tomatoes. I was optimistic at best when it came out to me, but after one bite I was in heaven. If he found this thing in Tijuana, that is where I am headed for my next vacation and gobbling these suckers all day. If headed north of Chicago, or within shouting distance of Kenosha, WI you must take the seven mile drive off of highway 94 and hit this place up. A-
Atmosphere- Joe wears a hat that features a two foot hot dog. How can a patron not help but smile when this large man with a thick accent greats you wearing this hat. The galley style restaurant had seating for about forty people with a train that circled about near the ceiling. On the walls featured many Vienna Beef hotdog signs, which is the only kind of dog served here. When an order was brought to out the tables, a simple conversation took place between Joe and the customer, creating many smiles. I don’t know if Joe sang just for me, but whatever the song was that came on the radio, he sang it while he made up my Tijuana dog. If it had not been for the early night fall, I would imagine that through the windows, I could see part of the harbor of where the city sits on the Western banks of Lake Michigan. B
Value- Each and every dog is served on a poppy seed bun. I asked if anyone had requested not to have a poppy seed bun, and if he refused to serve them any dog if they asked that. He smiled and said that he couldn’t yet turn away business. At $4.50 each it was a little more than I am used to paying for a dog, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth the price. This price also included some fries so for a combo platter it is a fair price. After eating the two dogs and fries I was full. So I would say it is a fair price. C+
Side Dish Jody says… Side Dish Jody did not join me on this trip. I did however ask a family of four eating at the table next to mine what they thought of the meal. One person was having a cheese steak, the other a pizza puff, and another chicken fingers. The family raved about the food and said they ate their all the time.
Friday, November 27, 2009
A day to give thanks for all that we have.
It is also a day to have a hot dog with cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, and green bean casserole?
Click on the title of this article to read about an interesting hot dog from our friends at seriouseats.com
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Answer: Whoever has the gun makes the rules.
Apparently this patron of Jim's thought he was at Burger King and wanted things "his way".
Click on the title of this post to read the brief news piece courtesy of ABC news channel 7 out of Chicago, IL.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
A beautiful sunny November day had Side Dish Jody on the road for another hot dog place. Upon first entering the restaurant, a friendly couple greeted us behind the counter. The menu was pre-set with combo meals , but you could also order hot dogs individually. When you order your dog, it comes just in a bun. You can then choose as many of the 20 offered toppings to put on your dog. All the basic toppings are present but the more unusual toppings include: mayonnaise, hot sauce, cucumber, and even crushed potato chips. The pair of dogs that I had slid down very easy. B
Atmosphere- The restaurant was simple enough, but it had its unique traits. I have been several places that had “walls of fame” of sorts, but this place advertised a hot dog eating challenge. If you consumed 21 hot dogs in 20 minutes, you ate for free. I did not participate in this challenge, but maybe one day. Located in a strip mall, it lacked that unique panache other places have, but better simple than overly tacky. C
Value- For $1.75 you start with a hot dog and bun. Then add as many of the twenty included toppings as you want. Chili, cheese, kraut, and jalapenos are included so no need to buy the extra priced things. In fact, I can’t honestly remember what the extra non-included toppings were. So for a dog and 20 toppings on it how can it not be worthy of an A.
Side Dish Jody says… There were the usual non hot dog options such as nachos, or walking tacos. But, I chose to try the chicken fingers and fries combo. The chicken fingers were freshly fried to order and tasted homemade. If I were to go back I would try a shake that they advertise. B+
Friday, November 20, 2009
We opened this website in the middle of August, and to get 1,000 visitors in just over 3 months has us pleased.
For those of you who have not yet joined as followers, we would urge you to do so.
Side Dish Jody and I are very thankful to everyone who checks this site.
For everyone who reads the articles, vote on our polls and enjoy our reviews, we thank you.
Happy Hotdogs and side dishes!
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Unfortunately, we have yet to go international.
However, after reading this delicious review from our friends at seriouseats.com, we may have to get some more international flare on here.
Thanks for another delicious dog review guys!
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
I mean, isn't that what people go to college for? To establish a path that will make them a living?
So here is a THUMBS UP to a University of Cincinnati student who gets the 'A for effort' award.
Click on the title of this post to read the article, courtesy of the University of Cincinnati student newspaper The News Record.
Friday, November 6, 2009
But here is a unique one on the streets of Philadelphia.
Check it out by clicking on the title of this post courtesy of Hawk Krall at seriouseats.com
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Compare this dog to the places that Side Dish Jody and I have been in Texas.
Click on the title of this post to read the review courtesy of Hawk Krall and our friends at seriouseats.com
Friday, October 30, 2009
This is the first place that one of our readers recommended that we go and visit. So on the night before Halloween, Side Dish Jody and I went and dined. I had the hot dog basket that came with two very thick and large jumbo dogs on grilled buns. You could tell from the markings on the bun that these were most likely prepared right next to each other. Not a fancy dressed out dog but very tasty. I would compare it to the way you would make a hot dog at home on your own grill. Not a hot dog place per say, but a place that served hot dogs. B+
Atmosphere- This is definitely a townie B&G. Though it is a bar that happens to serve food, I was impressed with the size. Going on a Friday night before a 'holiday' may not have given us a true slice of who actually frequents the pub, but it had that townie-type feel to it, which is not a bad thing by any means. Side Dish Jody and I noticed almost instantly that there was no music being pumped through the bar, only a juke box over in the corner. Don't like the musical choice of this place? Go drop your quarters in and pick the next song. C
Value- My hot dog basket came with 2 larger that normal hot dogs and a side of fries for $3.99. This is one of the better bargains that I have come across. I consider anything under $2.00 for a hot dog at a restaurant a very fair price. To include fries and a pickle spear in the price makes it a terrific meal for the buck. A
Side Dish Jody says...There was a large selection on the menu - including deep fried pickle spears! (A personal favorite). I didn't choose the fried pickles, but I wish I did. Instead I ordered the 1/2 beef & bean wet burrito. It was a large burrito filled solely with salty beef and beans, covered in a thick burrito sauce with a little bit of cheese and a few strands of lettuce on top. I would have preferred lettuce and cheese on the inside, and maybe a side of salsa or sour cream. Not my favorite burrito to say the least. Although I didn't care too much for my burrito, I think it was just poor menu choice on my part - I probably would have preferred a burger or sandwich at this restaurant. D+
Monday, October 26, 2009
Stadium Dogs features the professional, or college stadiums around the country where I have eaten a hot dog.
I am a sports fan. I am allowed to pay my money and eat a hot dog while watching a game. But what about eating a hot dog while YOU are one of the athletes playing the game I am paying to watch.
Sound fishy or corny?
Click on the title of this article to watch what happens courtesy of youtube
Friday, October 23, 2009
Of course it would be better if I could visit them each myself but this is a start.
Click on the title of this post to view this segment courtesy of Seriouseats.com
Thursday, October 22, 2009
One veteran in California made the most of his 'unique' situation by opening up a renowned hot dog stand.
Click on the title of this post and read the article courtesy of the Chicago Tribune.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Located directly off the Cardozo exit on the Metro-Rail, this was a quick and easy stop for a mighty delicious dog. The specialty at Ben’s is their chili dogs which burst with flavor. The generous portion of chili that was slopped on top had a pleasant zip and zing to it. Under the home-made chili sauce, was your typical diner style cooked-on-the-grill dog. No need to pollute this dog with ketchup or mustard just let the ambiance and natural chili dog flavor slide straight down. B+
Atmosphere- Old school diner style, where the abundance of Ben’s staff was all smiles while maintaining a blend of customers. Hoity-toity D.C types rubbed elbows (literally in the friendly confines) with street campers looking for a quick meal. The wall is covered with celebrity patrons, but on the back wall is an 18x24 of Bill Cosby in what looked like one of his many visits according the different pictures. If it’s a regular stop for The Cos, it’s good enough for me both this time and next. A-
Value- Though a little on the high end at $3.60 a piece for their chili dog, it was worth the money. Included with my dogs (I had two) was a handful of potato chips. Though not an overall bargain, I would gladly slide my cash across the counter again. C+Side dish Jody says… Many options for the non-dog eater. An extra thick chocolate milk shake, which was extra delicious washed down the pile of sloppy cheese fries which was more than I could eat for lunch. The thick cut fries with cheese sauce came with the same chili as what was on the dogs. B+
Thursday, October 8, 2009
However, I have never been so hungry for a hot dog that I would go to extreme measures to feed my famished stomach.
Someone did though. Read on as to just how hungry he was by clicking the title of this post.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Click on the title of this post to take you to the news article courtesy of the The New York Daily News
Friday, September 25, 2009
Let us know with a "thumbs up" or a "thumbs down" if you have eaten a hot dog where we have. Let your thumb indicate whether you liked or disliked the hot dog. Feel free to jot down a few thoughts as well and leave that information in the comment section. If you ate something that we didn't, let other readers know.
If you have been some place that we have not, we want to know that too. The more hot dog places that we have on here, the better the site becomes!
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Happy birthday to Hot Dog Guy! On the yearly anniversary of my emergence into the world, Side Dish Jody and I ventured out to find a new place to review. We came across Gregor Dogs and decided to put it to the test. Walking up to the counter each dog was named and priced out above your head on a chalkboard. I like vintage stuff, so this sat well with me as opposed to a whiteboard menu. Other than hot dogs, there was not much on the menu so the variety was going to be scarce. Rule of thumb when I order is to get the dog that the place is 'famous' for, plus any other dogs that tickle my fancy for the day. Well only one Gregor dog was tickling my fancy, and it was a rather bland dog experience. The casing didn't snap, the dog wasn't flavorful, and the bun was generic. Even with the Gregor Dogs toppings I put on, I wasn't all that pleased. C-
Atmosphere- This may be the most skewed review of any I have had so far for one main reason- it was on the outer edge of a college campus, but on this Saturday afternoon school was not yet in session for the fall. Patrons were scarce, and the vibe of a college-type hangout was not evident. There was no music going on in the background, just the eerie squeak of the screen door opening when another customer came in. It is a small place with maybe seats enough for 15 people to eat. Several places I have been to have a wall of fame of sorts where if a person eats X dogs, he or she gets their name on a plaque. Well Gregor Dogs had a futility list of those who tried the challenge but failed. That lone fact was a pretty cool thing for atmosphere. C+
Value- The Gregor dog alone was $2.25 out the door. Tax was included which I always like. It was a hot dog for $2.25- I wish I could say other factors could help bring the grade up, but there was not much present. D
Side Dish Jody says...There were absolutely no non-hot dog options. So, I went somewhere else for lunch. F
Friday, August 7, 2009
How does that line from Romeo & Juliet go? A rose by any other name is just as sweet? Well Angry Dog decided to put the name of their restaurant on it’s award winning hot dog and it didn’t have the 'angriness' I was hoping for. Though it is served on a plate topped with mustard, chili, cheese, and grilled onions it was neither angry coming in, or going out… if you know what I mean. It is recommended that you eat this dog with a fork and knife, and in that I agree. It was a tasty kosher dog that is for sure. If you do decide to eat this dog without a fork and knife, bring a bucket and bib to catch the leftovers. For the multiple awards that this Angry Dog won, I say kudos to the voting panel. You have my vote as well. B+
Atmosphere- Located in an area that is trying to be refurbished, it has a great backdrop. Once you step into what looks like a ‘hole in the wall’ door, you are greeted to wall to wall patrons, shoe horned into tables beneath a very high (maybe 18 feet) ceiling. If the fire marshal comes to eat here he must be bribed with angry dogs because there is NO WAY this place was below its posted capacity. Everyone seemed happy, and judging by the busy bussers, they were happy. One more thing, even if you don’t have time to eat at Angry Dog, you have to use the Men’s restroom. I can’t tell you why, just walk in and you will instantly know why I sent you in. B
Value- Though fries came with the angry dog, and though it had some mighty tasty chili and awesome grilled onions, $5.95 seemed reasonable. But it’s still a hot dog buried under all that wonderful goo. Would I pay the $5.95 again? Absolutely. Was it worth every penny? It was indeed. But I just can’t get over the fact that it’s still a $5.95 hot dog. Oh I’m sorry, a $5.95 angry dog. C-
Side Dish Jody says...Wide selection on lunch menu, but I got a good ole' American Cheese Burger. The burger was pretty standard as were the fries, but I enjoyed seasoning them with the provided chili seasoning. Womens restroom had greasy floors and smelled strangely of vomit. C
Nestled along a long row of factories and manly men workplaces, this is definitely a blue collar hot dog place, as hot dog places should be. I ate at a randomly odd time of about 3 in the afternoon so I couldn’t get a good demographic on the clientele. One could assume though that many workers from the nearby industrial places ate here frequently. I had a pair of dogs- one was a regular hot dog and the other was a Chicago dog. The dogs were Vienna Beef which is a great brand to start with. Even with after starting with this kind of dog, it kind of went downhill after that. You get to name your own toppings out of the twelve they offer which is a cool gimmick, and more toppings were offered than I normally see. Just because you COULD do something in life, doesn’t mean you SHOULD…which includes Chicago dogs. Three things make a good, true Chicago dog- poppy seed bun, toxic colored relish, and celery salt. 0 for 3 at this place on those items. C-
Atmosphere- Don’t be fooled by the name of The Hot Dog Shop as this is definitely a bar that serves food. But this place rocked as to an atmosphere! When you first walk in, you are at the counter to order and you see the grill and all the employees behind it working on your dog. As you wander back into the establishment, you see a full bar complete with darts, pool, dance floor and the latest version of Golden Tee. But the two true high spots would have to be the room that was built in or added on JUST for bar shuffleboard or the ongoing darts league that is sponsored there. Truly unique and totally fits the location and a classic hotdog. A-
Value- At $2.79 for my hot dog and $3.09 for my Chicago dog I was disappointed in the bang-for-your-buck aspect. Though compared to the rest of the menu, the dogs themselves were the cheapest items to eat. If you can’t find a hot dog near the bottom of the price menu, something is wrong. They hit this dead on in proportion to the other food items. B-
Side Dish Jody Says…I ordered the fried chicken finger sandwich but decided to turn it into a buffalo sandwich using the giant pump operated red hot tabasco sauce dispenser. Lots of self serve condiments including lemon slices for your water, but the opportunity of cross contamination of germs was there. C
Myrtle Beach, SC
If you have ever been to Myrtle Beach, or even if you have never been to Myrtle Beach, you can visualize a touristy spring break beach-type town where people cruise the strip and patrons venture in and out of all the local trinket stores. On the main corner of this downtown strip sits Peaches with its marquis advertising ‘World Famous Footlong Chili Dogs’. Now, I am a sucker for the slogan ‘world famous’ so of course I checked it out. This footlong was cooked before my eyes on a grill top as the smell permeated through the smell of beach sand and salt water. I must say it was a good dog but the overload amount of relish really took away from the dog. It wasn’t quite a sweet relish, but a little more tang than the typical dill. If I am talking more about the relish than the chili on top, its not a good thing. B-
Atmosphere- Very few vacation destinations have a hot dog stand on the main corner of 'the strip'. Full frontal sliding glass doors allow you to eat in the air conditioning or have the doors open to catch the ocean breeze while you people watch. Inside at the counter could sit maybe 15 and the limited booths could hold another 20 or so. But this was more designed to get the dog and walk, than dine in. But with the strip in the background and the vintage feel of the building, I would recommend sitting down to eat. The shops aren’t going anywhere and the cruisers will be back in three minutes. B+
Value- Outside of the carnivals or the occasional vendor special, you don’t find footlongs that often. So the rarity of a footlong for $3.60 I considered quite the bargain. Plus, any topping you wanted on it was included. No extra charge for chili, cheese or other toppings. A loaded footlong was the same as a plain footlong. Reach in your wallet and gladly slide the money over. A
Side Dish Jody says…Jody was at home in the snow, while I was out on the beach eating dogs. They did have mighty tasting looking hamburgers and onion rings though.
Johnson City, TN
This particular Pal’s is located directly across the street from the East Tennessee State University campus. However, I did see another Pal's just outside of town. So I am not sure if this is a chain, or just a particular college town joint with a few locations. Here, a dog is a dog. You order a dog and it automatically comes with chili, which is a good start, but it just lacks something. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. All I could say is that it’s missing ‘something’. I imagine hundreds of college students and townies pound these all day long, but it wasn’t that memorable…other than the 15 foot hot dog on the roof. C-
Atmosphere- A drive through hot dog stand is a pretty rare commodity, so they get bonus points for that. To be on or near a college campus and survive for many years is a nostalgic bonus too, but I got the feeling that when alma mater come back to ETSU the first stop isn’t Pal’s. There is no internal dining, just a kitchen and drive through windows. Have I mentioned yet the giant hot dog suspended on the roof? C
Value- For what I would consider a ‘fast food dog’, it was a very good bargain at $1.49 each. They for sure mass produce dogs all day long and the attention to detail was not evident. For the most part though at a buck and a half you can only have so many thrills and frills. After all a hot dog wasn’t invented to be frilly. A-
Side Dish Jody says…Side Dish Jody was at home while I was visiting Pal’s, but you can see the entire menu when you look at the picture and Side Dish Jody wouldn’t have been impressed.
The name derived from the original building which overlooked the river and dam in town... clever bonus points. The owner has since moved the restaurant a few buildings away, negating the clever bonus points. Each of the dogs offered were a combination of mustard, ketchup, relish, onions, chili and cheese for the most part. There are a few specialty items here and there but more or less the same dog just with different names. My two 'Rockford Dogs' came with so much relish on top that after eating the dogs, I had a bakery paper soiled with a concoction I dubbed “hot dog salad”. Too many toppings take away from the taste of the dog, which was at least all beef. C-
Atmosphere- Hanging on the walls overlooking the twenty or so available seats were ceramic and metal reprinted signs. The bead board ceiling reminded me of a breezeway and Northern cottage feel, but the décor of the interiors did not blend or mesh. Authentic and vintage signs would go great, but not the motif I would have gone for when the ceiling and shape are more rustic looking. This would be a great place to hit for a quick lunch, or pick up a bunch of dogs to hit the road, but it pales in atmosphere to the other place in town. D+
Value- Maybe I have been spoiled by getting bargains for my hot dogs on my journeys, or perhaps the la-ti-da feel of Rockford rubbed off on the price of the hot dogs here. I paid $3.00 each for my Rockford Dogs, and perhaps some of the hot dog salad was included in that price as a option for dessert. Perhaps one of the coolest things I have ever seen as a form of payment was here. You can pay in cash, credit or even I.O.U’s. Yes I.O.U. According to a newspaper clipping that hangs on the wall, they have never been stiffed. A very low grade was raised solely because of the I.O.U to a respectable B-
Side Dish Jody says… I didn’t actually eat anything at this restaurant but chose to go along for the ride. If I were to have eaten there my non-dog options would be a “walking taco” consisting of Fritos, chili, jalapenos, cheese and onions or nachos either plain or deluxe. None of these options seemed to be anything special, just left over hotdog condiments. D
Comstock Park, MI
After weeks and months of passing a marquis that reads ‘The best chili dogs in town’, (strike one) it was finally time to dine and put this dog to the road test. Upon entering, the electronic menu digitally advertised World Famous dogs (strike two). The phrases ‘best’ and ‘world famous’ are lofty phrases that should not be lightly tossed around. Boiled dogs on plain buns with no secret recipe makes these dogs special? Well I guess that every college dining commons and elementary school cafeteria serve thousands of ‘best’ and ‘world famous’ each week then. C
Atmosphere- This cafeteria style restaurant was adorned with hundreds of old license plates, authentic road signs, gas pumps and gas globes all done very tastefully to combine with many modern amenities. Some of the booths were equipped with their own private TV screens and others with sound dials to watch the main TV. Being caught up in the simple atmosphere made you forget that this restaurant was located off of one of the busiest most congested roads in Northern Kent County. Take home a collector’s t-shirt for only $5 too. And no tipping either, just leave your tray. B
Value- Shocking, simply shocking. Upon ordering my platter entitled ‘3 dog special’, I wondered how this place was making a high enough profit margin. Their loss was my gain as the platter of 3 chili dogs came to $4.95. Just like in the infomercials though, but wait there is more. This platter also came with a 16 ounce beverage, plus they had Dr. Pepper on the fountain. 3 dogs, and a soda for $4.95. It doesn’t get much better than that. A
Side Dish Jody says…I had the dry regular burrito which was a gigantic flour tortilla filled with at least half a pound of spicy ground beef, generous portions of beans, lettuce, tomato, onions and cheese. Although this was a tasty burrito, there was nothing spectacular or notable about it. It was a great value however. For $3.99 I had more than enough for two meals. B-
Grand Rapids, MI
Whoever decided to open a hot dog restaurant in the center and heart of downtown Grand Rapids hit the target with a perfect bulls-eye. The entire menu consists of six dogs, your soups of the day and any ‘specials’. That’s it. A simple menu for what was made to be a simple food…a hot dog. I partook in two dogs, both the Big Dog and the Chicago Dog. Though the toppings were bountiful and the dogs were boiled perfectly, the dog itself was lost amongst the coverings. Just putting tomatoes and celery salt as the last two toppings on a dog does not make it a Chicago dog, nor does it make it an acceptable imitation. This ‘Chicago dog’ would go over in the windy city about as well as the Cubs moving to Las Vegas. C-
Value- Before walking into The Dog Pit, I had to do a double take at the sign which read ‘All dogs $2.00.’ No matter the toppings, or selection it is just one price. Two bucks each…unless you eat twelve or more (read the sign inside) or dine on a Monday (3 dogs for $5). If you are going to pay one price, you might as well get as much bang for your buck as you can. Two bucks = two thumbs up for a price. A-
Atmosphere- Conveniently located within walking distance of many of the downtown office buildings the Dog Pit is an easy in- easy out stop for a dog. Ample seating is inside and the industrial looking décor of the building is offset by the hard wood floor which I am assuming is original to the turn of the 20th century. Sit yourself at a high top table, pull up a bar stool to the counter, or sit at a booth and view outside. While you are dining, reach into the ice bath of beverages and pull yourself out a Stewart’s Root Beer or other beverage to wash down your meal. B-
Side Dish Jody says…Although they offer a soup of the day, I chose to try the interesting Dog Pit Nachos. With the choice of Doritos, Fritos, or Tortilla chips as your bed it is then topped with chili, cheese, tomatoes, onion and jalapenos. The serving was very generous with the amount of cheese and the taste was good, but the temperature of the chili was just warm and I would have preferred it to be piping hot. C
Beachwood, OH (outside of Cleveland)
First off, Yours Truly is not known for their hot dogs, they are known for notso fries which I will explain later. This was a destination raved about for years from Side Dish Jody, so I was pleased that when we went to dine that there was a dog on the menu. Upon ordering my hot dog with the works, I was surprised that it came with a fork and knife. Yes it truly was that sloppy, and the only way you were going to keep clean from this dog was by using the fork and knife provided. An abundance of chili, cheese and other fixins’ streamed over the sides of the bun and pooled onto the plate. Adding to the local flavor was Bertman Ballpark Mustard. Apparently this has been the mustard that Cleveland has used at it’s sporting venue’s for baseball and football dating back to the 1940’s. Local is great and makes an average dog seem more hometown-ish. C+
Atmosphere- When I stepped into this quaint Victorian looking parlor with a capacity seating of about 25 people. I was shocked that though it looked like everyone was on top of each other like a New York City subway, you had as much room as you wanted for space like a Florida Marlins home game. Your choices for dining included cozying up to the counter top ala vintage soda fountain days, or sitting in a small booth opposite the grill. No real frills or theme inside, but not much room for it either. C-
Value- At first upon gazing at the $6.95 price tag, I was aghast, even for a ¼ pound all beef dog. But upon its delivery to me, the 350 pound gentleman sitting next to me asked what 'it' was. When I told him it was a hotdog his eyes bugged and proclaimed, "Holy Cow that’s a hot dog?!"... my sentiments exactly. A fair price for the umpteen thousand calories I was about to cram in. B-
Side Dish Jody says...Although this was not the same Yours Truly as the town that I grew up in, it had the same menu which includes all day breakfast and a variety of burgers and sandwiches. But the real reason you should come to Yours Truly is for the notso fires. A large plate heaping with coin shaped cottage fries smothered in a variety of cheeses, handfuls of bacon and a generous dollop of sour cream. This appetizer was just as good as I remembered from growing up in my youth. A
Grand Rapids, MI
Having a theme or play on words in your restaurant name is almost a given if you specialize in hot dogs. But to use a throwback word like ‘red hot’ made me smile and reminisce to those who delighted in red hot’s decades before me. Sticking with the reminiscent throwback theme, this a-la-carte restaurant allows you to add a portion of this or that. But how can you fill up with so many other dishes when there are hot dogs readily available? Is a-la-carte dining not your thing? Use the drive up window to take your order wherever you are going. The trio of ‘picnic dogs’ that I had were true red hot’s. Living up true to its name, they were red in color and hot in(n) the bun. B-
Atmosphere- I was on a mission to get food in my belly so the only view’s of the inside was from the drive-thru window. Here is what I saw: Lots of booths filled with people in them, and two signs out front reading ‘Free Wifi’ and ‘Smoke Free’. No smoking and you can surf the net while packing down a dog or more. Topping it off, it sits on one of the busiest corners in North East Grand Rapids so the traffic can back up in the parking lot, just to get a red hot. C-
Value- Your options include four different kinds of dogs. But whether you want a red hot with the bare basics or one loaded with chili and cheese you pay the same price. Any dog you want with any kind of fixings for the price of $1.89 each. A commitment to red hot’s at a roll-back price. That is truly a value. A-
Side Dish Jody says…Nothing. Side dish Jody did not put Red Hot Inn to the road test.
A hot dog is a simple food that people have tried to perfect over the years. The Corner Bar has tried to perfect it with their ‘World Famous Chili Dog’. When a restaurant advertises anything as ‘world famous’, a connoisseur can’t help but try the sample out to put the product to a test. Test results are back and I am not sold. Though it is true professional hot dog eaters have visited this establishment and it seems to be a local icon, the chili paste that is topped on each dog has a very dry taste and texture. Chili was made to be robust and potent. I will not claim to know much about chili, but to me chili is chili. If you want a meat paste, go hit up a dry taco shack. C-
Atmosphere- Out of all the places you have ever eaten a hot dog, how many places give you the option to dine in, or take it with you? Well, to take it with you is truly defined at this place where outside there is a window solely for those who choose to walk away with their hot dog without ever stepping inside The Corner Bar confines. However, by venturing inside to eat, you see the tag line ‘Home of the hot dog Hall of Fame’. All over the walls are the thousands of people who have eaten more than a dozen dogs in a sitting to have their name’s etched amongst the immortals. Any place who can boast of literally thousands of people eating dogs, that is a great atmosphere to relish in…pun intended. A
Value- One is given the option of hot dogs or all beef dogs, which is a good start. Regular dogs start at $1.59 and add just .30 for the all beef version. No fancy toppings or plentiful chili portions here, but $2 for an all beef chili dog is a steal. A-
Side Dish Jody says…You cannot go to The Corner Bar without eating one of my all time favorites, deep fried dills. These thick cut dill pickles are beer battered and deep fried with a side of ranch dressing. I have tried many of the entrees to go along with the pickles, but what always brings it home, is time and again the deep fried dills. B+
East Grand Rapids, MI
I have never been to Mecca, but I imagine it is someplace like this shrine in East town. A place where have’s and have-not’s flock to order an iconic yesterdog. This place is so popular that it even made the silver screen as ‘Dog Years’ in the American Pie movies. When looking at the menu your food options ONLY include hot dogs, chips and soft drinks (unless you visit in the winter). By ordering a yester, kraut, ultra, cheddar or veggie you are speaking the language of locals. The dogs are boiled, so they are thin, but the flavor that is packed into them by way of the condiments make my glands salivate even thinking about it. Steaming their buns makes for a softer wrap, while the relish is unique in texture and shape and as far as I know found only in West Michigan. A
Atmosphere- Like stepping into a mix between a general store, antique shop and museum, this is a one of a kind place. One wall consists of photos all over the world with people and celebrities adorning their Yesterdog t-shirts. While none of the furniture or décor has been purchased since JFK was in office. Aim for the tip target behind the counter too, the staff loves seeing coins fly over their heads, I kid not. B+
Value- I had three yesters and at $1.70 a piece which works out to about .35 cents per bite (excluding licking the plentiful portions of extra toppings sloshed over on the bakery paper). The specialty dogs go up a bit from there but there is nothing wrong with paying under two bucks, which includes tax, for a hotdog from a restaurant. A-
Side Dish Jody says…If you go to Yesterdog in the winter time, I highly recommend the delicious chicken noodle soup. It is made with large chunks of fresh vegetables, and wide egg noodles. If you happen to visit in the non-winter season, you are out of luck and should visit the Pita House across the street. B+/F (soup/no soup).
Coral Bay, St John. USVI
When you picture a burger place in the islands, this would be your stereotype. Complete with a horseshoe pit and darts in the back , Skinny Legs overlooks a bay of water where locals come to get their meal. Everyone at the bar seemed to know each other, and the wait staff was great when they served me a mighty tasty cheese-dog. This ¼ pound all beef dog came with a melted slice of cheese over the top of it. The interesting thing about this dog was that it was sliced partially into quarters between the bun. No frills about this cheese-dog, as it was served with a side of potato chips. If you are looking for fries to go with your meals, you are in the wrong place. Meals come without fries here. It sure did hit the spot after a ‘rough’ day at the beach though. B
Atmosphere- As the wind from the bay gently blew through this entirely open aired restaurant, I sat at a picnic table and chowed down. The most interesting thing about the night I ate the hot dog was that it was movie night. Apparently on Monday nights, every TV in the restaurant broadcasts a movie for patrons and locals to watch. It was a great way to kill a few hours in the evening for the cost of dining in the elements. B+
Value- Everything on St. John costs more than it would back on the mainland, so I had to take that into consideration. $5.00 is a great deal for a hotdog at a ballpark, but not from a restaurant where the waitress wore flip flops and a halter top. All things considered with prices on the island, it was a fare price. C
Side Dish Jody says…A very good burger to eat. Make sure you ask what the burger of the day is, as it changes each day to whatever the cook wants to make. If you feel like having water, use the self serve large orange coolers. B
Coral Bay, St.John. USVI
You have heard the saying…'When in Rome, do as the Romans’. Well while in vacationing on St. John we were told about the legendary Vie’s Snack Shack. An icon amongst the USVI, Vie herself works as she would say ‘when I am here we are open, when I am not we are closed’. I watched Vie literally take a dog, made out of who knows what, out of a package and put it in her toaster oven to cook. She then pulled a bun out of the freezer and thawed it for me. I was NOT impressed one bit by the hot dog at Vie’s Snack Shack. Just because you serve a hot dog does NOT make you a hot dog place. D+
Atmosphere- Vie, the sole proprietor, has made her tiny 6x6x8 shack into a legend amongst island travelers. The only places to eat your meal on site are in chairs around card tables outside, but it is literally across the street from a stretch of beach that Vie apparently owns. It’s hard to beat taking a hot dog to the beach while vacationing in the tropics. B
Value- After seeing outrageous prices all over the island from $5 for half a gallon of milk, to over $6 for a box of cereal, the $2.50 Vie was charging for an American hot dog seemed quite the bargain. Once I got passed the fact that what I was eating wouldn’t even meet my minimum standard at home, I finished off the dog and went on my way unimpressed. B+ (relatively speaking)
Side Dish Jody Says…Although the garlic chicken sounded very tempting, she was all out of it when I ordered. I was however terrified of the wild chickens running around while I watched everyone else eat. D
I went to Pat’s in search of a true Philly’s cheese steak. Actually, we went to Passyunk Corner and looked at both the menus of Pat’s & Geno’s to decide where we would dine. Pat’s won my business because they offered hot dogs as well. Going someplace in search of a hot dog is much different than going to a hot dog place. To my knowledge, not known for their dogs, it was a pleasant surprise. I put a little too much relish on the dog which took away from the grilled flavor but all the taste was packed inside. When at the Passyunk Corner, go to Pat’s and grab a dog. B
Atmosphere- How can you not like a TRUE American-Iconic landmark. The only one in the World, Pat’s has strict rules of how to order and what to say. Don’t worry there is a sign for all first timers. Just remember it’s “WIT”…you will get the idea when you order. Seating is plenty and has outdoor tables only. And one final thing…beware of the hungry pigeons. B-
Value- This one truly made my eyes bug-out. Street vendors, county fairs and concession stands BEWARE of the low prices on this dog. At $1.60 for an all beef dog, it is hard to top this price. A
Side Dish Jody Says…with much anticipation about what my parents have told me about cheese steak, I was somewhat disappointed by the blandness of this steak. It was a great chewy roll with thick slices of provolone cheese, but I can still feel all the grease in my gut. C-