Thursday, December 23, 2010

Hot Dog of the Week : Joey's Hot Dogs

What keeps you going back to your favorite hot dog place?

Is it the variety of hot dogs? Is it the way they make your favorite hot dog? Is it the fact you have been going there for years and years?

Well at Joey's hot dogs, they want to know who you are so when you walk in they can call you by name and make your hot dog the way you like it.

A family owned restaurant since the 1930's they still use the original recipe today that made them famous over 70 years ago. In fact they still use the same ingredient suppliers as when they first opened.

So come on in, sit at the soda counter and enjoy the simple menu. See why Joey's is a staple in Richmond, VA. Who knows, perhaps they will say 'hello ___' to you as well.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Southern California Hot Dog Guide

Though we have not yet been able to venture West of the Mississippi River to review hot dog places, someone took the liberty to review San Diego, California hot dogs for us.

Check out this article courtesy of SanDiego.com by clicking HERE.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Hot Dog of the Week: Weiner and Still Champion

Part of getting people into your local eatery is having a catchy name.

In a hot dog crazed city like Chicago where an iconic dog is named after your city and Vienna Beef is based out of the town, the competition can be stiff on where to eat.

Just Northwest of the happening downtown in Evanston is Weiner and Still Champion.

One of the things that set this place apart is they make everything themselves. That's right, they make it before your eyes. From the batter they cover their Dippin' Dogs in or the homemade chili or the fresh ground burgers.

They also serve deep fried pickle chips. If this side dish is anything like deep fried pickles, then we would love to have a serving.

Check 'em out yourself.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hot Diggity Dog

Lancaster, PA

When thinking of South Central Pennsylvania what jumps to mind? The drive through the Alleghany Mountains perhaps, or the historic battlefield of Gettysburg? How about Amish country where life seems to be a little more simple? Well in the same town of Lancaster, but on the opposite end of where there is a large Amish population is Hot Diggity Dog. Just about 20 months old as of Thanksgiving 2010, the owner had always wanted to open a hot dog place, and after 20 years of selling bottled water from a glacier, he decided to open his own place. Starting with one of the best dogs on the market, he is the only hot dog place between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia to serve Vienna Beef hot dogs. I told him that it was the snap of the Vienna casing that makes a good hot dog. He simply smiled and said he used the non encased version of a Vienna, but it was the way he grilled it that made it have more of a snap to it. Each of the dogs comes served on a steamed poppy seed roll unless you ask for a plain bun. They served a Chicago dog, which I almost always get, but there was a dog that just jumped out as different. In fact this dog is so different that you furrow your brow and squint your eyes while curling your lip just to figure out if you can palate each of the opposing tastes. Just two toppings go on this unique dog, and it has a name that about sums it up. May I present to you, the Moon Dog. The Moon Dog has melted swiss cheese, and strawberry preserves. I bit into it and smiled, it truly was good. As I asked how he came up with this dog, the owner smiled and said, he stole it from a guy in California. Just as advertised you “HAVE TO TRY” it. B

Atmosphere - Located on a pie shaped piece of property at the junction of two roads, The bright sign will bring you in and the eating challenges they have will keep you coming back. The first gulttony contest they ran, became to easy as it was just eating six dogs. But in the new contest, The Super Diggity, there has yet to be someone who can conquer the four footlong challenge where dog each weighs in at nearly half a pound, and is adorned with every topping under the sun. Having Chicago roots, this place mirrors a smaller place that you would find in the Windy City. In fact on one of the walls there is a map of Chicago-land and the hundreds of pushpins impressed on the map reflect the transplant patrons of the area. If the place was packed wall to wall it could fit 50 customers, and if the word continues to get out on this new place, the lines might be out the door. B+

Value – Offering patrons Footlong dogs starting under $4.00 and ten different hot dog options under $3.00, they also offer 3” hot dogs they call 'pups' for under a buck. Considering that the local gas station chain offers a daily hot dog special, these dogs are a bit more expensive than other dogs in the town. But anyone who is on this site knows that NO kind of quality comes from a gas station hot dog. Simply find Hot Diggity Dog and pay for quality instead of quantity. Heck, if you want quantity you can order packs of dogs as well. B

Side Dish Jody says.. I didn't eat anything at this hot dog joint as I was already full to the brim from Thanksgiving goodness. Upon review of the menu it appeared they had pretty limited non-hot dog options, including hamburger, fries or chili cheese fries. They did have one unusual option, however, called Funnel Cake Sticks. Probably just some kind of tasty fried dough - not healthy, but tastey sounding! C

Friday, November 19, 2010

Hot Dog of the Week: Jim's Original

When looking for a hot dog to eat usually you want it quick, and you want it now.

"Now" can be a vague term. You have to drive or walk to get it, but when the urge comes on you want to chow down. Even if that urge is at 3:00 a.m.

3:00 a.m? Yes at Jim's Orginal you can have a hot dog 24 hours a day.

In Chi-town, which is known for its Chicago dogs, Jim's Original has been in business for over 70 years, and offers free fries with each dog or sandwich.

Order up your Viena Beef hot dog, which in itself is a Chicago native and chow down at Jim's. Even if it is at 3:00 a.m.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Hot Dog of the Week: Hot Dog Diner

What is the least you have ever paid for a hot dog from a vendor or restaurant? Over time as we have made this blog, we are quite thrilled when we can find a hot dog option for under $2.

The Hot Dog Diner in Parma, OH might have the lowest prices I have seen in ten years. $1.25 will buy you the Classic Hot Dog. Want a hot dog in natural casing? You are still going to pay well under two bucks.

These prices cannot be beat anywhere!

So if traveling to the greater Cleveland area and you have less than five bucks in your pocket, swing on through the Hot Dog Diner and get stuffed...plus have enough left over money for the tollsways.

Monday, November 8, 2010

UK Prime Minister Enjoys American Hot Dog

Britain's Prime Minister, David Cameron, was treated to an American icon upon his arrival in New York.

The Prime Minister ate a hot dog from a street vendor in the Big Apple as his first taste of what America is like.

Click HERE to read to full article courtesy of England's Telegraph

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Hot Dog of the Week: The Wienery

When Side Dish Jody and I look for hot dog joints around the country when we travel, we like options. Or should I say Jody likes options, I like the hot dogs.

Well the next time we are in Minneapolis The Wienery might be the place to go.

Serving Vienna hot dogs for each of the dog options, they also serve cheese steak, sausage, sandwiches and breakfast all day.

The Wienery was also featured on the Food Network hit show Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

West Side Market


Cleveland, OH

I learned two very important things on this road trip to Cleveland. 1) Always make sure you have the address of where you intend. 2) Make sure I communicate better to Side Dish Jody on where we are planning to go.

Getting “lost” is not always a bad thing though, as we were looking for a specific hot dog restaurant and instead came to this market. Strolling through West Side Market there were dozens of vendors that turned back the clock to what butcher shops were like only a few decades ago. For sale at the booths were homemade sausage, brats, and hot dogs made with the traditional beef or pork. What was non-traditional were the same products made out of lamb, turkey, reindeer, goat, and ox. Each booth had its own flare or overall theme to it. There was a Middle-Eastern booth, Indian cuisine (probably not beef at this booth) European meats, and local favorites as well.

Each counter had patrons plied up 2 or 3 deep with droves of traffic shuffling through the crowd on their way to the next booth.

Atmosphere- I wish I could have found a plaque, or monument that dictated how old this building was or what it might have been at one point. It was made out of brick and subway tile, and looked like it could have been a train depot, or a bus station at one point. Side Dish Jody pointed out that it could have just been a really old market and it was built for what it currently holds. Though we went looking for a hot dog to eat and review on the day, we walked away with the knowledge of a hot spot to get your own dogs or encased products at instead.

Value- Everything seemed very reasonable, and comparable to what you would find at your local grocer. If you come in search of this place, bring a large cooler and fill it with the fresh product that you will find inside.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Our New Layout

When this blog was started in the late summer of 2009 it was a very generic looking format.

We have decided to spice it up a bit and change things around.

This blog is by us, but for our readers, so please tell us what you think of the new format.

Another Stolen Hot Dog Cart

One of the things I enjoy in life (besides hot dogs) is going to flea markets and garage sales looking for that special piece of junk that I cannot live without.

I have seen just about everything sold at flea markets. I have seen a turn of the 1900's prosthetic leg, I have seen a booth full of used and new ink pens. I have seen every beer sign, road sign, political sign that has ever graced a garage, or street corner.

One thing I have not seen though is a hot dog vendor cart for sale.

Perhaps I should look for one so I can return it to this New Jersey man who had his stolen.

Click HERE to read the article of the vanishing hot dog cart courtesy of lohud.com

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hot Dog of the Week: Chili Man Weiners

Few demographic groups devour more hot dogs than college students. Whether it is because they can buy so many for pennies on the dollar, or because they can be easily made.

Well Chili Man Weiners near the campus of Towson University in Baltimore, MD encourages you to come in for a Hangover Dog, or grab a famous orange box full of Double Dog Burritos to go after calling in your order.

Monday's feature free chili on any of their dogs. Seasonal menu items are no stranger to restaurants and Chili Man offers apple pie milkshakes. Seriously, how good does that sound?

Hot dogs not your thing? Well then why are you here on our blog!!! Grab some chicken and waffles or a bowl of homemade chili instead.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Angry Hot Dog Vendor Revolts

We have all bought hot dogs from the person peddling them on the corner.

Whether it was a nice summer day, and the waft fumes caught your nostrils or it was simply something to eat after the concert let out at midnight.

Hopefully your experience was better than what the customer at this street vendor received.

Click here to read the story courtesy of Capitol Hill Seatle.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Hot Dog of the Week: Mad Dogs


Chicago dogs are a commodity in and of itself. The taste and urge for Chicago dogs are something that I get on occasion, and a true Chicago dog is often better than a hot dog with other toppings.

Well Mad Dogs is in the college town of UW Madison has been noted as the top Chicago Dog by a very notable Chicago Dog website...and they are not even within 150 miles of Chicago.

Each dog opption comes with a Hebrew National dog, unless a Vienna dog is requested in it's place.

Enjoy the vast menu and participate in the clown army. Oh and by the way, they have bigger wieners...or so they say.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Dog Track

Hastings, MI

Eaters, start your engines. Get ready for The Dog Track. A hot dog restaurant that takes the owner's passion for NASCAR and combines it with the love for feeding people hot dogs. Each of the dogs is named after a famed Speedway in North America. On the day we visited, I had a Richmond dog and a Charlotte dog. The Richmond had the typical "fab four" toppings on a hot dog- ketchup, mustard, relish and onions. The relish was West Michigan style for those who read us often (more of a shredded pickle topping that seems to be unique to the area). The Charlotte had the fab four toppings plus shredded cheese on top of that. Nothing too out of the box, but I wish I would have tried one of the more unique combinations available. Such as the Watkins-Glen that features pastrami or the Las Vegas that contains roast beef...but then again neither of those are actually hot dogs. Sitting next to the check out counter was dozens of kinds of hot sauces. When inquiring as to what the purpose of those were the owner said they would pick them up from their own travels around the country. So come in for a dog and top it off with some spice from Oregon to Florida, or New York to New Mexico. A very cool condiment topper that could bring a taste of someplace you have been as well. B-

Atmosphere-
If it has to do with race cars, this place has it. Die cast models, ticket stubs from races, autographs, posters, and half of an external shell of a car on the wall (no joke). Pay no attention to the Halloween decorations, they are seasonal...I am assuming. Put on top of this that they sponsor cruise-ins often in the summer for those hot rods to park in front of the joint and let people ponder yesteryear over a hot dog. On one corner of the wall is a TV that more often than not has racing on TV. Whether it is a previously run race, or the latest in car news, this is the place to watch the race and eat a dog. If you are a NASCAR fan, this is your hot dog heaven. B

Value-
Each dog, no matter the toppings are $2.00 each. If you want a bratwurst or one of the dogarito's (hot dog in a burrito) then they are a fraction more. $2 bucks no matter what goes on top of it, that is a bargain. But hold on-if you come to eat during a cruise-in, the dogs are only a buck....ONE DOLLAR my friends. Come out, see the cars, eat a dog, and for goodness sake bring a couple George Washington's because you will NOT find hot dogs at a restaurant for a dollar within hundreds of miles of this place. A

Side Dish Jody says...
I had the chicken tender wrap which was a single tortilla with one or two fried chicken strips, a small amount of lettuce, and a small amount of diced tomatoes with ranch dressing. It tasted as expected but at $5.25 it seemed a little pricey for what was received. There was, however, a wide variety of non hot dog items on the menu including salads, sandwiches and fried goodies. B-

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hot Dog of the Week: Chicago's Dog House

Note to our readers- This post is about dogs IN Chicago, not Chicago dogs. Big difference.

But different is what Chicago's Dog House is all about.

True hot dog lovers appreciate an all beef hot dog. There are also hot dogs that have been made out of chicken, turkey, and God knows what else.

But it's that "what else" which separates Chicago's Dog House from other places. Newly opened in 2009, this place will make you a dog out of duck, alligator, and even kangaroo to name a few of the more interesting dogs.

Click on their website, read about their entrepreneurship and what a frip is.

But most importantly, when in Chicago, go buy a hot dog. If going out to them does not interest you, let them deliver your hot dogs to where you are.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

WE WANT YOUR STADIUM DOGS

Readers take note.

We are opening up our scrolling Stadium Dogs picture section to everyone.

Take a picture of you eating a Hot Dog at any pro or college sporting event, and e-mail us the picture. We will then add it to our feed of pictures.

With football starting, and basketball and hockey around the corner, it is a good time to start this project.

Got one from yester-year? Send it in!

Let's see how many different places we can get!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Hot Dog of the Week: Hillbilly Hot Dogs

The other night, Side Dish Jody and I were watching one of our favorite TV shows- Diner's, Drive-in's, and Dives, and we saw this joint featured in a snippet.

Hot dogs have never been the classiest food, but this place cornered the market on a unique niche for hot dogs.

We are proud to introduce you to West Virginia's Hillbilly Hot Dogs.
photo courtesy of hillbillyhotdogs.com

Building their "establishment" (and we proudly use that term loosely) they built this hot dog destination on the side of a hill. Now people flock from all over the country to try their 15" homewrecker hot dog.

Visit this site and see why The Travel Chanel, and Food Network rave about this place.

Better yet, jump on the road and check them out.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Hot Dog of the Week: King David Dogs

We eat hot dogs. We love hot dogs. We blog about hot dogs.

Some folks have made it a mission to search out the best hot dog restaurant. Some more ambitious people have followed their hot dog passion and opened their own hot dog restaurant. But actually making your own hot dogs is a step above ambition, it can be flat out hard.

May I introduce you to Indianapolis, Indiana's own King David Dogs.

Located in the smack dab center of the city, King David's has been voted the best hot dog of Indianapolis for 2010.

Some family members wanted to recreate an old family hot dog recipe, and viola this landmark was established.

Read about the history, and drool over the delicious menu of this Indy Original. But do not just stop there. Take a trip to the city, and down a State Fair dog, Reuben dog, or a Pretzel dog for yourself.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Hot Dog of the Week: Yank's Franks

Hot dogs are what has drawn us all together on this site.

The love of eating pure beef (hopefully) in a casing that can be topped with a vast array of our favorite condiments and extras. Eating one by yourself, sharing a few with friends, or cataloging many great eateries around the world is what many of us enjoy.

One person though decided to take his personal love of hot dogs, followed a dream and opened his own restaurant.

May I introduce you to Yank's Franks.

This Maine based restaurant has gone through the gambit of choosing a name, constructing the building, and working to serve quite frankly, the best hot dogs.

Read the chronicles of how Yank's Franks came into existence and is serving hot dogs in the Great Vacationland.

Monday, August 16, 2010

And the Weiner Is...

Thank you to all of the readers and new followers who participated in our contest for MLB tickets and Sonic giftcards.

We had a record number of comments left during this contest and hope that many of you will now choose to post comments more often and read our blog regularly.

Using the website, www.random.org we submitted the names of those who met the criteria of the contest.

Without further delay the prize winners of the two Sonic gift cards are:
Blogger ourtown said...

Oh so many choices.....I love the Sonic Burger comb, and the chili cheese dog. But my favorite time is Happy Hour!!!! I cannot wait to get one a Diet Cherry LimeAdes.

Blogger Ann said...

Limeade.... Always, the limeade.


And the grand prize winner of Major League Baseball or AAA baseball tickets is:

Blogger MVNUSID said...

I usually get the Super Sonic combo with a large sweet tea. A cherry limeade is also a great happy hour treat.

Sonic and baseball tickets...a winning combination!


Congratulations to those who posted and each of the winners please e-mail us at hotdogsontheroad@gmail.com with your contact information so we can get the prizes out to you.

South of the Border Hot Dogs

How far would you travel to get a good hot dog?

This is not a rhetorical question, but rather a news segment put out by CBS with political satire comedian and pop culture guru, Mo Rocca hosting the bit.

Click here to view this 3 minute trip to Mexico featuring some delicious twists on our favorite food, the hot dog.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Hot Dog of the Week: Rutt's Hut

In the restaurant business, you are known by your faithful clientele.

When no one can seem to find anything wrong with what you do, then you know you have a hit.

Whether you choose to come for the cheap dogs (under $2), cheap beer ($2 bottles) or homemade relish, just hit up Rutt's Hut when visiting New Jersey.

Enter through the telephone booth like door and enjoy the food from a place that has been around for about 100 years.

Click here to read the review courtesy of Hawk Krall and Seriouseats.com

Sunday, July 25, 2010

FREE SONIC GIFT CARDS & BASEBALL TICKETS

We were contacted by Sonic, America's Drive-In to do a review of their new Footlong Quarter Pound Coney Dog.

Sonic is also running a giveaway through our blog to entice our readers, as well as their patrons, to win a FREE $25 gift card, and be registered to win FREE Major League Baseball, or AAA baseball tickets.

Details of this giveaway will be at the end of this shortened review- so read on, then join our contest.

Anytown, USA

"Footlongs, who wants a footlong?" The quote from Dumb and Dumber that became true one summer night at Sonic.

Nestled inside a bun that was not overpowering in size to the proportion of the dog, was a blend of chili, cheese, and the dog itself. The chili had a pleasant lower spice level to it. If you are not a connoisseur of spicy chili, this is just potent enough to notice the spice but not too overpowering to eat. The chili is not thick enough to eat a good bowl of it, but wonderfully topped the length of the dog. Shredded cheddar cheese was lightly sprinkled over the top and melted the perfect amount to compliment the chili. With each bite of the dog, I could taste each individual component - the dog, chili, and cheese- but at the same time they blended so well on my palate.

I was shocked to see that a footlong was going to be sold for $2.99! In some situations cheaper means less quality, but not in this one. Any place that would sell a footlong- be it a street vendor, carnival, or restaurant daring enough to keep these in stock, could easily get twice this price. Kudos to Sonic for keeping the price low and enticing customers to get more than one of these for the bargain of a price.

*********

So how can you be entered to win this FREE $25 gift card and FREE Major League Baseball, or AAA baseball tickets through dogsontheroad.blogspot.com and courtesy of our friends at Sonic, America's Drive-In? Just 3 simple steps.

1) Become a follower of our blog. If you are already a follower, you have this step out of the way.

2) Visit Sonic's website and check out their menu, happy hour options and locations.

3) Leave a comment with what menu item on Sonic's website sounds the best to you by clicking on "comments" at the bottom of this post.

Our contest will run UNTIL AUGUST 14th with the wiener (pun intended) announced on the blog later that week. Make sure you check back to see if you have won.

Good luck to all and THANK YOU for being loyal, or future loyal, readers of dogsontheroad.blogspot.com

Friday, July 23, 2010

Frankfurter's

Seattle, WA

Out for a run while in Seattle along the wharf, the smell coming off of the Puget Sound was not that of fish and trolling fishing boats. The smell that filtered into my nostrils was that of sausage, and bratwurst, and hot dogs being cooked. I picked up the pace and ran past this small stand that was the size of a gardening shed called The Frankfurter. I returned around lunch time and was amazed at the variety and popularity of such a small stand. 12 count them 12 different dog options were offered. Non traditional options such as sun dried tomato dogs and Thai chicken dogs were on the menu, as well as scarcely found bockworst, and kosher dogs. On the day I had a kielbasa topped with grilled onions and peppers with a sole line of hot mustard to enhance the flavor. The dog was wrapped in a thicker bun that you would commonly think of around a thick kielbasa or even an East coast hoagie. The casing was a bit tougher to bite through, but that is normal for a kielbasa. The spiced meat flavor came through though as a mighty tasty dog on the afternoon. Next time I visit, I will run longer so I can develop a bigger hunger than one lone kielbasa. B

Atmosphere- I have had hot dogs on the Atlantic ocean (see our South Carolina posts) and now this is the furthest West we have gone on our hot dog travels. Though more than a portable stand, but with the panache of a street vendor cart, it was a very cool idea. A dog at a local stand is hard to top, especially when you can turn and view a 180 degrees of waterfront acreage and the bustle of people exploring the tourist area. I walked for a bit and had my picture taken just a few blocks away next to the Seattle Mariners and Seahawks stadium. C+

Value -
Dogs that come from street vendor-esque peddlers have been known to gouge patrons due to the supply and demand principle. But considering the fact that I got a grilled kielbasa, with peppers and onions on a thick roll of a bun for under $5 I was quite pleased. If in Seattle head to one of their three locations and venture away from the traditional restaurants that line the other side of the street. B

Side Dish Jody Says...was not on the trip and could not revue the non hot dog options.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Hot Dog of the Week: Dog House Drive-In

This segment of Hot Dog of the Week is courtesy of our friends at seriouseats.com and they found a place on historic Route 66.

Very few places give you a choice of chili sauces for your dogs. So contemplate the level of spice you want in either red or green sauce. So when traveling the great Southwest, get your kicks on Route 66 at the Dog House Drive-In.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Tony Packos

Lady Lake, FL/ Anytown, USA

Tony Packos is a Toledo, Ohio restaurant that gained national attention from the T.V. show M*A*S*H as the place Jamie Farr (Corporal Klinger) raved about. We came across this Tony Packos restaurant in Central Florida after being told about it by one of our readers. Now be warned- this review may not be an accurate review of the original chain in Northwest, Ohio but it is the same chain with the same hot dogs. For such a nationally iconic restaurant to be buried in the back corner of a bowling alley was not the wisest of choices, but nevertheless, it needed to be reviewed. I had a pair of dogs which were the Tony Packos Orginal Hot Dogs. These were smoked sausage served under mustard, onions and their famous sauce. The dog itself, though not a true hot dog, was very tasty. A good firm snap to the casing and a good sausage inside. The sauce on top was very tasty as well, and I ate them just as they came-no other toppings necessary. Next time I have a Tony Packos, I will wait until I head to the greater Toledo area. C-

Atmosphere-
When we walked in the door at lunch time, we were the only customers, other than the sprinkled people bellied up to the bar. This Packos was themed to be sports bar-esque then at night it was set up with a DJ booth, dance floor and light show from the ceiling. Being the only customers, you would think we would have had great service. Contraire mon frere. Hopefully results are not typical for everyone, but our socially awkward server with the personality of a wet hot dog bun brought things out very slowly and did not even check on us. Bad things come in threes, right? Bowling alley hot dog place, dance club atmosphere, Revenge of the Nerds server. D

Value-
At $2.99 for the Tony Packos Original, this was worth the money. The dog is longer and thicker than a normal hot dog, but not quite the size of a 1/4 pound all-beef dog that many places serve. The sauce itself, which is sold in many grocery stores, is worth the price of the dog itself, so everything was saved with the cost. Maybe the cost is lower to make up for everything else. B+

Side Dish Jody says...
I ordered the taco salad which was bland taco meat, lettuce, onion, tomato, cheese and salsa in a deep taco shell. The taco shell was tasty and flaky but overall the whole salad was somewhat average. C

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Kobayashi arrested at annual contest

Takeru Kobayashi was arrested at the annual Nathan's hot dog eating contest.

Joey Chestnut retained his championship belt that he has kept since first dethrowning the Japanese legend in 2006.

Click on THIS link to read the full story courtesy of CNN.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Mel's

Tampa, FL

Okay, if the hot dog mobile car to the left does not set the stage for this review then nothing well. Upon exiting I-275 we saw a billboard advertising Mel's, which is the first road side billboard I have seen funneling people to a hot dog joint. After laughing at the brilliance of a hot dog VW bug, we walked in to a full Mel's. Most restaurants would hope to be full at meal time, but we stopped in at nearly 2 in the afternoon. Just a 9 iron shot east of Busch Gardens, it has probably had many amusement park guests filling their stomachs after emptying them on the roller coasters. Mel was working this day, and it seemed that he did this with regularity. The thing is, this place is legendary. How many owners of a place this cool, and this well known still greet patrons, refill drinks, or bus tables? I had two dogs on the day-a Chicago Dog (because I am a sucker for a good one) and one of Mel's Special Hot Dogs. Mel himself is a Chicago native, so he brought the taste of Chi-town with him. Every dog is an all beef dog, and EVERY dog comes on a poppy seed bun. Mel got every detail down to perfection on this Chicago dog including some good peppers. I polluted it with a line of mustard, but don't tell Mel. The Mel's Special Hot Dog had your run of the mill ingredients (mustard, onions, relish and sauerkraut) but no ketchup. You really don't think someone from Chicago would put ketchup on ANY dog do you? B+

Atmosphere- Yes there is a VW bug on the front lawn corridor, but when you go inside you see the scores of pictures of people in Mel's t-shirts around the world (ala Yesterdog in MI.). Included in the pictures of patrons are shots from the Sydney Opera House, the Antarctica airport, and the Kremlin in Russia. The tables and chairs look like something out of a 50's diner, but reproduction versions of it. But the car, OHHHHH the car. It does not get much better than that. B

Value-
The Mel's Special cost me $3.25 while the Chicago dog was $3.75, which are both fair prices. Had I decided to make these a basket, which included fries, it would still have been in the $5 range. Authentic Chicago dogs over 1,500 miles south of the windy city is a bargain.
If you think about it, a lot of traffic comes from the theme park, so gouging prices could easily happen, but these are very reasonable. Fork it over to Mel's, or maybe Mel himself. He might work the register that day. B+

Side Dish Jody says... There were many non-hot dog options above and beyond the normal hot dog joint menu items including burgers and various types of sausage sandwiches. I ordered the char broiled chicken breast sandwich which was a nicely seasoned grilled chicken breast on a soft white bun. I asked for it without mayonnaise or honey mustard, as the menu indicates however I wish I would have asked for barbecue sauce or another condiment I like to provide a little moisture to the sandwich. Hot dog guy and I split a large order of fries which was a good value at 1.49. B-

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Dune Dogs

Jupiter, FL

Vacation time. Side Dish Jody and I hit the road for vacation, which means getting out on the road and searching for new places to eat that look appealing, and what our readers would enjoy reading. This is a testament to anyone who wonders 'do people just look up random places and come see us?' The answer is yes. Pulling into Dune Dogs we instantly looked at each other with big goofy smiles and said "Oh yes, this is awesome." Advertising Hebrew National hot dogs, these dogs are hearty. Sometimes you bite into a dog and can taste soft or boiled too much. Biting into this dog made me close my eyes to enjoy every delicious bite. I scarfed down two dogs on this day which were the Pushcart Dog, and the Leroy Brown's Junkyard Dog. The Pushcart was topped with a special onion sauce and some tomatoes. Normally not a huge fan of tomatoes on dogs, unless it is a Chicago Dog, I enjoyed the taste. But the Leroy Brown Junkyard Dog...now THIS is a hot dog. The pushcart sauce is simply to die for. Trying to describe the marinara-esque sauce does not even do it justice. So picture a red colored sauce but the punch, the aroma, and the bursting flavor of this sauce cannot be put into words. Just pay the piper his pence, and get this dog.

Atmosphere- This restaurant was open air style (much the same as Skinny Legs in the Virgin Islands for our followers) which is what you would picture on the islands, or at a tropical beach. Cozy up to the bar for drinks or sit on one of the many stainless steel topped picnic tables. We got to eat in the back landing and they even built the deck and awning around a monster size tree that comes up through the outer edge. Places like this are why we started doing reviews. An atmosphere like this cannot be topped when trying to eat a hot dog. A

Value- The Leroy Brown came in at $3.75 which was more than a bargain, while the Pushcart was a fairly priced $3.20 to consume. Not many places serve Hebrew National dogs, so they get a bump up for the uniqueness, but it is about the middle of the road for what we have seen charged for dogs. So even with the bump for a quality kind of dog it rates out at simply a B

Side Dish Jody says...
I had an order of the Yankee Nachos which is essentially waffle fries with many of your standard hot dog toppings like chili, jalapenos, onions and shredded cheese. It was a very tasty concoction especially on a waffle fry, which made it scoopable. My only regret is that it was shredded cheese instead of my preferred nacho cheez. A-




Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hot Dog of the Week: Hot Wieners Rhode Island Style


One of the TV networks that Side Dish Jody and I watch regularly is the food network...shocking huh?

Out of all of the shows and stars that the network has, one of our favorites is Guy Fieri. The host of such shows as Diners, Drive-ins and Dives (Triple D to followers) and Guy's Big Bite.

Fieri was at this shop in Rhode Island that does every dog one way. Don't walk in and ask for substitutions, deletions or additions- simply give your order and enjoy this delicious dog.

For once, you can click HERE which will take you to a video from the Food Network on Hot Wieners Rhode Island Style

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Hot Dog of the Week: Michigans Red Hots

Some one in New York got it correct.

For years us Michiganders have put a special sauce on our dogs.

Click on the title of this post to read how a restaurant in Plattsburgh, NY decks thier dogs Michigan style.

Article is courtesy of seriouseats.com

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Hot Dog of the Week: Johnny's Chicago Style Beef and Dogs

Finally, our first post from the land of 10,000 lakes.

Question. What do Elvis, Al Capone, an '87 Mercury Sable, and a 6 foot tall hot dog guy have in common? Answer-they can all be found at Johnny's Chicago Style Beef and Dogs ('87 Mercury Sable pending the arrival of Cletus and Jethro in search of dinner).

As a fan of Chicago Style dogs myself, I can appreciate when a good quality one is produced.

Find out how to TRULY make a Chicago Dog as well as fun facts about hot dogs by clicking the title of this post.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Hot Dog Bankrupcy

We have asked the question on here before- would you go to jail for a hot dog? (ala hot dog news archive)

Read our latest installment courtesy of the South Carolina News by clicking on the title of this post.

Hot Dog of the Week: Danny's Drive In

The art of the drive in for a meal choice has been teetering on extinction for a generation.

Thank's to Danny's Drive In of Connecticut, the legend lives on.

Read the review courtesy of our friends at seriouseats.com and look at the vintage pictures as well.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Other Hot Dog Meals


Growing up with an affection for hot dogs, my mom discovered a new way to implement dogs into our family's repertoire of meals.

This picture is not of my mother's dish, but rather a picture taken from seriouseats.com, but strikes a near bulls eye to what mom cooked us up.

I present to you, Brats and Tots. A casserole concoction made primarily of bratwurst, tater tots, cheese, and ranch dressing.

Slicing the bratwurts up into quarter sized fragments, pummeling the pan with zealous amounts of cheese, and letting the crunchiness of the tater tots bake into the dish made this a family favorite that still makes its way to the dinner table if/when I go back home.

I am curious as to what hot dog-esque substitute meals you are familiar with, or have had.

Please go into vivid descriptions so we can all froth at the mouth

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

World Famous Pink's Goes too Far

The world famous Pink's of Hollywood, CA has been an American icon for decades.

Nestled into the star-laden landscape of Southern California, Pink's has served hot dogs to movie stars on lunch break, and catered red carpet events.

One of the things that Pink's is known for is naming it's hot dog options after celebrities. Dogs such as the Martha Stewart dog and the Ozzy dog can be ordered any day (until it's name is changed).

But Pink's has gone too far- they have combined the words NAKED and Betty White to form a dog option. Two words that you never want to hear together, much less envision.

Click on the title of this post to read the full story and watch the video courtesy of CBS.com

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

America's Best Stadium Dog

With the start of baseball season now underway, the debate begins as to who serves the best hot dog in their stadium.

Is it a Dodger Dog in Los Angeles? Perhaps it is a Fenway Frank? Want some Skyline chili from Cincinnati?

Having personally traveled to 25 different MLB stadiums (not all pictured in Stadium Dogs) I have had my share of delicious tube meat in a bun.

Click on the title of this post to read an article from Clubhousecancer.com and read about many Stadium Dogs around the country and why a hot dog at the ball park IS the best food to eat while enjoying 'the old ball game'.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Hot Dog of the Week: South Philly Dog

We have piggy-backed off of our friends at seriouseats.com often for our hot dog of the week theme.

But for once, I can't help but think they picked our brains for their baseball themed Hot Dog of the Week.

Side Dish Jody and I have been to Citizen's Bank Ballpark which is home to the 2008 World Champion Philadelphia Phillies, but seriouseats.com takes the hot dog experience one step further.

Read their review by clicking on the title of this post, then vote on OUR side pannel for April's question of the month involving baseball stadium food.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Mad Dogz

Comstock Park, MI

One of our readers again pointed out a new place for Side Dish Jody and I to venture to. Located just North of Grand Rapids, Mad Dogz was opened in the late fall of 2009 within a good 3 iron of US-131. When you walk in the door the staff take your order at the counter and make your dogz on the spot. What is even better is that if you order more than one dog, they bring them out to you one at a time so they do not get cold. Why hasn't anyone ever thought of this before! Yes it is a little more time intensive, but as a customer you always have a warm dog waiting for you. It is the small things that set places a part. I ordered two dogz (Mad Dog and Lunatic). The Mad Dog came adorned with chili, ketchup, mustard, pickle, cheese and onion. This dog had a lot of toppings, I mean an insane amount on top of the hot dog and sloshing out over the bun. The Lunatic Dog (see picture to the right) was the same as the Mad Dog except you add kraut and subtract the cheese. This was the second of the two dogs I ate and when it was delivered to me, I swear a boxing bell rang in the background as if to challenge me. The owner stopped by our table and said that this dog with all of its toppings weighed close to a pound fully garnished. I have had foot longs, and I have had 1/2 pound dogs, but this was the heaviest dog I may have ever had. What sets these dogs apart though is the chili. Man was it good chili. The owner, whom I will call "Mr. Mad Dog," admitted that it was not homemade but a very high quality chili. When going to Mad Dogz, just get the Bonkers Dog which comes with just chili and cheese. Heck, the cheese was nothing special, but man I would eat that chili over and over again. B for what I ate (A+ for that chili and thoughts of a chili dog!)

Atmosphere-
Though a new restaurant, it was neither newly built nor a historic building. There was plenty of space to sit at the tables, and one flat screen TV that we watched The Price is Right on, but very much lacking in de'cor or a theme to flow through the place. I would say that the coolest or interesting niche about it was a sign in the bathroom. Above the mirror said "hello gorgeous". I will admit, I smiled at myself and did a little strut to check out my gorgeous self, but don't tell Side Dish Jody that I did this, she might burst my bubble. Go for the dogz and enjoy people watching on the side walk, but don't go with trendy expectations. D+

Value-
At $3.00 for a Mad Dog, and $3.25 for a Lunatic Dog they were worth the money. Heck, there was such a mountain of condiments on top of the dog, the employees may have paid $3 per dog just to top it off that way . Had I been hungry after the two dogs I ate, I would have gladly paid another 3 bucks for a chili dog. Have I mentioned how good they were yet? B+

Side Dish Jody sa
ys...Mad Dogz provided the standard non-dog options, walking taco or chips & cheese. I choose the chips & cheese Deluxe! For $5.00 I thought it was a bit pricey for hot dog condiments pretending to be nachos but I gave it a shot. I was pleased to see that the quantity of topping was enormous to the point I had to dig around with my fork to get to the gold corn chips. The chips were topped with a tasty chili, nacho cheese sauce, onions, jalapenos and ridiculous amounts of sour cream. Too be honest, it was almost too much topping in ratio to chips but tasted good. B-

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Hot Dog of the Week: Fat Frank's

When you think of Vermont what do you think of?

Perhaps it is the mountain skiing, or the cozy New England landscape.

After reading this review courtesy of our friends at seriouseats.com I am quite sure that Vermont should be known for Fat Frank's.

Contrary to the fat part of the nickname, the hot dogs are rather skinny, or they can be if you decide to go against the bratwurts or even knackwurst.

Click on the title of this post to read the delicious review...and try to keep your mouth closed when you see the pile of hot dogs at the bottom of the review. Too much drool is bad for the keyboard.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

One Stop Coney Shop


Grand Rapids, MI

One of our readers suggested that we take a little trip to the newest hot dog place in West Michigan located near the heart of downtown Grand Rapids. Upon meeting the owner of the "shop" he took us through the way he wanted to do dogs. He starts with Michigan based Koegel dogs which has one of the best snaps to the casing that I have ever had. Nothing is pre-cooked here, only cooked to order. The first step is to throw the dogs on the grill. He doesn't boil or steam his dogs, but rather puts them on the grill until they are about ready to split. Though the dogs are not that thick or robust, the true snap of the casing and the pure beef inside makes it a very desirable dog. I had a pair of dogs on the day which included a Chicago Dog and a special of the Coney Shop, the Sky Dog named after one of the employees. This Chicago Dog was wrapped into a poppy seed bun with the jalapeno, tomato, and toxic looking relish nicely spread on top. This was a good Chicago Dog. The Sky Dog however was not as appealing. This dog was topped with a MOUND of sauerkraut and chili. The chili was good and not to overpowering, but the sauerkraut was a little soggy and an over abundance of it. Order the Chicago Dog, pass on the Sky Dog, and as you will read later from Side Dish Jody...ORDER THE BELGIAN FRIES! B+

Atmosphere- The outside of the restaurant had a brick facade from the original building that had to date back to the first third of the twentieth century. Upon stepping inside you see how well they used their long narrow space. Tables adorned the entire west side, where you could watch them grill your dog, decorate the top and cook your Belgian fries to order. Though the inside fresh paint and new decorations counter the exterior of the building, this place will be around for some time as they encourage customers to leave comments on the tiled panels on the wall and sign his or her name. C+

Value-
Ranging from a $1.79 plain dog up to the chili cheese dog at $2.59, they have hit a bulls eye with their price points. Care to make your dog a meal? Well it includes delicious Belgian fries and a drink for under $5.50 in all but one dog option. Amongst the hot dog places I have been in West Michigan, this one ranks at the top so far in bang for you buck meals. A-

Side Dish Jody says...I ordered the double burger (the smallest size) with added cheese and a cone of Belgian fries. The burger tasted like a standard cheeseburger but was tough to hold together with the two patties on a flimsy bun. The fries, however, were excellent! They were perfectly crispy on the outside yet steamy on the inside and salted to perfection. I would return again to solely get the fries! Other non-hot dog options included variations of chili and cheese on their fries, although I did not try those. Grade: B