Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Arbetter's Hot Dogs

Miami, FL

Every restaurant owner puts their own touches on an establishment.  That is what makes it theirs.  Having Boston roots and being in South Florida is what make's Arbetter's Hot Dogs what it is.  When/if the Red Sox win the World Series, there is a sign saying that baked beans are free the next day.  The smaller quarters that all patrons wait in line for food, and the confined eating area would fit in well in Boston also.  When ordering dogs, this place has its own style.  If you want onions and mustard on the dog that would be an M.O. dog.  If you wanted chili and mustard it would be a C.M. dog, and so on.  Speaking of the chili, it is homemade and a perfect topping that flows down the dog without taking away from the taste of the grill it was made on.  I had a C.O and an All Around dog which has mustard, onions, and relish.  This would qualify as a greasy spoon restaurant of the South, but that is EXACTLY what a hot dog shop should be.

Atmosphere You walk in the small building and you are hit square in the face with Bostonian sports flare.  A tribute to Larry Bird that includes a sign that says "Free Refills when you say 'I Love Larry Bird' "  This would be a true hole in the wall place that is void of even a website.  You can see the entire process of them preparing your dogs for you which is always cool to see.  Judging by the line of people that filled the restaurant on a monsoon-like day when we attended, shows that customers are loyal.  The place may sit 25 people IF it gets crowded, but most people grab their dogs and hit the road it looks like.  B+

Value Very reasonably priced with the C.O dogs coming in at $2.15 each and the All Around dog comes in under two bucks at $1.95 so you get a lot of bang (including the indigestion) for a great price.  Fries are $2.05 and adding chili or cheese to your fries only tops the scales at $3.15.  Kudos for a local small business for keeping prices so low that people come back not only for the taste, but because it doesn't break anyone's budget either.  A

Side Dish Jody says...Typically the only non hot dog options would be fries or chili cheese fries.  I started with the chili cheese fries and they were greasy and delicious.  The hi-light food of the visit was when the owner ordered several pizzas from a local pizzeria and gave out slices in celebration of the recent Miami Heat championship. D+ (minus the pizza)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Hot Dog Cart Shut Down

A 13 year old boy from Holland, MI decided to peddle hot dogs for some extra money.

Well click here to read the article courtesy of as to why his entrepreneur style was shut down before it even started.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Papa's Dogs and More

Grandville, MI 

When a new hot dog place sprouts up, they have to have a niche.  A different way to attract people into their establishment.  Well, Papa's Dogs and More makes hot dogs the only way the owner knew how to have a hot dog for many years... bake fresh bread and insert the hot dog.  You see, the 'bun' is not really a bun at all, but daily fresh made bread baked to engulf the dog.  When the owner was a child he came from very humble beginnings.  The family did not have much money so they ate hot dogs often.  Well his father baked the bread, and put a hot dog inside.  As simple as that.  It was not until he was in high school and went to a football game, did he know that people actually have buns to put a hot dog on.  Well after having these dogs, I may never ask for a bun again.  How can you beat FRESH bread so soft, that I actually enjoyed the bread more than the dog...which NEVER happens.  You order your dog based on the bread (white, honey wheat, garlic cheese, pretzel) and then head to the toppings bar for as many of the 19 toppings you choose.  You can also get a polish dog, cheddarwurst, smoked brat or 1/4 pound dog options as well.  The demand for these dogs is growing incredibly fast, and for all of the claims the owner made, I wholeheartedly believe all of those claims will come true!

Atmosphere- This is not the most scenic place.  It is located in a run down strip mall, but when you walk inside, the energy and spirit of the family (employees) makes you forget the outside and surroundings.  Since they bake their bread, you can actually see the kitchen and the process the bread goes through, this was one of the more unique traits about the place.  There is ample seating for many people, and for going there during a holiday 'lull' it was still hopping with patrons.  There is a food challenge, where if you complete the 'Bullmastiff challenge' you can get your meal free.  They also had a sign on the wall that I of course had to sign and laugh for it read this "WARNING, General consensus has determined that consuming Papa Dogs can be habit forming."  Forget the decorations on the wall (there are not many) just go and eat for the GOOD FOOD! C

Value-  The owner said to me "The greatest compliment someone can give me is that my food is to cheap."   Uh, cheap might be the biggest understatement of all time in the hot dog world.  The Papa Dog Deal includes two Papa Dogs, a drink, chips and two cookies (which are freshly made daily as well, and vary based on what he feels like baking that day) all for $6....DID YOU HEAR ME?  Six George Washington's for all of that.  Each Papa dog could easily sell for six bucks, EASILY.  So six bucks for the meal, or you could just buy a lone Papa Dog for $2.50.  Upgrading to a cheddarwurst or bull dog is a bit more.  I had a Papa Dog on soft pretzel, and a Papa Dog on white.  We have reviewed cheap hot dogs, and expensive hot dogs, but we are giving our first ever A+ in value here!

Side Dish Jody says... At first glance I was nervous about the lack of non hot dog options.  My primary choices were a gigantic cinnamon roll or pecan roll.  But after further discussion, they have homemade soups and homemade bread bowls in the colder months.  I could also call ahead for a chicken tenderloin baked into the bread, which I will definitely get next time.  On this trip I had the pecan roll which was overwhelmingly large, rich and delicious.  A

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Chestnut Retains Hot Dog Crown

For the past six years, Joey Chestnut has started off his fourth of July by engorging himself to win the annual Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island.

Well Chestnut broke his own consumption record in the 10 minute allowable frame.

Click HERE to read the article courtesy of the

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Island Dogs

Key West, FL

This post comes off of the suggestion of one of our readers.  L.H. wrote to us and said "We were there last weekend (2nd trip) with 8 people and all thought they were fantastic.  One night we even had them on a pizza with bacon - totally unreal!"  

Well while on vacation in the Florida Keys we had to check it out to see if L.H. was indeed speaking the truth.  I had the bacon wrapped Island Dog just as suggested and this dog was big and thick!  The red onion and sweet chili sauce topped the bacon and the banana peppers complimented it nicely.  I gobbled it down, and it wasn't even as a meal, but a mid day treat.  I am sure that many people look at this and think it is just a bar that serves food instead of a restaurant, but if more bars served hot dogs like these, than all of our stomachs would be better off.

Atmosphere- Located on Front Street where much of the hullabaloo of Key West is, this is an open air bar that is an ideal setting for eating a hot dog in paradise.  Many people coming off the cruise ships or staggering around town could choose from many bars or restaurants in the area, but to my knowledge, it was the only place that advertised a good hot dog.  Belly up to the bar, or enjoy many of the seats on the patio while people watch and enjoy the festivities of Key West.  B+

This is a bit slanted because the price of an Island Dog was $9.50 (which also came with the pictured pile of shoe string fries) and much more than we would normally spend on a hot dog. But, considering the area of the country you are in, most everything is a little more pricy because tourists carry money.  The big quarter pound hot dog was well worth this and NOT just an average hot dog.  You could build your own hot dog for a bit cheaper, but L.H. pegged it dead on!  B+

Side Dish Jody says... Since this was a full service restaurant there were many non hot dog options.  I chose the chicken fingers and french fries, and honestly raved about the chicken fingers 3-4 days later.  They were definitely homemade not frozen and popped in the deep fryer.  A-