White Star Hot Dogs
Name: White Star Lunch-n-ette
Location: Frederick, MD
Meal: Two Hot Dogs with everything, Fries, and Coke
Type: Hot Dog Joint
White Star, like many great local places, is very unassuming. Tucked in a small strip mall next to a liquor store you could easily miss it but your diligence will be rewarded. Standard interior designs do not apply to old restaurants, in fact the work in opposite. White Star is decorated with press clippings, wood paneling, and marbled laminate booths; I’m alright this as I prefer their attention focused on cooking not decorating. One interesting fact about White Star, it is the coldest restaurant I have ever been in. Don’t interpret this as a complaint; I just find it interesting that they have a huge industrial air conditioner installed in the dining area. I can imagine that if I had walked or rode a bike to White Star I would be quite content. For a restaurant so well established I was surprised at how large the menu was at White Star but far and away the star is the hot dog. Continue reading
Chocolate Nut Dipped Cone
Name: Kline’s Freeze
Meal: Chili dog, chocolate dipped cone, and a Pepsi
Type: Ice cream stand
You don’t find too many old independent restaurants in my Northern Virginia neck of the woods. Kline’s Freeze is a great exception to that rule. Perched atop a hill just a few minutes into Prince William county off of Route 28, Kline’s has been serving up great food and treats for decades now. Obviously, a restaurant with Freeze in its name and a giant cone on top is going to specialize in ice cream but they serve up a decent menu of freshly prepared foods as well. The service was quick albeit a little spotty; all the employees seemed to be high school age and content with acting like high schoolers. Given the steady line of customers when I was there (on a overcast lazy Sunday nonetheless) they seem to be doing a good enough job as is.
Location: Chicago, IL
Meal: Chicago-style hot dog and a chocolate milkshake
Type: Hot Dog Joint
As previously noted Chicago food is a food lover’s paradise. Two foods in particular scream ‘Chicago’ to the outside world louder than anything else: deep dish pizza and the Chicago-style hot dog. As someone who drew up outside Philadelphia with the Pat’s vs. Geno’s cheesesteak debate I find it interesting that with so many independent hot dog stands in Chicago there is not the contention title of ‘best’ the City of Brotherly Love provides. The hot dog stand that normally tops the lists and gets the calls for television shows is Superdawg. Superdawg has be operating for over 50 years and still provides friendly carhop service. Located in a largely Polish neighbor on the North Side of Chicago you’ll be able to find it quite easily thanks to their famous hot dog characters on the roof. What awaits you after you park is the pride of a city tucked inside a small box, covered in fries.
Ted's Hot Dogs
Name: Ted’s Hot Dogs
Location: Buffalo, NY
Meal: Two Hot Dogs, French Fries, and Loganberry Soda
Type: Hot Dog Joint
As previously stated Buffalo is best known for a certain style of chicken wing but certainly has other gastronomic contributions. Not too far from the University of Buffalo campus you find Ted’s Hot Dogs. The full title reads, Ted’s Charcoal Grilled Hot Dogs. Your food gets cooked to order in front of you over glowing coals, incredibly close to those glowing coals. In addition to adding great taste to the hot dogs the charcoal benefits Ted’s in another way; the smoke exhaust tells everyone in the surround area the great food is available.
Name: Skyline Chili
Location: All Throughout Ohio
Meal: 4-Way Chili & Spaghetti, Cheese Coney, and Pepsi
Type: Chili Parlor/ Quick serve
Ohio has many things to be proud of, Skyline Chili has to be near the top of the list. I find it pretty interesting that as popular as Cincinnati style chili parlors are throughout SW Ohio they remain unknown to much of the outside world. Skyline is by far the most dominant of the chili chains with at least a hundred locations; if I had to guess it is a result of their a)great recipe and b)AMAZING service. If this blog doesn’t make it obvious, I’ve eaten at many restaurants, Skyline consistently has some of the very best service I’ve seen. If think the longest time from ordering to eating freshly prepared food was 3 minutes (remember I’m partial to counter seats).
Flo's Steamed Hot Dog
Name: Flo’s Steamed Hot Dogs
Location: Cape Neddick, ME
Meal: Steamed hot dogs and a Coke
Type: Hot Dog
Unbeknownst to me when I stumbled across this place in Spring 2007 but it turns out Flo’s is not only a New England tradition but has consistently been named one of the top ten hot dogs in the country for YEARS. What luck. I was on a business trip that left me with my days completely free so I took a day to drive up Route 1. My target was a lobster roll but I drove by this place going north and decided I would stop in on my way back that afternoon. What I’ve come to find out is that my experience was not at all typical. I parked right next to the building, walked in and took my pick of counter stools since I was the only one in there. Flo’s granddaughter was working that day, I believe Gail (the owner, Flo unfortunately passed away a few years ago) was on vacation, but I had a chance to talk to her a bit. I wouldn’t say they are naive about their fame but they definitely haven’t even thought of letting it go to their heads. While I sat and leisurely ate my hot dogs it was a stream of locals that came in, they were all greeted by name and the standard Flo’s question, “How many?”