A couple of years ago, based on posts from this board, I went out to Newmarket Square to make a video (for a class)about Speed's hot dogs having never been there before. Speed was an unbelievably gracious host, allowing me to hang out with him the whole day and interview him amidst the busy lunch rush. I learned that he's never eaten a whole speed dog...just pieces, and that there was a guy who once ate four of them. He even treated me to a dog. A month or two later, I returned with some friends for what I thought might be my last speed dog as he said he would be retiring after 27 years (he looks to be in his 80's). since moving to nyc, I have tried to keep updated with his whereabouts from this board...last year, I spent five weeks working about 2 minutes away from newmarket and he wasn't out there until my last day (I unfortunately found out when I returned home to check the board). This past winter, after hearing he was retiring in december, a buddy and I drove 4 hours to boston only to be met with a downpour and no Speed. I became dejected but I still continued to check the boards and recently saw that he was spotted one march day. I knew I would be returning to boston in april so I grew excited. And so, last thursday, after one failed attempt and one fruitless call to Grainger's supply store, my friends and I drove into Newmarket and despite my pessimism, there he was with a new cart and grill wearing his boston speed's white uniform. It made my day.
If you've never been, watching speed make a hot dog is like watching a zen master or a great artist. The level of focus and care with which he makes each and every 1/2 pound monster is so great that customers just stand there and watch transfixed as they wait for their dog. He does it with no pomp or circumstance, no menu, no press reviews (I think he got rid of that once crookedly hanging best of boston plaque)...He takes his time (ironically...his speed nickname comes from his high school track team)insuring that everything is done right: dogs nicely charred, buns toasted, etc. The way to go is a dog with the works which has all of his homemade sauces (mustard, sweet relish, speed dog sauce which he says is better than ketchup, chili, and onions). I usually follow it up with just a hint of cholesterol medication.
But like Jim Leff's Sainted Arepa Lady, going to Speed's is a lot more than a great hot dog. It's a transcendent experience. Go before he retires for real.
Boston Speed's Hot Dogs
Newmarket Square across from the Grainger store
T: red line to andrew, walk toward the south bay center and take a left into the lot before the J Slate Gordon sign and police station
driving: 93 to exit 17 southampton street
hours: variable but usually tues-friday when the weather is nice. 11 am to when he runs out of dogs (about 2 pm or so)
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