Restaurants & Bars

Southern Hot Dog Quest (SHDQ)


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Restaurants & Bars

Southern Hot Dog Quest (SHDQ)

SBCochran | | Mar 17, 2003 06:47 AM

I'm soliciting for all the good Southern hot dog places I can find. This Quest was somewhat prompted by a post by Tom-Fl (

To qualify, the places must have its own housemade chili or chili sauce and sweet chopped onion at least, with finely chopped slaw an almost essential. You can order a chili dog, a slaw dog or "all the way" with both, along with mustard and onions. In at least one place (Betty's, below), all hot dogs, except plain, come with chili, even the slaw dog; you can get a slaw-only dog there, but you must specify.

Most small Southern towns have at least one such local institution: usually a lunch counter, soda fountain or drive in; maybe only open Monday through Saturday for breakfast and lunch, closing by 2 or 3 PM (maybe closing at 1 PM on Wednesday or Saturday so the owner can make his tee time); usually with multi-generational customers including the mayor, the mechanic, a deputy or policeman, the farmer and his son or daughter in town for the day, the painter and the drywall guys, and an insurance agent, all of whom have wives who don't understand how they could eat that stuff; has been around for at least 40 years with the customers not letting the owner retire or the "kids" now running the place with the waitress who has been there for 22+ years; after breakfast, may only offer hot dogs, hamburgers (with or without gravy), country ham, sweet tea, RC and/or "Co-Cola" (maybe still in the little bottles, and never Pepsi) with fried pies on the counter next to the potato chip rack; may have burned down at least once and has been rebuilt; may still have the small segregation-era side entrance which anyone uses now especially for take-out that is much of the business; you get a check or you tell whoever's at the register what you had; it does not have a web presence and, if it's mentioned anywhere on the web, it's cited in that state's legislative body in the form of a commendation for its longevity; and it may or may not have a phone, but certainly not a fax.

The best I've ever had was at Wilkerson's (gone) in downtown Augusta with its hot mustard and the entire police force taking turns for lunch. Some operative notables are: Brad's and Dixie Club in Dothan, 4-Way Lunch in Cartersville (I've got a print of the place hanging in my kitchen and one of their black caps), Betty's in Marietta (current favorite), Dinglewood Pharmacy in Columbus, Nu-Way in Macon, Weaver's in London, Warren's in Greenville, Roast Grill and Snoopy's in Raleigh, Shorty's in Wake Forest, Kannon's in Zebulon, Frank's in Columbia, Georgia Street in Fountain Inn, Garo's in Knoxville, Moore's in Lynchburg, and Hometown in Clarksburg.

Please contribute to the list with your favorites. Double points if it's a pool hall.



Need NOT apply (in no particular order): Texas weiners or wieners, rippers and cremators, coneys of any ilk, white hots and red hots, NY System, Chicago-style, deep-fried, split and griddled, pig-in-blanket, Texas Tommy, Dirty Dog, char-broiled, gaggers, scrambled, all-beef (we like our assorted piggy parts), brats, Italian, Polish, Newark, Buffalo, Rhode Island-style (weird little dogs), Hummell, Sabrett, Schmalz, Miller, Schultz, Koegel, Best.

These may be fine examples in their own right and may have admirers, but they're not what I'm looking for.