And ...drumroll please....yes, I do believe it's worth all the hype.
I feel like I need to type a much longer descriptive post, but unfortunately I don't have the time (which, btw, is something you do need to have when you go to Speeds- I waited close to 1/2 hr for my dog, and worth every minute) so I will do my best to be concise.
I pulled up to Speeds and saw about 5 guys in line ahead of me. There were 2 guys in the Speed cart - Speed, obviously, and another younger, guy. They were both working together to make the dogs. All I can say is...WOW. What a meticulous process they've got goin on there. It was tough for me to really get a good look, with the guys ahead of me..I thought, when first getting there, oh, there's a couple of guys in front of me, I should be in and out in a few minutes. Uh, no.
It's not about slapping a hot dog on a grill, throwing it in a bun, and giving it to you. It's way, way more than that.
There was only one woman behind me. She was an older african-american woman, and so very excited that "Speed is back." She had just been shopping, had melting ice cream in the back of her car, and said, "It's ok, I'll let it melt for a Speed's hot dog.." She told me how he's been around for years, that in the old days there would be concerts, Duke Ellington, some of the classic black entertainers, and Speed would always be there, with his carts, and that people would line up for his dogs. She said she's had hot dogs all over the place but "there's nothing like a speeds dog"...she said, "one time, he gave me a pack of these to make at home, but I couldn't even come close to makin 'em taste like they do here..." We chatted for a little while, while I waited. And waited. And waited.
Watched the two guys toasting the buns, moving the hot dog from the little grill to the bigger grill, turning them, charring them just right; it was unbelievable the amount of tender care these dogs were getting. Everytime I thought "oh, it must be ready now", he'd move it from one grill to the other or turn it this way or that way.....and then, all these little plastic containers with this medley of sauces...I had very little idea what they all where, but as instructed by this board, I knew if I was gonna have a speeds dog, I was gonna have to have it with "the works."
So, when it finally came my turn, he handed me the largest hot dog I think I've ever seen, I handed him $6, and my Speed's experience was really just beginning.
To say the hot dog was great, well, that really doesn't do it justice. This is just an amazing, completely unique taste experience --the sweet, smoky flavors all meld together --the whole time I was eating this I was thinking "I really wish I was experiencing this with someone.." I know, i know, it's just a hot dog, but that's just it --it's not just about the hot dog. It's about passion, it's about the art of food, caring about something and making it yours...So you wait in line with just 4 people ahead of you for a half an hour...and you get this sliver of passion wrapped up in wax paper...it's really pretty cool.
I'll be back.