Hot Dogs

Devilution has made some nice hot dog comments in the "Sign the Guest Book" section, and I think they deserve inclusion in our Hot Dog section.

Devilution describes a situation where he gets his hot dogs from a place in "Little Washington ( that's what we called it as I was growing up in North Carolina, but I think they now refer to it as the "Original Washington) and goes with his two sons to eat them in a park near the Pamlico River where they can watch the boats and feed the birds. This is the kind of thing that drives many North Carolinians who have moved out of state, especially those who have moved to a large metropolitan areas, mad. It brings back memories of earlier days when they lived in N.C. and enjoyed the slow paced, rather simple life style enjoyed in many parts of the state. Back to the dogs because I will write endlessly about small town N.C. even though I have never lived in one. I was raised in Raleigh which everyone knows was a "big city" for most eastern North Carolinians long before the advent of the Research Triangle.

The dogs at Bill's Hot Dogs in Washington are deep fried, cost .75 cents a piece and go particularly well with a Dr. Pepper. D says that a chili dog at the Carolina Dairies in Washington is a hot dog bun with the fixings but no hot dog. This is interesting because my wife is one of those persons who enjoys a hot dog without the dog. I thought for a while she was the only person on the planet who liked their hot dog this way until I talked to some of the owners of hot dog joints and they tell me that it is not unusual at all for a person to order a hot dog without the dog. I had never heard of this until I met my wife and our eating habits are very similar since she is from Durham, 25 miles from Raleigh. This reminds me of what my N.C. friends and I say whenever the term "chili dog" is used in our presence. We say there is no such thing as a chili dog because we are fairly certain whenever this word is used, it is code for the fact that chili on the dog is going to cost extra. Our position is that a hot dog comes with chili, so it shouldn't have to have a new name to describe what is supposed to be there in the first place I'm afraid we are fighting a losing battle in our crusade to stop the use of the word "chili dog" but we have fun with it if we are dealing with the owner of the joint. We don't joke about things like this with the hired help, just the owners. The hired help is doing just what they are told to do and are helpless to change things even if they wanted to.

In the near future I will write about my favorite hot dog in the whole wide world. I'll leave a little mystery in the situation, until I write, but I will give you a hint as to its location. I will have one or two this Saturday when I attend the UNC-Kentucky game.

Trivia Question: There used to be three hot dog stands in Durham named "Amos and Andy's". I think they are all gone but I'm not sure. The question is "What is/was the origin of the name of these hot dog emporiums or is it emporia?" Question can be answered in the Guest Book section.





Good hot dogs abound all over North Carolina and each of us probably has our favorite. Hot dogs, like BBQ seems to be connected with nostalgia and I have learned the hard way not to ever suggest that any hot dog could possibly be better than the ones in the memories of others. Southern hot dogs are unique when compared to hot dogs in other parts of the country. In some sections of the nation, sauerkraut is considered essential for a good hot dog, but you won't see much kraut in the south. Some people like relish on their dog, I don't. I think I have tried everything known to man on a hot dog but predictably I have returned to the basics. I like mustard and chili on mine and if I'm in a frisky mood, I might add onions. I've had chili with beans on the dog which I didn't like and once , the dog I was served had the chili underneath the dog. My first reaction was that it solved the problem  of chili falling off the dog as you were eating it, but I soon learned that it created an additional problem. Unless you eat the dog quickly after it has been served, you run the risk of the chili softening the hot dog bun underneath the dog itself and guess what? If you are unlucky you will get the entire thing in your lap. Guess that's why we don't see them prepared that way very often. For some reason, a lot of Greek immigrants used to be in the hot dog business. Someone tried to explain it to me once but I'm afraid I never fully comprehended the connection between Greeks and hot dogs but I will have to admit that during my childhood (here we go) most of the really good hot dogs in Raleigh were in places owned by Greeks. I remember there were two or three on Wilmington St., the Person St. Sandwich Shop near the current Krispy Kreme, the Wake Cafe on Wilmington St., a nice little place near a beauty school on Salisbury St. where you sat in school desks with the writing part of the desk serving as your personal table. The mustard was always watered down and was applied with a spatula, The hamburgers were just as good as the hot dogs but they were more expensive. The hot dogs were 5 cents and the hamburgers were 10 cents. I never heard of a cheeseburger until the mid 40's. The hamburger had a lot of filler but that didn't bother anybody. The finished product was good and that's what mattered. I later spoke with a gentleman who owned a hot dog joint and he explained to me how the filler was added to the hamburger. You soak "loaf" bread in water and then mix the bread with the meat. There is a little place in Whiteville, N.C. where they still prepare the hamburgers this way. Strictly a take out operation and there is always a line on the sidewalk outside the business. Oh, I forgot to mention the "king" of hot dogs in Raleigh during the 30s and 40s. It was the Manhattan Restaurant on Hillsborough St. where Glenwood Ave. intersects. It's long gone now ( building still stands) but it was the highlight of the week when I was growing up to go to the Manhattan on a Sunday evening instead of eating leftovers and order hot dogs and hamburgers "on the curb". Part of the fun was eating in the car, which was a little different and like at the ball park or the fair, the food seemed to taste better. To add to the excitement, a train would occasionally come by the Manhattan under Hillsborough St. and we would have to roll up the windows to keep the smoke and cinders out. Don't know if the tracks are still there or not.


The nutritionists tell us that hot dogs are not good for us but that doesn't stop me from "chomping down" on one every now and then. It's sorta like my wife says to justify her light smoking "We're all going to die of something" and you know what? She's right. My personal philosophy is "moderation in all things". I will never forget my father's pronouncement one day that when he couldn't eat what he wanted, he was "ready to die". I won't mention what he ate the afternoon before he died of a stroke. Choices.


We'll add to this section as time goes on and, hopefully, we can get you viewers to share the address of your favorite hot dog joint with us. You might be interested to know that more hot dogs are sold at O'Hare Airport in Chicago than any other single location in the world. Another one of those interesting facts no one knows what to do with.