Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Flo's Hot Dogs
I guess I've never really had a good hot dog until about a week ago. A lot of cooks and restaurants don't really put much value or care into the hot dog, it's usually an afterthought - something easy and fast to sell to the masses. Sure I've eaten and made some outstanding hot dogs, but never experienced the kind of dedication that manifests itself in a Flo's hot dog.
Open only a few hours a day (11-3), the line was out the door and around the corner. To my surprise the only person behind the counter was a lone woman-apparently not Flo herself, but the Heiress to the Flo's empire, Gail Stacy. The history of Flo's and various newspaper clippings are displayed on the wall of this tiny shack, with a ceiling so low I my head bumped it in some places.
As I watched the solitary woman furiously steaming buns and scribbling orders onto a pad I realized that the 20 or so people packed into the 110 degree shack were all completely silent. It was like a religious experience. Someone asked the magic hot dog woman if she had any help today and she went on a long diatribe about the lack of work ethic in today's youth and her reluctance to let anyone in on her secret sauce recipe - before angrily correcting someone on flo's terminology after they asked for a "hot dog with chili and relish".
Flo's only serves hot dogs, at $2.25 a pop, along with chips, soda, and coffee. That's it. A Flo's "special" - what everyone orders - is a natural casing hot dog on a steamed new england style bun with flo's relish (which is more like a spicy chutney) , celery salt and mayonnaise. The only other option is mustard. If you ask for Relish, Hot Sauce, Or Chili it's all the same thing, Flo's homemade secret spicy hot dog relish. Don't even think of saying the word ketchup. Sounds wierd but it's amazing. I'm the only person in line to order less than 8 hot dogs, by the time I leave the parking lot is overflowing and actually causing a traffic jam on Route 1, and the line out the door is about 150 people long.
I almost feel obligated to help this poor woman that is about to single handedly serve about 3000 hot dogs from a small bun steamer and a pot of water on a single burner, especially after tasting the best hot dog of my life and washing it down with a delicious Moxie.
1359 Route 1
Cape Neddick, ME