Wednesday, June 1, 2011

John's Doggie Shop

Recently I've been on a mission to get myself to all the Philly-area hot dog spots that I haven't been to yet, especially with a few of them have recently closed (Nicky & Pete's, Montgomery Lunch).

The West Chester area has a hot dog culture that goes back almost 100 years. Jimmy John's Piping Hot (which burned down last year but recently re-opened) is the king out here, but there's a bunch of other spots that have been around forever that you don't hear too much about, and may or may not be closed or in danger of closing.

Hot dog research can get confusing out here- along with TWO different John's Doggie Shops and Jimmy John's Piping Hot, you've also got Johnnie's Dog House in Wayne (part of a small chain) and Jimmy John's the sandwich chain.

Anyway I was happy to find John's Doggie Shop opened for business. A small luncheonette with a counter and 4 or 5 booths, this is your basic working man's "breakfast and lunch grill" sort of place with hot coffee, creamed chipped beef, burgers and dogs and secret sauce.

The plain skinless dog was grilled and sort of underwhelming, especially after trying Jimmy John's delicious natural special casing "special dog"half an hour before.

But buried underneath John's "sauce" it's a whole different story. This is a classic "texas weiner" or "greek hot dog sauce" type chili, super dark and strong flavored, and plenty of it. The kind of dog you wash down with a cup of black coffee and a pack of cigarettes. Really good stuff, if you like this sort of old fashioned hot dog sauce this is one of the better spots in Philadelphia / Pennsylvania to find it.

Also, the Black & White milkshake was terrific, surprisingly better than the same thing from Jimmy John's.

There's another John's Doggie Shop about 5 miles closer to the city that may or may not be open, and is somehow related to this one.

John's Doggie Shop
Holly Eats: Johns Doggie Shop
525 Conchester Highway
Boothwyn PA

All the Hot Dogs

In case you missed any of the latest hot dog news, here's a recap-

Gilbert's Craft Sausages
Gilbert's is a new company out of Wisconsin doing high quality natural casing (technically a "beef collagen co-extrusion casing") dogs and sausages, cured with beet juice and celery powder rather than nitrates or chemicals. They also taste great. The awesome folks at Gilbert's were kind enough to send me a case of stuff to experiment with for Serious Eats.

Here's my Chicago-style take on Gilbert's all-beef Froman dog. Neon relish, homemade pickles, mustard, pickled serranos, onions, tomatoes, yellow mustard.

Read more-
Hot Dog Of The Week: The Froman from Gilbert's Craft Sausages

Last week I tried out Gilbert's Shabeergan Brat (steamed in beer then finished on the grill) and the South American-style Catalana pork sausage (piled into a grill-toasted Torta with avocado, grilled jalapeno, and mexi-mozz) both also really really good.

As for now they are available in select stores in the Wisconsin area, as well as Costco stores across the midwest (and via mailorder). Hopefully we'll see a local distributor soon.. Wegman's would get my vote.

Read more-
Hot Dog of the Week: Grilling the Catalana and Shabeergan Brats from Gilbert's Sausages

Sandy's Pimento Cheese Dog
Ate this last summer in South Carolina. Easily in the top 2 or 3 hot dogs I've had in the south. Pimento cheese should be the next big thing.

Read more-
Hot Dog Of The Week : Pimento Cheese Dog from Sandy's Famous in South Carolina

Otto's Sausage Kitchen
Caroline went to Portland and came back with these hot dog pictures. This is place is the real deal, an old school German butcher shop that makes their own franks and wursts and grills them in front of the store. Looks amazing.

Read more-
Hot Dog of the Week: Otto's Sausage Kitchen in Portland, OR

Memphis Taproom
Chau has already sung their praises here on DFF, but I have to agree that Memphis Taproom might serve the best hot dog I've ever eaten in Philadelphia, partly due to the fact that they use Best Provisions natural casing all-beef franks from New jersey, one of the best in the country. Known to hardcore hot doggers as the legendary Syd's Dog, you can also find this frankfurter at The Garage in north Jersey.

Read more-
Hot Dog of the Week: Memphis Taproom Beer Garden in Philadelphia

Scott Dogs
As you might have heard Memphis Taproom has some competition coming with Scott Schroeder's hot dog cart in the works featuring hand-made dogs from La Divisa Meats and Detroit Chili which If you've never had it is probably the best thing in the world. High hopes for this one.

Read more-
Meal Ticket: SPTR's Schroeder to start doggin' it

Hot Diggity
Last but not least is Hot Diggity, a brand new hot dog joint opening on South Street in Philadelphia sometime in the near future. The dogs are awesome, grilled Sabrett dogs on Liscio rolls served in ten (or more) different varieties. Oh and I should also mention that I illustrated the menu, in the form of ten giant hot dog paintings that will be hanging in the shop.

I've tried all the dogs and they are delicious, especially the Saigon Fusion which if you closed your eyes you might think you were eating a real Banh Mi. The fries are also OUTSTANDING. More info to come as the opening progresses...

Read more-
Meal Ticket: Hot Diggity! opening on South Street
Naked Philly: Hot Diggity Respecting The Dog
Hotdiggity on facebook