Friday, February 01, 2008

Hot Dog Stands: Yet Another Way Home Depot Makes Dreams Come True

I'm not big into pork. I'm just not. Can't explain it. But the best hot dog* in town comes from a hot dog stand at the Home Depot by Hundred Oaks mall in Berry Hill. Stoker and I were there on Saturday, buying some more drywall (when you're new at hanging drywall, it's easy to make rookie mistakes, like not laying a piece flat to store it). We splurged and got the Chicago style hot dog. It was amazing. And the heartburn was amazing too.

There's another place in town called The Dog. You'd think it would offer the best hot dogs ever. It's got such a cool name. The sign out front is so inviting with its modern appeal. For a long time I could't tell when it was open. The windows out front are so tinted and the open sign was too faint through the window. I went by one Saturday for a chili dog (oh yeah, I go all out when I finally imbibe on pork -- can I say that? Can I say "imbibe on pork?"). I was the only customer there. Inside they had flat panel T.V.'s hanging everywhere, and cool stools standing next to cool chrome-edged tables.

I ordered a chili dog and the guy went through a door and brought it out immediately. There was this illusion that perhaps they were a made-to-order sort of restaurant because the kitchen was in the back. But the hot dog took him three seconds to prepare. The chili was just ok. The cheese was the sort that comes pre-grated: it had a fine powder on it. I don't know how most people eat a chili dog, but I like to use a fork for mine. This was rather difficult, given the dog was lying in wax paper in a plastic basket. The kind with big holes.

Anyway, I mentioned to the two employees working there that maybe it would help business to have a neon open sign out front, you know, the side of the restaurant FACING the busiest street. Tinted windows are cool and all that, but they don't do much for a business**. Most people judge a store by how well-lit it is. If it looks closed, we avoid it. We're like moths. We're drawn to lights. This isn't rocket science. And neon open signs cost, what, five dollars at the Dollar General?

There are other hot dog joints in Nashville. They're springing up everywhere. There are two downtown, one called Hot Diggity Dog and another called I Dream of Weenie. Clever names for simple fare. I haven't tried them yet, but I may. I mean, I won't be looking for the brass ring because I already found it at the no-name hot dog stand outside Home Depot. Can you believe it? The guy doesn't even have to dress it up in a clever name and a modern sign. He just stands there and lets the smell waft through the exit doors and we follow our noses outside like salivating zombies. It's the Field of Dreams story all over again.

*The one indulgence. Sometimes bacon, but that's happening less as the quality of bacon decreases.
**Unless your business happens to be one of the million strip clubs in town.


Jodie K said...

I don't eat meat (well, seafood is meat, yes) much anymore and STILL that smell outside the big-box-home-design-stores GETS me. Relish and chopped white onions are my aphrodisiac.

BTW, two of my three brothers used to eat hot dogs straight from the wet wrapper, right out of the ‘fridge...cold! Even though I know they’re "fully cooked", that's like eating an actual weenie. Chewing, swallowing, eating. BLUCH.

...sorry if I offend ;)

BIGMANlittleWORLD said...

While in Chicago, I had a chicago dog, you couldn't see it because all the toppings, it was in a hole in the wall and has to be the best I've ever had. I wonder if the hot dog stand outside the Fidelity building in SLC is any good?