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JK's

126 South St., Danbury, CT - (203) 743-4004
Posted By Michael Stern on 6/25/2000 12:00:00 AM
JK’s looks like any modern fast-food restaurant, but photographs on the wall tell another story: decades of weenie history. The nostalgic black-and white pictures show JK’s with its hot-dog sign hanging over Main Street many years ago; interior pictures show a spic-and-span diner that has served the Hat City’s working-class clientele since the 1930s.

The place may have changed, but old-timers tell us that the Texas hot wieners on which JK’s built its reputation remain precisely the same charming little frankfurters they’ve always been. They are plump little sausages, split lengthwise and cooked until slightly crusty on the surface, loaded into a big spongy roll, then topped with mustard, onions, and hot sauce with a chili-pepper kick. No single element of this arrangement has flavor to write home about, but the combination is powerfully addictive. You might order two, with a thick chocolate milk shake on the side, but midway through the second dog, you will likely be flagging down the waitress for a third, and possibly a fourth. The speedy gals who tend the short counter and the booths throughout the dining room are masters of balance, toting up to six or eight hot dog plates to different tables in a single trip from the semi-open kitchen in back.

There are all sorts of other things on JK’s menu, from silver dollar pancakes at breakfast to New England’s favorite Grape-Nuts pudding for dessert, but it’s the devilish Texas dogs that put this restaurant on our map. Some connoisseurs order them with cheese, chili, and/or bacon in addition to the usual condiments; it’s also possible to get a heap of excellent house-made slaw on top or to get the bun toasted: all interesting strategies, but we suggest first-timers stick with the original configuration … at least for the first round.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Texas Hot Wiener
Grape-Nuts Pudding
Milk Shake
French Fries with Gravy
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

Two classic JK's Texas hots, topped with mustard, onions, and hot sauce.
"Two classic JK's Texas hots, topped with mustard, onions, and hot sauce."
Michael Stern





JK's makes impressive ice cream sodas, like this lovely pink strawberry one.
"JK's makes impressive ice cream sodas, like this lovely pink strawberry one."
Cliff Strutz


French fries are availabe on a plate or in a basket, topped with cheese and/or gravy. Another option is seasoned curly fries with cheese and bacon bits.
"French fries are availabe on a plate or in a basket, topped with cheese and/or gravy. Another option is seasoned curly fries with cheese and bacon bits."
Michael Stern


The onion rings, with their wicked crunch, were a favorite with the group.
"The onion rings, with their wicked crunch, were a favorite with the group."
Cliff Strutz


In the foreground: a bare Texas Hot Wiener. In the background: a Texas Hot topped with chili and cole slaw. We paid 10 cents extra to have the bun toasted, but next time would save our money. The normal soft bun is a better mitt for holding one of these short but meaty franks, especially if it's loaded.
"In the foreground: a bare Texas Hot Wiener. In the background: a Texas Hot topped with chili and cole slaw. We paid 10 cents extra to have the bun toasted, but next time would save our money. The normal soft bun is a better mitt for holding one of these short but meaty franks, especially if it's loaded."
Michael Stern


JK's always has rice pudding and Grape-Nuts pudding for dessert. The latter is pictured here. Note the copious veins of softened cereal spread throughout the custard.
"JK's always has rice pudding and Grape-Nuts pudding for dessert. The latter is pictured here. Note the copious veins of softened cereal spread throughout the custard."
Michael Stern


Our milk shake was so thick that a straw stood up easily (but was of little use sucking up the drink, which must be gulped). The silver serving beaker held another glass-and-a-half. The blurry pictures on the wall behind the milk shake show JK's many incarnations through the decades since it began in the 1930s.
"Our milk shake was so thick that a straw stood up easily (but was of little use sucking up the drink, which must be gulped). The silver serving beaker held another glass-and-a-half. The blurry pictures on the wall behind the milk shake show JK's many incarnations through the decades since it began in the 1930s."
Michael Stern


Jane, me, Seafarer John, and Gail (Mrs. Seafarer) polish off a bunch of Texas hots and milk shakes. I must say, the waitress was patient indeed when my camera didn't work right. And when the first picture proved too dark, she was happy to take another. Good service!
"Jane, me, Seafarer John, and Gail (Mrs. Seafarer) polish off a bunch of Texas hots and milk shakes. I must say, the waitress was patient indeed when my camera didn't work right. And when the first picture proved too dark, she was happy to take another. Good service!"
Michael Stern


Here is JK's wall of accolades from local celebrities, including beloved WTNH newsman Dr. Mel.
"Here is JK's wall of accolades from local celebrities, including beloved WTNH newsman Dr. Mel."
Michael Stern



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