Al’s Hot Dog Stand | Hot Relish Rules Wieners in Connecticut

Review by: Michael Stern

Connecticut Wieners Want Relish

Al’s hot relish rules. It rates with the best of Connecticut, a wienercentric state distinguished by its abundance of excellent relish toppings.

Al’s: Roadside Attraction

Hop off Route 8 and you come across this personality-plus eat-shack that exemplifies sleeves-up Roadfood. It is one-of-a-kind, staffed for the last several decades by family who take what they do quite seriously but offer it up with humor and charm. When you dine here, you will not mistake the experience for a meal in a common junk-food franchise. The decor itself dazzles in a surreal sort of way. Where in heaven’s name did they get their tables and chairs? I would guess the furniture is inventory from a going-out-of-business computer school. Or maybe a deep-state bureaucrat’s office. Anyway, it’s strange, and kind of fun.

What to Eat and How to Dress It

The big menu offers fried seafood, lobster rolls, lovely bacon cheeseburgers, BLTs, and Philly steaks. I come for the the hot dog. It’s a foot-long frank that is a bit shriveled and lacks the snap of my favorites. But it delivers satisfying pork-and-beef flavor. They prepare its split-top bun in the classic Yankee fashion by grilling to gentle crispness on each side.

Place your order at the window (or, in cold weather, at the indoor counter). When the food is ready, they call you to come get it. Now, go to the condiment table. Here you find a couple of mustards, ketchup, onions, pickles, and three kinds of relish. As I said, at Al’s, as in so many of Connecticut’s hot dog emporia, hot relish rules. Complex, peppery, slightly fruity, it is a wiener’s best friend. You’ll also find sweet relish and Hawaiian hot relish. The last one balances formidable heat with a shot of sweet pineapple. The hot dogs are long enough that if you are a first-timer, you can put regular hot relish at one end and Hawaiian relish on the other and you will have multiple mouthfuls of both to compare and contrast.

French fries are crinkle-cuts and well worth ordering. Milk shakes are the real thing. Dine at picnic tables outdoors, in the car, or at one of those weird tables inside (see accompanying photo).

Directions & Hours

11am - 7pm
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Thursday: 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Friday: 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Saturday: 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Sunday: 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM

What To Eat

Hot Dog

DISH
French Fries

DISH

Al’s Hot Dog Stand | Hot Relish Rules Wieners in Connecticut Recipes

Discuss

What do you think of Al’s Hot Dog Stand | Hot Relish Rules Wieners in Connecticut?

3 Responses to “Al’s Hot Dog Stand | Hot Relish Rules Wieners in Connecticut”

Roland

June 28th, 2021

Want some hot relish

Reply

Sam Chester

August 26th, 2014

I stopped for lunch at Al’s yesterday on my way back home from NYC. It is very conveniently located off Rte. 8 and there is an exit ramp right by the parking lot, so it is easy on-off. Over the years Al’s has not changed a bit – it is still owned by the same family who has been there forever. The long dogs are very good – Hummel’s- but would be even better if the buns were grilled and buttered. I enjoyed one with mustard and relish – dog had a good snap. The crinkly fries are well made and the slaw was sweet and creamy. White birch beer was the perfect drink with this lunch.

One orders at the window on the right and picks up on the left. Food is ready five-seven minutes after ordering. In good weather it is pleasant to eat outside on a picnic table. Prices are moderate – now $3.00 for a long dog. This is a tried and true rock solid Roadfood experience.

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Stan Olszewski

August 11th, 2005

Right off Route 8 in Connecticut (Exit 26 – Naugatuck) is a Hot Dog oasis, run by two ladies, that is certainly worth the stop. The menu runs the regular gamut of fast food fare ranging from hamburgers, steak sandwiches, and sausage, to seafood, along with various daily specials. But the real treat here is the place’s namesake, the hot dogs. A tasty Hummel long dog, grilled and served on a slightly smaller, firm and equally tasty bun. There are two main windows at the front of this building, orders taken at the one to the right, pick-ups to the left.

Food comes packaged in a cardboard box with a foil cover. This works out much better than the individually wax paper wrapped items from other places, as the condiments stay on the food where they belong, not all over the paper. A range of free condiments are available right outside the pick-up window, which include both yellow and brown mustards, ketchup, relish, and raw onions (personal pet peeve of mine being the places that only offer the brown style mustard…Yellow Rules!). Only complaint found so far is the chili. An extremely mild, bean-less style that tastes more like meaty spaghetti sauce, we don’t feel it’s worth the 50 cents a dog extra.

There’s usually been a short waiting line, but it moves fast. Plenty of seating, both inside and out, including a gazebo for shady open air dining. Ample parking is provided in their own off-road lot.

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