Blackie’s has been a thriving drive-in since 1928, and for hot dog lovers in greater Waterbury and beyond, it is a culinary landmark. Its unique twin-barn shape (a wood-paneled dining room on either side of the open-air counter) heralds picnic-style meals that taste especially right on a happy summer day.
Hot dogs are not just the specialty of the house; they are nearly the entire menu. There are hamburgers, too, and they’re fine; you can get a bag of potato chips, a milk shake or a soft drink; and there’s local Big Dipper ice cream for dessert. No French fries or any other side dishes are available.
The dogs are big, pink plumpies that are boiled to the point that they literally blossom with flavor as their outside surface bursts apart from heat. They are served plain in ordinary buns, and it is up to each customer to spoon out mustard and relish from condiment trays that are set out all along the counter. That’s the really good part about dining at Blackie’s: dressing the dogs. The mustard is excellent, and we recommend a modest bed of it applied to the top of each wiener, all the better for the relish to cling to. This relish is transcendent. Made from the same recipe that put Blackie’s on the map three-quarters of a century ago, it is thick, luxurious, and pepper-hot enough that your lips will glow after lunch. Blackie’s – and its customers – are so devoted to this formula for frankfurter perfection that the kitchen doesn’t even bother to offer sauerkraut or chili.
Place an order at the counter and within a minute or two your hot dogs will be presented on a thick disposable plate. If not seated at the counter, it is the customers’ job to carry plates and beverages, plus stacks of napkins, into one of the dining rooms. When finished with the meal, the management appreciates it when people toss their plates, napkins, and cups into the garbage cans provided.
Note that Blackie’s is open every day of the week except Friday.