Good | Worth a Return
Joey’s Hot Dogs
Review by: Michael Stern
A snap wiener is a taut, buff, natural-casing frank made for Joey’s by the legendary Usinger’s of Milwaukee. It’s available with all sorts of toppings, from ketchup (!) to cole slaw, but the definitive version, known as a Joey Dog, is topped with mustard, chopped raw onions, and Joey’s fine-grind, no-bean beef chili.
The chili recipe dates back to the 1930s, when the “Hot Dog Boy of City Hall Avenue” began serving wieners up the arm in Norfolk, Virginia. (Wieners up the arm means that the chef lines up a bevvy of them from wrist to bicep, dressing all of them in a trice.) It’s a moderately spicy chili that wouldn’t be all that interesting on its own but is just-right in concert with mustard, onions, and the muscular wiener.
In addition to snap dogs, Joey’s offers a spicy sausage infused with pepper (known as a New York dog), all-beef Hebrew Nationals, a soy dog for vegetarians, Usinger’s bratwurst, and a turkey frank. There’s even a low-carb Joey Bowl, for which the dog and all desired condiments are combined in a bowl without the bun. (And gluten-free buns are available.)
The menu is minimal. To accompany a hot dog, you can choose redskin potato salad laced with dill, macaroni salad, penne pasta with feta cheese, or cole slaw. Plus bags of chips and popped-on-premises popcorn. A help-yourself soda fountain offers not only Coke products, but also Cheerwine.
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