Founder Nick Tahou died in 1997 after more than fifty years running Rochester’s premier hot dog joint. His culinary legacy remains the amazing dish known as a garbage plate. It is up to each customer to choose the foundation of his or her garbage plate. It can be based on Texas hot wieners, hamburgers (with or without cheese), Italian sausage, steak, or even a grilled cheese sandwich. The nucleus of your choice is plated with piles of baked beans and home-fried potatoes, a scoop of cool macaroni salad, a dollop of spicy chili sauce, a squirt or two of mustard, and a sprinkle of chopped raw onions. It comes with plastic fork and knife, a bottle of Ketchup, some hot sauce, and white bread with butter.
It is a wild, ridiculous, delicious mess! Especially noteworthy is the sauce, a fine-grained, Greek-accented brew that also is available on such lesser variants of frankfurter cookery as Nick Tahou’s peppery pork hots and the basic garlic-packed Texas hots, as well as on grilled hamburgers.
Burgers are OK, but upper New York State is hot dog country. Nick Tahou’s are exemplary, if not epicurean. They are called Texas hots, and they are split and fried, which gives them a nice, chewy exterior and hash house raunch that boiled or even charcoal-grilled weenies do not offer.
As befits its menu, Nick Tahou is a raffish dog house, with chairs and tables scattered around and plenty of noise as customers call out for red hots and white hots with the works. While it has become a tourist attraction for its outlandish garbage plates, Nick Tahou is something very special to a large cadre of loyal locals. To regular customers, this place is home and family, infused by the generous spirit of Alex Tahou, who feeds needy kids at Christmas and takes care of neighbors and friends as well as newcomers all year around.