Review by: Michael Stern

Welcome, Hot Dog Lovers

Come to Rawley’s and find a Gold Coast hot dog snack shack with blue ribbon red hots. At noon, mobs of hungry Fairfield County citizens throng the counter. Here you will see blue collars, white collars, and no collars. (None other than Martha Stewart tipped us off to this place, many years ago.) Regular customers come to eat hot dogs cooked the Connecticut way — a way that many believe Rawley’s invented right here just after World War II.

How They’re Made

They boil natural casing dogs in oil in a deep fryer until the dogs are ready to burst. The chef then rolls them around on the griddle. He cooks them until their skins turn crusty. He then beds the crisp, plump wieners in buns that he has toasted on the same full-flavored griddle. Now you need to choose which condiments you want. Mustard, relish, sauerkraut and a handful of crunchy cooked bacon shreds top what is billed as a “works dog.” If that doesn’t suit your fancy, you can choose chili and/or cheese. Or get a “hot chihuahua dog” with mustard, onions, and hot relish.

Beyond Hot Dogs

Rawley’s has made its reputation on hot dogs since it opened in 1947, but it also serves some fine hamburgers. In addition to cheese and bacon, you can get some of that good hot relish on one called a Mexican burger.

On the side, choose good thick-cut French fries. Top them with chili and/or cheese if you wish. I prefer them as-is. To drink: a milk shake. Dessert: fried apple caramel pie.


You practically can taste the atmosphere at Rawley’s. At the counter, count on repartee among customers, waitstaff, and chef. Adjacent to the counter you will find a small, wood-paneled room that is carved floor to ceiling with customers’ initials and sentimental odes to this, the granddaddy of Fairfield County gold coast hot dog joints.

What To Eat

Deep Fried Dog w/ Works

French Fries

Rawley’s Special


Rawley’s Recipes


What do you think of Rawley’s?

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