6th Avenue in Tacoma boasts some of the best restaurants and bars in the area, and locals go to the strip for good food and good vibes. The Red Hot is an inconspicuous hole in the wall with just two small signs on its front windows. It was filled with locals when I took a friend to for dinner on a Tuesday, which turned out to be $3 pint day. Almost every day of the week has some sort of special to get people through the door, as if The Red Hot needed more incentive than its laid back atmosphere, extensive menu, and large selection of local brews.
One of the most creative dogs on the menu is The Hound Dog: a salty hot dog topped with sweet creamy peanut butter and two slices of crisp bacon. Under the description for this dog the menu reads “trust us on this…” And so trust them I did. I was not disappointed – this hot dog is definitely strange, but it has the perfect mixture of salty and sweet and I found myself scarfing it down.
Two other dogs we sampled were our server’s favorites: the Tacoma Boys BLT and the Red Hot Frankfurter. Tacoma Boys BLT is topped with mayonnaise, two slices of bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, and fresh cracked black pepper. It tastes like a traditional BLT, but with the dog adding an additional level of flavor. It ends up being wonderful. The smoked pork shoulder Frankfurter is a mixture of spicy and sweet with sweet hot mustard, sweet relish, and grilled onions.
In addition to hot dogs and sausages, The Red Hot also serves “sidekicks” (BBQ beans, potato salad, Frito pie, etc.) as well as vegan dogs for those who abjure animal-based food. Being a beer-centric place, they are happy to fill up any clean growler you bring in and charge accordingly. (A growler is a beer tote.)
With more than twenty ways of serving dogs and sausages and countless brews on tap, this 21-and-over spot has become one of the most popular local hangouts.