Excellent | Worth a Detour
Review by: Michael Stern
** THIS RESTAURANT IS PERMANENTLY CLOSED **
Top Dogs’ quality 1/4-pound all-beef hot dogs are not themselves overwhelmingly flavorful, nor are they cooked in a way that imparts flamboyant personality (such as over charcoal, in boiling oil, or on a well-lubricated flat-top). Their uncomplicated character makes them right as a proper pink canvas for everything that goes on them. Everything.
Of course, there are mustards and relish and onions, ketchup, BBQ ketchup, and sriracha ketchup. Even better: house-made chili that is densely meaty, brightly spiced but not peppery. It’s dandy combined with cool cole slaw, yellow mustard, and crisp onions to become a model Dixie Dog.
Top Dogs’ spicy chili also shines when paired with what’s billed as pimento cheese but is more a creamy-rich pimento cheese sauce. The meat/cheese, spice/cream harmonies of this duet atop a plump wiener and inside a fresh, tender bun are hot dog heaven.
Another not-to-miss topping is Top Dog sauce, which looks like 1000 Islands dressing and tastes like its not-so-sweet cousin. With brown mustard and Swiss cheese, it makes a Reuben dog to remember.
In addition to the regular all-beef hot dogs that are the core of the menu, Top Dogs lists brats (with grilled onions & peppers), Italian sausage (with pepperoni & mozzarella), and Wild Game dogs, which “vary depending on availability.” When I visited, the cook had run out of rabbit, but was hoping to get more.
Wondering out loud exactly why my chocolate shake was so especially rich and creamy, I was informed that unless customers specifically ask for a milk shake made with milk, they get one made with heavy cream. Alrighty!
Mention must be made of Top Dogs’ prices. Given the quality of what’s being served and the effort to do it with panache, they are low, indeed. A regular dog is $1.99 with free toppings (mustard, relish, ketchup, etc.) or $2.49 with premium toppings (chili, pimento cheese, cole slaw, sauerkraut, cheese). A Reuben dog is $3.25; a wild game dog, $4.25. A heavy-cream milk shake is all of $3.15.
Order and pay at the window, find a table or a window seat overlooking Main Street (or a picnic table outside), and the meal is brought to you when it’s ready.
|Credit Cards Accepted||Yes|