Hot dogs have come a long way.
When I was a kid, my mom threw me a Hot Diggity Dog birthday party. There was an actual party kit you could buy that had paper napkins and plates with Hot Diggity Dog logos on them. The whole idea was just to boil hot dogs and serve them to kids on the plates. Napkin use was minimal. I just loved it.
Now I’m going to tell you about the Queen of hot dog places, also called Hot Diggity Dog. It’s the “queen” because it’s run by women. Women who know their dogs. Hot Diggity Dog is located in a Hobbit house in a rundown section of Nashville. You have to know you want to come here because it’s hard to find, even with a GPS in your car.
Hot Diggity Dog is the size of a good-sized closet inside. The line – and there is always a line – starts at the back and then winds its way to the counter. After you place your order you can get your drinks. There is no going back after you place your order. There’s no room. You make very good friends with the people in front of you and behind you. There is no choice.
Once you make it up to the counter, be ready to order in rapid fashion. There is no pausing to decide if you want the classic Chicago Dog (bright green relish, onion, celery salt, tomato and peppers) or the Nashville Dog (cole slaw, onions, mustard and chili). “What’ll you have, hon?” asks co-owner Gayle Davis in a thick Southern drawl (she’s at the far left of the photo). You’d better know, because she seems sweet but she needs to move the line along. You get dogs either steamed or grilled. You want grilled, trust me. Fries? You need them. The dogs are all beef, natural casings. They snap when you bite into them.
So here’s the pay-off. Steamed bun so it’s nice and squishy. Hot dog tender on the inside and snap-a-liscious on the outside. Homemade cole slaw and chili. Onions. Mustard. Yes. Yes! And the fries? Take a look at the paper bag. Can you not see the grease seeping through the paper? Does that not tell you that there are some delicious fries inside?
I don’t eat hot dogs every day. There was a phase where Mark and I ate Nathan’s hot dogs for a week. We gained five pounds a piece. So I keep my hot dog consumption to a minimum. But sometimes only Hot Diggity Dog will do. Mark and I have a phrase we use when we eat something utterly wonderful and unexpected. “It was just want I wanted and I didn’t even know it.” I always know it at Hot Diggity Dog.