Saturday, November 26, 2011

Hot Dog Shoppe

It was just like I remembered.

We had been on the road for eight hours. Coming from Connecticut, with a stop in the Hudson Valley for a snack lunch, we were tired and hungry when we saw the rotating, illuminated hot dog over the low buildings lining West Market St.

My father had worked at the post office a couple blocks further down and sometimes lunched there. I didn't go there often, maybe a couple times with my dad, but it hadn't changed. We rolled in around 6:30. It was already dark outside and there was a line along the wall waiting for seats to open.

Inside are several lunch counters, punctuated by a few small booths. As seats opened up, we took them in order. Parties such as mine, that wanted four seats together, let smaller parties grab pairs of open seats as they came free, waiting for four in a row or a booth. It didn't take long for us to be seated, nor did it take much longer for the line to dissipate. It's a popular place, but one where the diners churn quickly.

My daughter doesn't like hot dogs, but got one anyway to try. She liked it. My wife got two with sauerkraut. She's a New Yorker and still enamored with Nathan's hot dogs. What can I say? I was never a fan of either Nathan's nor Ted's Red Hots. I'm not a fan of Yuengling even though I like odd lagers. Tastes are funny things.

My son ate two and asked for more. I had three with sauce and forgot to ask for onions. Still, they were just like I had remembered. The homemade fries were hot and tasty. The shakes were thick and delicious. What else can you say about a place where you have to wait to sit at a Formica counter? They keep it simple, which is their strength and their charm.

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