Serious Eats: Talk

Hot Dogs in Rhode Island

I was to Rhode Island last weekend to visit my daughter who recently moved there. Although I wasn't there to sample hot dogs, I managed to get to 2 places. There were 2 more on my list that were close to one of the 2 that I visited, but unfortunately one was closed for the weekend for renovations (Moonlight House of Weiners), while the other one (Main Street 2000 Restaurant) is now an Indian restaurant.

I went to New York Lunch first on Main Street in Woonsocket. They call hot dogs weiners or "gaggers", even "gaggahs". Most in this region consider a hot dog to be an all beef frank while a wiener is beef and pork. The product at New York Lunch is the same as what is served at New York System Restaurants. A tiny frank prepared on a griddle and topped with mustard, onions, meat sauce, celery salt and placed in a steamed bun. Coffee milk is unique to Rhode Island and is the preferred drink. I forgot to order one. New York Lunch is an old school diner that has been around for decades. The grill faces the window in this tiny storefront like many older places.

The frank was the tiniest I ever saw. Maybe 2 inches. I can't even guess how many to the pound. It was $1.13 with tax. The frank was a skinless beef and pork dog from Grote & Weigel of Connecticut. I got mine with mustard, meat sauce and celery salt but left off the onions. The frank was warm, not hot, and somewhat mild but good. The bun was steamed nicely and slightly bigger than the dog. There was plenty of meat sauce. It, along with the celery salt provided a unique flavor; different than the Texas Weiners I'm used to in New Jersey. While I prefer a good Texas Weiner, I enjoyed the New York Lunch wiener and would return. I only had one because I wanted to make room for the 2 other places that I didn't get to (see above), another place that I did get to, and the family barbecue planned for later.

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