Famous Lunch is an awesome old-school counter joint right off of main street in the small city of Troy, New York, about six miles up the Hudson River from Albany. The dogs here are tiny: slightly larger than a cocktail weenie, about three-inches long and 65 cents each. This is the style here and in nearby Watervliet, where we had similar dogs at Gus's.
Most of these Capitol Region mini-dog spots sell the same grilled Helmbold's hot dogs, but what really sets Famous Lunch apart is their "Zippy Sauce," surprisingly chunky and delicious. The sauce in the NY/PA/NJ area is in the "Greek sauce" family, but much more aggressively spiced, so loaded with paprika and cumin that bright red oil bleeds into the mustard and stains the rolls.
Famous Lunch has been a Troy landmark since 1932, originally opened as "Quick Lunch." The whole mini-dog thing started with local butcher shops like the Troy Pork Store who supplied Famous with their dogs until they closed their doors a few years ago. Today Helmbold's Meats supplies the dogs, but you can still get butcher made mini dogs at Rolf's Pork Store in Albany, a real-deal old-fashioned German sausage shop that makes their own everything. If you come up here for the dogs, be sure to stop in and bring home some sausage and weiners.
Besides the dogs—just four for $3, washed down with an ice cold RC Cola—Famous Lunch also makes some serious rice pudding, not to be missed. Grab some to go and take a stroll down the historical streets of downtown Troy.
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