Phat DogsI have to be honest: I would have never given Phat Dogs a second look, much less
stepped inside, if it was not for my co-worker’s insistence that we were eating there for lunch. Given that McDonald’s was the only other option in the vicinity of
where we were working Monday, I did not put up much of a fight.
The Phat Dog
Call me a hot dog snob, but when I see a place in a strip mall with “dogs” in the name, I tend to think of cheap, boiled hot dogs and an evening of gastric misery. Hot dogs are cheap fare reserved for baseball games and the kid’s menu at your friends’ 4th of July barbeque and not something I go out of my way
to dine on.

Phat Dogs is not this type of hot dog joint. It made me realize that there are actually two types of hot dog restaurants in the world – the ones I avoid… and Phat Dogs.

I knew something was different when I walked up to the front door. A Hebrew National sign in the front window can never be a bad sign. The restaurant is small, extremely clean, and you know without asking that the couple behind the counter are husband and wife (this is important because if love is in the room, then there is a good chance some finds its way into the food). The décor is all music related, with enough old concert posters and instruments on the wall that you want to know who has played there and when the next show is.

But I digress; Phat Dogs is about the dogs.

You can never go wrong when you start with Hebrew National all-beef Kosher franks. Or maybe you prefer a bratwurst… how does a ¼ pound Johnsonville brat sound? Cook them over a flame and cover them in chili, cheese and onions and you have yourself a lunch you can enjoy instead of just trying to get a bite before you go back to work. A variety of other toppings are available, as are burgers and a selection of other sandwiches just in case you are in the mood for something besides an outstanding hot dog.

The Phat-Dogs story goes like this – Walt and Donna were a happily married couple working 8-5 jobs in the corporate world (the New American Dream, if you will). Well, corporate downsizing and cheap overseas labor sent them to the same unemployment line that at least 10% of Americans find themselves in today. Not content to wait for opportunity to knock, they made their own and put their passion into a simple, yet unique dining experience.  A straightforward menu with quality ingredients served in a family friendly, loving environment… how could they go wrong?

I discovered Phat Dogs on a Monday because it was convenient and I did not feel like arguing with a co-worker. I went back on Wednesday because I wanted lunch instead of fast food. I will go back again with my family and anyone else that wants a quality lunch from quality people because that is what Phat Dogs is there for. 

Walt and Donna’s menu features a quote that epitomizes the heart and soul of their restaurant: “If music be the food of love, play on, play on, play on!”

Any hot dog shop that quotes Shakespeare is definitely worth a taste.