Adorned with our fantastic Tour T's, we piled into the car around noon on Saturday headed for our first stop, The Dawg House in New Britain, CT.
Famous for their chili dog called the Strand Lunch Hot Dog, the boys ordered one each without question. I decided on a dog with kraut. The non-dog eating member of the team tried a side of loaded potato wedges. The first dogs went down easy with praise for the kraut since it's loaded with bacon.
The small stand has two indoor tables and a couple of picnic tables outside.
Large Parking Area
Extra Bonus points for carrying locally made Hosmer Sodas
Next on the trip was Capitol Lunch, New Britain.
They have been voted Best Hot Dog in CT and are known for their chili sauce. We ordered two chili dogs and a coffee. Their sauce was voted better than the Dawg House. The New Britain battle has been made and Capitol's sauce won out – but I still loved the Dawg House Kraut.
Plenty of indoor seating
On Street Parking
Extra Bonus Points for Mustache Vending Machine
Back to The Dawg House to meet up with our Massachusetts pals.
After a round of hugs and "how ya' beens" our newest members ordered 2 Strand Lunch Dogs and we all got another round of Hosmers.
Off to Portland, CT – where we're not sure, just somewhere on RT 66. It shouldn't be hard to find, it's a Checkered Cab pulling a Large Hot Dog Trailer. The actual trailer is in the shape of a Hot Dog. Just a short distance on 66 there it was in all it's Hot Dog Glory.
The caravan of cars pulled into the parking lot and we headed to the window. They didn't have a house "special", so everyone got something different. The New Orleans, A Bacon and Cheese, A New Yorker, & something hot and spicy completed our order.
Let's just say that the atmosphere and fun of the location made this drive out to Portland worth the trip.
Plenty of parking
Extra Bonus Points for the coolest Venue of the Day
On the road again, now the rush is on, can we get to the Dragon Boat Races on the CT River before the race is over and keep the caravan together? Working our way through town toward riverfront, we pulled over and 2 of the Hot Doggers took off to the Race. The rest of us headed to the North End of Hartford to the Ranch House.
This place was found while Husband worked in CT at a car dealership located nearby. The Junk Yard Dog is the dog of choice, a lengthy dog, not quite a foot long and loaded.
We ordered 3 Mild and 1 Hot, plus sodas. The Mild is hot, the Hot is unbearable but still tasty. The overall location is a little scary, but worth it for the experience. This one was instantly a favorite of all, of all time, not just the day (so far).
Plenty of parking
The afternoon turned to evening and we lost our MA Doggers, but the rest of us still pushed on. On the road headed to Newington, the destination was undetermined because a stand by the name on the list could not be found, just an address. WELL, that's because no one asked me. Husband misinterpreted my handwriting, telling our navigator that we were looking for Chet's when it was actually Chef's, with an "f", Dog House.
We walk in the door and are overwhelmed by the Largest Condiment Bar in the state. We belly up to the counter and ask, "What's the best?" We were told everything, we ordered 3 dogs and a chicken sandwich.
Dog #1 – Hot Dog wrapped in bacon, covered in cheese, chili and sautéed onions
Dog #2 – Hot Dog wrapped in bacon, covered in baked beans and sautéed onions
Dog #3 – Hot Dog covered in Sweet Pulled Pork BBQ and Cole Slaw
These were the most gourmet dogs we've ever had. Flavors blended so well together – I didn't even mind the Slaw. My mouth waters as I think about my dog's awesomeness. Never before have I had a hot dog meal that filled me but left me wanting more. We are in love with Chef's!!!! The variety makes this place somewhere you can come back to over and over again and never eat the same thing twice, unless you want to.
Side note – The Chicken sandwich was huge and the Non-Dogger raved about it.
Located in a plaza, so good parking
Super Friendly Staff, an Owner who takes pride in his food
The Largest Condiment Bar in CT
Birch Beer in the Soda machine
Bonus Points for the cute conversation cards on the table and the Hot Dog Statue.
Almost filled to the brim we load the car for the last stop on our tour. We head to Waterbury for a taste of the famous Frankie's Hot Dog.
We pull into the crowed parking area. I am in desperate need of a bathroom, which there is none. The boys each purchase a chili dog, while I take the kid to get ice cream next door. The dogs are a foot long beef/pork blend with a heavy tomato meat sauce. Surprised by the overall size of the dog, the boys shoved them in.
Parking is tight when busy
Car eating or standing room at a little counter
Beside an ice cream shop for desert
Bonus Points for a great sign and vintage hot dog stand feel.
Overall the day ends with 156 inches of hot dog consumed by the team along with 7 lbs of condiments. One chicken sandwich, side of potato wedges, bag of chips, dish of ice cream, 1 milkshake, 2 cups of coffee, 1 beer and undetermined amounts of soda and water.
Our 2011 Hot Dog Tour of CT decided the Junk Yard Dog from the Ranch House is the favorite, but that location is a one hit wonder.
The New Favorite – All of Chef's Dog House Dogs are fantastic – so fantastic that it's already on the Tour list for 2012.
All of these locations are worth a visit.