Monday, December 13, 2010

Mr. Hot Dog in Bessemer - Lunch with Cousin Cliff

Not only did I have lunch with Cousin Cliff (not to mention Popeye), but this was right next door to Big Mama!

Yes, you guessed it, I had lunch at Mr. Hot Dog in downtown Bessemer with Cousin Cliff keeping watch over my table.

Mr. Hot Dog is a long time hot dog server located within a half block of the Bright Star in Bessemer. Talk about competition…. Wow. I was alone on this visit. There were 7 of us from my office who were in Bessemer on this day, but I alone went for hot dogs rather than going to the Bright Star. As I look back I remember my conversation with Mr. Hot Dog himself; as we talked he asked me how I came to start the hot dog tour. I responded; “I guess I’m just crazy”. Maybe the fact that I passed up going to the Bright Star is a confirmation of that. Oh well.

Regarding Mr. Hot Dog, if you need a quick easy lunch while in Bessemer, this is the place. I enjoyed the various pictures on the wall which featured various reminders of past decades.

Can one eat too many hot dogs?

My precious wife, a survivor of colon cancer, expressed her concern for my repeated hot dog lunches. Friday night I looked back at the last eight days and saw that I have had hot dogs for lunch five out of those last eight days. I can’t argue that this might be a little over the top. Accordingly my consumption of “tube steaks” might be reduced a little in coming days.

There is this urban legend that you don’t want to see hot dogs being made. I have watched a video on that topic and it didn’t discourage me. Take a look.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Deb’s Hot Dog’s in Bessemer

Our efforts to visit every hot dog server in the Birmingham area has become a little harder. I have a list of these places that includes areas around town that would require over an hour of travel time for a round trip to lunch.

This week my work is making it necessary for me to be in Bessemer for two days. I am taking advantage of this to have lunch at two hot dog servers in Bessemer. The first one I visited was Deb’s Hot Dogs, the second was Mr. Hot Dog (look for the next post).

Deb’s is a small white building that is easy to miss. We had good directions and still missed it on the first pass. Once we were there we found a down home atmosphere with a loyal following. For these visits Robert wasn’t with me but when I went to Deb’s I was accompanied by 3 people who work with me.

Our experience at Deb‘s was very good. None of these guys had been on a hot dog tour visit with me prior to this visit. They really got into the experience giving it somewhat of a party atmosphere. Even the food was good. After all, that’s what this is all about.

We all enjoyed our hot dogs and sides. The dogs at Deb’s are predictable hot dogs, very typical of the hot dog servers in our area. Interestingly when I told Deb about the blog she asked me; “Did I pass?” She most definitely “passed”; this place is a good place to stop when you are in Bessemer.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

WOW! Steve Malone Serves A Great Chili-Dog

This week Robert and I decided to make up for lost time over the last few weeks. We decided to go for dogs two days in a row. I even ended up doing three days in a row, but more about that later.

We went to Sneaky Pete's in Hoover on Thursday, then decided Friday morning to visit another vendor. I am always at a loss of what to call these guys; hot dog stands, hot dog restaurants, hot dog vendors... None of these seem to fit for everybody. Nevertheless we decided to search a NEW street vendor in downtown Birmingham. I don't remember who first told me about this guy, but somehow I heard about Steve Malone's new venture. I actually knew him in a "former life", but haven't seen him in several years.

Lets get down to business... the business of hot dogs.

I must say that his chili dog is possibly the best I have ever eaten! But, here's the whole story. Robert and I arrived at Steve's corner (6th Avenue North & 20th Street - right in front of the Church of the Advent). We were a little late for lunch and arrived to see him beginning to shut down. We immediately asked if he could still sell us a dog and were pleased to hear him offer chili dogs. As we waited a couple of other customers came up and also wanted to eat. Within the time it took us to finish he had sold slap out of hot dogs and chili.

I was taking pictures as usual so I told him about this blog and what we were doing. He then urged me to come back and see him in "full operation" with the perfect opportunity the next day, Saturday, at The Summit Shopping Center. This would be his first day at the Summit. Since this location is very close to my home I decided to drop by on Saturday to have another taste of his chili dogs as well as see the full operation.

Friday, downtown, Robert got his second dog after I did, and he ordered a chili-slaw dog and then proceeded to rave about it, but didn't offer me a sample. So, Saturday I was there at the Summit and really really wanted to try one of these. As it was being prepared I asked Steve to fix it like he likes 'em. He told me he calls it a Steve dog, locally prepared mustard, chili, relish and slaw (from the Urban Standard). It was great... I had intended to eat just one but had to order another. While I was there a rather hefty female customer came up and ordered a hot dog. I suggested to her that she should try a "Steve dog" which she did. After she had finished one she ordered two more (for herself). Wow, I just love to see somebody enjoy their food, and she did.

Have I said enough? Just in case I haven't I'll tell a little about the chili. His chili is a vegetarian chili complete with Wickles relish (a great Alabama product). This is unusual chili, not something one would eat a bowl of but designed just for hot dogs. The flavor is a little unexpected but is very good; then when combined with the slaw makes an outstanding package. Steve is a little low key about this dog but I think he should be a little more aggressive in offering this unique product. As I look back at my pictures I find I totally missed photographing the "Steve dog", but it wasn't around very long, neither one.

We have always been on the lookout for distinctly local and Southern products such as Golden Flake Potato chips. Steve has taken this to a new level by using a local boutique mustard, serving Buffalo Rock ginger ale and crediting Urban Standard for the slaw. There is nothing like supporting the local economy! Something else we always enjoy is finding a hot dog with a unique flavor or twist and this is definitely one. I hope to return for more.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sneaky Pete's in Hoover - The Owner Operator

This week after a week off for the Thanksgiving holiday we decided to make our first visit to the major chain of hot dog stands in town, Sneaky Pete's. We have admittedly avoided Sneaky Pete's in order to first visit many of the independents. Our first visit to the chain was to the Hoover location at 1550 Montgomery Highway, Hoover, AL. For those who haven't memorized street addresses for the city, this is in the shopping center just south of the intersection of I-65 and US-31 at the foot of Shades Mountain, just south of Vestavia.

Through the years I have been to many Sneaky Pete's locations on many occasions. The quality is somewhat inconsistent from location to location, but the product is generally good. On this visit to this location we discovered an owner operated franchise location run by Barry and Patty Marsh. Bary and Patty obviously take pride in their restaurant; they keep it clean and sell quality food.

Bottom line, this is one of the best Sneaky Pete's locations one can visit.

Somehow this outing grew to include quite a group. We had an entourage of six when we placed our order. Robert and I have this illusion that we keep out presence low key.... but this is blown when we start taking pictures. Maybe we should always try to take a big group so they are so busy filling our orders we don't get any attention. Nevertheless as we were leaving today, as we usually do we made our introductions and explained what we were doing. Barry was all smiles and welcomed our attention. That's what you get when the management is the owner, they know they are doing a good job.

Among the group we ordered a variety of hot dogs, but I heard no complaints. At my table I observed a foot-long hot dog, cheese fries, a special dog and of course a chili dog and regular hot dog all the way. This visit was enjoyed by all despite placing our lives in peril by riding with Huggy Bear.

A while back I suggested a "hot dog diet". My logic was that ones stomach couldn't handle a steady diet of hot dogs and one would eventually be forced to eat less. Sneaky Pete's urges one to visit "Morning, Noon & Night. Based on the experience at this location I have my doubts that my diet would work; this food is just too good.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Dee's Cart With A Heart

Somehow both Robert and I were too busy to make a hot dog excursion last week; so we were ready for hot dogs at lunch on Thursday. We are at the point where we are having to get a little more creative and go to a little more effort in our quest (to visit every hot dog server in Birmingham). We have both heard several glowing tributes to a hot dog cart in the area of UAB Hospital on Southside; so we decided to start finding the street vendors. We weren't even sure where to find Dee's but had no trouble spotting her at the busy corner of 7th Avenue South and 20th Street. Every day the weather permits, Dee parks her cart just around the corner from tho old University Hospital right outside the Dentistry Building. Her bright umbrella and hot dog shaped cart are hard to miss.

Here's an article about Dee that was in the Birmingham News a while back. LINK

So what did we find at Dee's. A surprisingly good product sold by a busy vendor with a loyal following! I went to our first street vendor prepared to lower my standards due to the difficulties of doing business from a cart only to find that Dee can compete with the best. We placed our order and chose to stand next to the cart to dine rather than walk down the block to some benches. It was interesting to see the mix of customers who came and went during our short time there. We noticed that she greeted several regular customers by telling them their usual order with a question mark on the end. One noticeable customer was a well dressed man in coat and tie who was buying his usual, an all beef dog with relish and mustard. He looked a little sheepishly at us and remarked how he should try some other options sometime; but I think he has found what he likes and doesn't need to experiment any more.

Here are some great positives we noticed:
  • The chili on the chili dogs is definitely fresh home made chili with a great flavor. Maybe she should sell it by the bowl.
  • Her drinks are stored in big tubs of ice and served ice cold.
  • The hot dog shaped cart is a real winner.
  • The prices are among the best values we have found anywhere.
  • Dee is a stickler for hygiene putting on a clean plastic glove every time she starts an order.

There are thousands of people within a close walk of her stand every day; and parking can be difficult in that area. So one would not expect much drive up activity, yet we were able to park within 20 feet of her stand and saw at least one customer pull up and pause in the turn lane for an order, an order that was communicated by a wave. I don't remember seeing anything like this at any of the other places we have visited.

This is one of those places I plan to return to. My next visit will most likely coincide with a trip to UAB for some reason other than lunch, but also will most likely involve some special planning in my schedule. It is worth the effort.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sammy's Old Fashion Hot Dogs

Today Robert and I visited Sammy's Old Fashion Hot Dogs. Sammy's is located in the strip shopping center just east of the location of the old Eastwood Mall. This shopping center is where K-Mart is located and backs up to Montevallo Road near Crestwood Blvd. I give the specific location because it is a little difficult to spot. The narrow space they occupy is located to the right of Dollar General almost behind a huge column.

Sammy's was started years ago by Sammy Guarino who is now a founder of Pop's (see last week). The current owners have had it for years and seem to have built a loyal following. I must say that Sammy's ranks among the friendliest hot dog stands we have visited. Early in our visit Robert told them about this blog and we talked a little about what we are doing. It is easy for these people to think this is a bigger deal than it is so I tried to put things in perspective.

Nevertheless, Michelle who works the counter, came out to talk with us as we ate. During our visit we learned about the pride they take in their hamburgers; we saw one and it definately looked good. Michelle thinks they have far surpassed the big specialty hamburger place nearby. We also talked about other items on the menu as well as some they don't carry. About the time we were finishing "Ike", Michelle's husband and master of the grill, showed up and gave us a "special dog" to try. Robert promptly cut it in half and we woofed it down.

That gray-headed old man is me preparing for my first bite of a Sammy's hot dog.
(Please ignore the expanding waistline)

We had talked about the special dog with Michelle as an item that they also pride themselves in. The few longtime readers of this blog may remember some of my previous comments about special dogs. They have never been a favorite of mine; in fact the usual presentation of a hot dog with a soupy gray beef concoction poured over it is something I really don't care for. BUT, the special dog at Sammy's is the first "special dog" I have ever had that I liked. The beef topping wasn't gray and was spiced sufficiently to add a good flavor. I'm glad I have found one of these special dogs that I like.

Overall the food at Sammy's ranks among the best we have found during the Great Birmingham Hot Dog Tour. The chili on the chili dogs was excellent, as well as their own special hot dog sauce which has a great flavor. We have observed that many hot dogs are served a little on the cold side; but not at Sammy's. The buns were fresh, soft and generally perfect.

I would offer them one piece of advice. I think they would do more business with better signage. As I said above, the narrow little shop is difficult to spot and easily missed. They should try to get a creative sign, maybe neon like Pete's, and have it placed on the big column that hides them from one side. Try to use the architectural barrier that makes them hard to see. Also it wouldn't hurt to redo the sign above their space to get it into good repair with a more eye catching design.

The bottom line is that I plan on returning to Sammy's for more.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pop's Grill

There is a new player in town. Pop's is located on 20th street just south of five points in the same storefront that old guys like me will remember as the location of Mancha's many years ago. I still miss Mancha's after all these years, but now we are talking about hot dogs, not tamales. Here's a link to their web site: Pop's.

Those close to me will immediately see a connection in the name. A few years ago when my first grandson was born my wife and I announced our "grandparent names". These both were inspired by names from my own family. I had a grand mother that I never knew. Her passing at a relatively young age was before any of her grandchildren could know her but her nieces and nephews knew her as "Aunt Bunny". Bunny became the name our grandchildren would call my wife. My grandfather was always known to me and all of his grandchildren as "Pop". That became my grandfather name. Of course I kind of liked "Kingfish" but what do I know?

So here we were at a sandwich shop named after my grandfather and myself. I was hoping it would be good.

They offer much more than hot dogs at Pop's. In fact their menu made it particularly hard to stick to our usual order. The usual order was originally conceived to aid comparisons as we visited numerous hot dog servers. We have tried to always order a hot dog and a chili dog, both all the way. Today Robert gave in to temptation and ordered a hot dog and a junk yard dog. A junk yard dog is a hot dog with all available toppings. This one came with chili, hot beef, cheese, slaw, and hot dog sauce. Aaron, who was with us for his last time before starting a new teaching job on Monday, ordered a chili dog and a Chicago dog. We did share samples between us as we went through lunch.

OK, one might ask: "How was it?" I'll sum it up as good. Pop's cooks your food after you order so there is a little wait. That was fine with us, and is better than some of the instant presentations we have been given. They seem to really be concerned about the customer's experience.

So, who is Pop? The guy who started this place is Sammy Guarino, a long time player in the hot dog business in Birmingham. He started Pop's to help set up his daughter Heather in business.

Heather graduated from Birmingham's Culinard culinary school and has decided to go into her father's chosen segment of the food industry. We came to find out that everyone working at Pop's today (there were five of 'em) are family members. One has to admire a family with that level of commitment to each other and helping get a new business off the ground.

We also found out that contrary to the posted hours Pop's is open for a "second shift" very late at night. They are doing a brisk business in the late (and early?) hours each night. This is unusual for a hot dog stand, but not for a "grill". These folks are go getters trying to optimize their return on their investment. I say; "Go for it", this is true entrepreneurship.

Give this place a try. It's not Mancha's, but it's a good sandwich shop/grill/hot dog place.

One final note, take a look at the picture below. This is not a large place, but they have two mirrored walls facing each other. You can see "forever" if your eyes are that good.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Tip Top Grill - Hot Dogs with a VIEW!!

This week we decided to visit the Tip Top Grill in Bluff Park. Tip Top is located about a mile further out Shades Crest Road from Mr. P's. This is a truly unique hot dog place being in a converted filling station perched on the edge of the bluff tight beside "Lover's Leap". This place is a little off the beaten path for most of us but is worth the trip.

Somehow I have lived all of my life in Birmingham and totally missed this particular little spot on the edge of Shades Mountain. Tip Top Grill has one of the most beautiful mountain views in this area. With abundant outdoor seating it is the perfect place for lunch in pleasant weather. By using just a little imagination you can experience a short vacation in your visit to Tip Top.

They are open from early in the morning until mid afternoon six days a week and serve a good choice of breakfasts as well as sandwiches at lunch.

So, how's the food? We each had our usual order of a hot dog and a chili dog with a side of chips (fries for Robert) and a drink.
The dogs are good. The hot dogs are much like hot dogs one would get at most of the hot dog stands in Birmingham. The chili dog is good also. The chili is a little different, having a sweet taste, but has a very good flavor. If there is any thing to criticize it would be that they seem to skimp on the chili a little. This makes for a neat civilized hot dog that doesn't drip or overflow but just seems a little too civilized. I would encourage the customer to request extra chili; then if more is needed ask if they are running out.

Don't leap Robert; we can come back!

Did I mention the view? There is not only a view complete with a mountain top breeze, but a short little trail down the rocks to visit the inscription on one of the boulders hanging high above the slope to Shades Valley.

P.S. - the second visit:

I liked this place so much I wanted to return a few days later on Saturday and take my wife, youngest daughter and her husband. They were VERY busy on this beautiful Fall Saturday which indicates that I am far from the first to discover this place. I have found the way to get more chili on the chili dogs. After I was served I took my tray and filled my drink cup, then returned to the counter and asked for some more chili on my chili dog. Rather than taking my dog back they gave me a cup with more chili in it which worked out just right.

One more thought... Here's the story regarding the poetic carving in the rocks just below Tip Top:

One of Alabama's first legislators, Thomas W. Farrar came to the site and camped for several days with his new bride on what he then called Sunset Rock. The Farrar's were on their way from their New Orleans' wedding to their new home in Elyton in 1827. It is here where he carved the first four lines of "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage", a poem by Lord Byron.

"To sit on rock, to muse o'er flood and fell,
To slowly trace the forest's shady scene,
Where things that own not man's dominion dwell,
And mortal foot hath ne'er or rarely been,"

Friday, October 15, 2010

"It's Just Sonic"

Yes, we visited Sonic to try their hot dogs. I have watched their commercials featuring their foot-long chili cheese dogs many times and always thought they looked good. We made the choice due to our desire to make this a shorter time away from work. We had talked about this for quite a while and decided that the cool days we had last week would be a good time to sit outside and eat at Sonic. So here we went, Robert, Aaron and I. I'll jump to the end and tell you; we all agreed that by far the best part of this visit was eating outside on this beautiful fall day.

We had to make some changes from our usual order at a traditional hot dog stand. We all ended up with a foot-long chili dog. Some with cheese and onions, some without. Our sides included tater tots, fried pickles, and onion rings. I also ordered a corn dog giving me way too much to eat. I didn't try to eat it all but had plenty. We all shared our sides with each other so we were able to sample everything on the table.

Notice above... the container that says "Random Tots" contains fried pickles. I'm not a lover of pickles and would never have ordered these. I tried 'em and didn't find anything I would be wanting again.The final assessment for our visit can be summed up with the phrase; "It's just Sonic." Nobody thought this was a wonderful meal. The price was low, but compared to most places we have visited, so was the quality. We agreed we wouldn't go out of our way to go there for hot dogs again. I could continue this post with many observations but don't think Sonic is worth the trouble. My advice; if you want a hot dog keep driving, you can do much better than Sonic. They do have some pretty good options on their menu but hot dogs are not among them.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Mrs. Storey's Dairy Bar

This entry is a guest post written by my brother, Robert. He and I have visited over twenty hot dog servers together over the past few months. Here he is writing about a visit to Mrs. Storey's Dairy Bar in Opelika Alabama. I have heard several reports about this place and look forward to visiting it myself the next time I am in the area of the educational center of the universe, Auburn Alabama.

I was in a hurry to get back to the office after my meeting in Opelika, and had little time. But, I took a few minutes to stop at Mrs. Storey’s for the footlong Chili-cheese dog that had been promoted. Since you don’t do FaceBook, I have clipped and pasted below the postings surrounding that. The top part of it is just the end of the posting. It wouldn’t all fit on the screen at once, and I was most interested in your seeing the comments.

As I was about to leave my client’s office in Opelika – at the next exit up I-85 from where 280 runs into it, I mentioned that I was going to Mrs. Storey’s and all three of the local guys that were standing there when I said it all gave hearty endorsements. When I got there, the building has two order windows facing the front and it looked as though the man at the window on the left was busy doing something, I don’t recall what now, but as I approached that window, a lady’s voice came from the window on the right, cheerfully saying, “ I can take you over here!”. So as I started to head that direction, the man in the window on the left finished what he had been doing and said (with cheer in his voice as well), “I can take you right here, too”. So with my being closer to the window on the left, the man won-out. As I was ordering, I told him I wanted a chili-cheese dog. He asked if I wanted footlong or regular length. I hesitated for a split second, and he said “footlong”. I told him that I was from Birmingham and told him about the Great Bhm Hot Dog Tour and gave him a card. I said that someone had commented on one of the postings and said we needed to go there and try out the chili-cheese dog, so there I was, 90 miles from Birmingham, to try his chili-cheese dog. He said, “I think you’ll be glad you did”.

The service was fast and was provided with an above-average attitude. My footlong chili-cheese dog was not a disappointment at all. It was served hot and had lots of chili and cheese sauce on it. After our footlong at Sonic the day before, I have to admit, I wasn’t really expecting anything this good. The bun was fresh and soft, the coney itself did not appear to have been grilled. I don’t know how they cook them, but I suspect they are just cooked in water. Even with that, the coney was not as fatty-tasting as the Sonic one. The overall flavor of this c-c dog was outstanding. Each bite exploded with tasty flavor. I’m not sure what else was on there aside from chili and cheese sauce I may be wrong, but I think there was at least some other type of sauce as well. The chili was only meat and sauce, no beans, but it had a lot of flavor. . . a lot of good flavor. I got the dog and a coke and sat at a table outside to enjoy them in almost-perfect weather. I opted not to get chips as I had enjoyed a late breakfast and snacks during my meeting with my client in Opelika. It was plenty of food. As I ate, I noticed that there was a constant flow of traffic, and it appeared that all orders were quickly filled.

When I finished my dog, I wanted to go back and talk to the proprietor(s), but they had customers standing at both windows, so I just headed for the car. As I was about to get in the car, one of the customers in line hollered at me and indicated that the man inside wanted to talk to me. I walked over to the window, and he (while he worked) leaned over so he could get a good look at my face and asked, “How did we rate?”. I gave him a smile and thumbs up and assured him he got a top rating.

So, my assessment is. . . if you are ever in the Opelika area, or within an hour of there come lunch-time, you need to go to 1900 Pepperell Pkwy and visit Mrs. Storey’s Dairy Bar. If you turn off 280 onto Pepperell Pkwy, it’s just a little past the hospital on the same side of the road (left).

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Gus's in Helena - Are there disappointments in life?

Yes there are disappointments in life.

This weeks visit ranks as one of those. This week we went to Gus' Hot Dogs in Helena. We asked the proprietor if this establishment is associated with Gus's downtown. The answer is no. He said that years ago he ran Gus's downtown but isn't associated with them now.

Robert and I as well as Aaron went there to sample their offering. Robert and I each ordered our usual, a chili dog and a hot dog, both all the way. Aaron ordered a chili dog and a "Polish Dog". We all added chips and a drink.

Aaron reported a good experience with the polish dog (see below). The polish dog is served with grilled onions and peppers (no mustard?). Robert and I have continued our practice of ordering a hot dog and chili dog at every visit. We have felt that the same order at every place helps with comparisons.

When we ate our dogs we made the following observations:
  • The "chili" at Gus' is not chili at all, and it's hard to imagine eating a bowl of this stuff.
  • The hot dogs were served at a temperature that is a little cooler than we would like.
  • The onions on the dogs were stronger than any we have yet encountered (this was our 20th hot dog server), I mean POWERFUL.
  • Below average! Sorry about that, I would love to give a better report but must be honest.
I went into doing these visits wanting to be positive and encouraging to the servers rather than critical but I must report a less than wonderful experience here. This has been confirmed by others who are not a part of this initiative.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Let's Go To YaYa's for a Q-Dawg

When you want a Q-Dawg there is only one place to go; YaYa's. This place sure wasn't on my radar screen but it's just the kind of place we have enjoyed visiting. They serve bar-BQ, grilled hamburgers, hot dogs, and Q-dawgs. A Q-dawg is a hot dog with kraut topped with pulled pork bar-BQ and sauce. When I talked about this to the folks in the office I got mixed reactions. I admit the concept makes one pause and think a little. It's probably not for everyone, just those who like good food. Of course you don't have to order a Q-dawg; you can get lots of other "samichs", or ribs on Friday or Saturday. For the real adventurer they also have a "nacho Q-Dawg", a Q-dawg topped again with nacho cheese sauce and peppers.

YaYa's is located on highway 119 about midway between Alabaster and Montevallo right in an area known as "Crossroads". We had to look for it because we drove right past it without seeing it the first time. YaYa's is a little trailer parked next to the building at the Pitstop gas station right at the crossroads intersection. We were told about this place by a friend of Robert's, who is the owner of Crossroads Cottage, Home of Forgotten Arts, which is right behind Yaya's.

When you get to YaYa's it doesn't take long before you encounter the proprietor, Tracy Hale who introduced himself to us saying; "Hi, I'm YaYa". This guy is an EXTROVERT and a delight to talk to. He see's himself as not only being in the food business but also the people business. He has quite a sense of humor which can be seen when you read some of his signs such as his posted hours of operation posted as:
MONDAY 10:57 - 3:37
TUESDAY 10:42 - 3:52
WEDNESDAY 10:50 - 4:51
THURSDAY 10:51 - 5:17
FRIDAY 10:37 - 5:67 (This must be another time zone!)
SATURDAY 10:39 - 6:39

He tells you the amount due for your order in "U.S. Currency".

We placed our orders and waited a few minutes while it was put together. We spent that time taking a few pictures and talking with our fellow customers. When we had our food we moved to the dining room, the picnic table under a beach umbrella just to the right of his trailer. I had told him about our mission, to eat at all the hot dog restaurants in the Birmingham area, and about the blog; so he came out and joined us at the table.

He started this business with a trailer restaurant that he took to festivals and other events but decided to find a permanent location so he could do a more consistent business. This is definitely a low budget location and operation but it's not low on quality, enthusiasm or service. They also have very good fried pies... not the factory ones like you get at Micky D's or Milo's... but real fried pies.

Now a few subjective observations:
* The barBQ sauce is a mild tomato based sauce with a good flavor.
* Their soft drinks are canned drinks kept in a cooler on ice!
* We agreed that this was the best value of ANY place we have visited so far.
* You just have to like this guy.
* While good, the Q-dawg wasn't the most flavorful samich I've had... I think a dash of salt would bring out more flavor.
* I have no doubts that I'll make a return visit to YaYa's.
* I'd like to see them serve Golden Flake chips or Zapps.

These hot dog guys like to play with spelling. A couple of weeks ago we went to "Sam's Super Samwichs" and now we go to YaYa's that shows "samichs" on the menu. That's fine... after all there's nothing high folutin bout hot dogs.