Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Lyric Hot Dogs
This week we decided to go downtown again. This time to Lyric Hot Dogs, one of the long time hot dog stands downtown. Lyric is a great place! It's a hot dog stand that first opened in 1957 and has grown with the times. Lyric is an interesting place to visit, if for no other reason because of the design. This place has been updated with a retro look which includes lots of neon, vinyl booths and stools and the feel of a 50s soda fountain. This sure fits for a business founded in the 50s.
We were joined this week by this blogs first (and only) official follower, so there were three of us. We anticipated having a hard time finding a parking place near Lyric but there was no problem with that. Lyric is located on 3rd Avenue North near 18th Street and we found plenty of empty parking spaces right on 18th. For the author this is a little sad because I remember the vibrancy of downtown Birmingham not too many years ago, but hey... the changes make it easier to get to Lyric today.
My brother and I each made our usual order of a chili dog and hot dog all the way with chips and a drink. Our companion ordered a chili dog and a special dog, both without kraut, a bag of "pickle chips" and a drink. I am hoping he will write his own contribution to the blog addressing "special dogs". I previously wrote about how special dogs are not my favorite, but today made me think twice about that. His special dog had a meat sauce that didn't have the gray soupy appearance that I've seen before. He remarked that a special dog just needs to be special but not the same at every presentation. He remarked that he was surprised and pleased by the special dog he was served on this occasion.
Our orders of a hot dog and chili dog were good. Not exceptional, but good. The chili was better than most we have encountered so far. The whole order was good even though not surprising. We can all do very well without SOME surprises in our lives. We discussed the chili on the dogs and agreed that we thought it was canned chili with additional spices added. It had been simmering long enough to be thick and not the least bit runny which makes for good hot dog chili, yet we could also imagine eating a bowl of this chili (maybe a little thinner in consistency.)
The avid reader of this blog (is there one?) will remember the "dining room" At Gus's; well Lyric has not one but TWO little counters in the front windows where two customers can sit and eat. I really wanted to eat in one of these "private dining rooms", but alas, there were three of us making this impossible. Maybe I can return soon and sit there!
The only possible negative comment regarding this visit would be that our table was less than clean. BUT, for a hot dog stand/restaurant I am coming to accept that this is to be expected at lunch time. I will try to restrain from commenting on this in the future when writing about traditional hot dog stands. The small operation doesn't have the staff to be continually cleaning like they do at the Varsity.
This place might become my favorite hot dog stand. I am considering a return visit soon just to try the special dog and a corn dog. Bottom line.... Try them out, you will not be disappointed.
OK, One more bottom line regarding Lyric. They are located in the Lyric Building at the corner of 3rd Avenue No, and 18th St. (Nobody has renamed either street yet). This building is the location of the OLD Lyric Theater which was originally a vaudeville house. It is now owned by Birmingham Landmarks, the same organization that restored the Alabama Theater and Carver Theater. This is a unique Birmingham location that might someday be restored. I hope so and look forward to that day.