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.


  1. with pete's and tony's terrific closing a while back, i have been looking for a new hot dog place for a while. thanks to your blog, i tried sammy's today and loved it. i drive by it all the time but i have never noticed it. thanks for helping me find a new place.