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.