Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Scott's Koneys is Alive and Well

I can't believe it has been 3 weeks since I have written about hot dogs. I've had several; but haven't taken the time to write about it. So I will try to remedy that now.

A couple of weeks ago Robert and I started out hoping to eat at a hot dog cart I had spotted one weekend in front of Lowe's at Wildwood. The cart wasn't there that day so we decided to head on into town and make a return visit to Scott's Koneys on Southside. Scott has to have more seating than any other hot dog stand in Birmingham. The picture below shows just part of the dining area.

They are located on the ground floor of the parking deck on 3rd Avenue South at Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd. (formerly 21st Street). This is the parking deck located behind the old Liberty National building which is now vacant. If you ever want to have a hot dog party for a big group, this is the place to have it... for more reasons than one.

I already mentioned the size of the facility. Let's add to that free parking in the parking deck when they stamp your ticket. Then there is Scott himself and the good food they serve.

I had forgotten what a nice guy Scott is. He is a real people person who enjoys interacting with his customers. In recent years his business has faced the loss of all the occupants of the adjacent building when Liberty National moved out. He is still hopeful regarding future development of that building. Regardless, his business seems to be good. He once told us that his corporate customers that call on him for big events has kept his business alive; but there was a good crowd there for lunch the day we were there. I noticed him greeting several by name.

Now to the important part, the food. Dogs, to be precise. Scott's hot dogs rank right up there among the best you will find. The hot dogs are served "Birmingham style" unless you request something special. I recently wrote about what I call "Birmingham dogs", the hot dogs served with an owners own recipe for sauce, mustard, kraut and onions. Scott's sauce is as good as any I have had and better than many. The chili for a chili dog is flavorful and thick, a perfect for topping a hot dog.

On this trip I stuck with my usual order of a hot dog and a chili dog while Robert had a chili dog and a slaw dog. We thoroughly enjoyed our hot dogs and agreed that they are among the best we have had. I'm reluctant to call any hot dog the best, but Scott's is definitely on the short list of favorites.

While we were eating these dogs Scott was talking about his sausage dog. The sausage dog is somewhat like the polish sausage dogs available at many hot dog stands, but is made with smoked sausage. We were intrigued so we ordered one to split for desert. Yes we are the same two guys who dieted and had significant weight losses a few months ago, but not that day. Let me assure that this is a good dog and is worth going out of your way for.

As we were finishing up we talked with Scott a little and he was telling about his breakfasts and how much bacon he serves. He then suggested that next time we are there we should ask for a bacon dog. Now, there isn't a bacon dog on the menu, but he assured me that it wouldn't stop him from fixing one and that I would love it. His bacon dog is a hot dog with the addition of some bacon. Scott agrees with the southern cooks who think that bacon is a good addition to any food. I've said before that I enjoy the unusual and unexpected when we encounter it on these hot dog excursions. Well, that day we found another unexpected treat in Scott's sausage dog along with the idea firmly planted that we need to go back for a bacon dog.

I keep thinking about Scott's and his breakfasts and that bacon dog. I really want to find a reason to go downtown one morning and have breakfast and maybe even hang around for a bacon dog and a sausage dog at lunch. Hey, maybe I could take my laptop and work down there one day. I can dream about it whether I do it or not.

More posts to come.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Civic Center hot dogs

A week ago I took some family members to see the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Baily Circus at the BJCC. I had planned on buying a hot dog because that's what I do. But, it was getting close to show time and the lines were long so I just stopped to take a look.

I will admit that my preconceptions regarding these dogs was probably a little too negative. I could see they had a stash of hot dogs already in their buns and wrapped being kept in a warmer. (See above, between the popcorn and pretzels) That's the only way to do it when serving throngs of people in a short amount of time. The buyer picks up his undressed dog and goes to a nearby station where he can ad toppings from dispensers and individual packages. It was all remarkably clean and seemed to be handled professionally. These concession stands are run by independent vendors who contract to do this for all events; so they get lots of practice.

I took a few pictures and quickly got the attention of the workers including the manager, Ms Smith. I can't blame her for coming out to talk since she had no idea who I was or why I was taking pictures during her rush time. I assured her that there was no malicious intent and that it is all in the fun of having hot dogs. While I talked to her I even mentioned that this would probably be the only hot dog place I would ever write about where I didn't try the dog. I told her that the prospect of standing in a long line to get a cold soggy hot dog wasn't appealing. She quickly assured me that her dogs are kept hot and fresh. I will admit that the stash they had in the warmer was not large so they were most likely just as she said; hot and fresh. I wish I had tried one now.

Here's a thought about waiting in lines. There are many places in the world where people do not line up and wait to take their turn, but instead push and shove their way forward. We are fortunate to live in a nation where our heritage has given us an expectation that we will respect and be considerate of others and receive the same ourselves from those around us.