The poor hot dog. While countless chains are devoted to fast-food staples like burgers, pizza and chicken, the lowly frankfurter is typically relegated to the bottom of the restaurant menu. An also-ran. An afterthought. Outside of sports stadiums, the hot dog is truly the Rodney Dangerfield of the food world. No respect at all.
But not at Fox Dogs in Rocky Hill, where The Grub Spouse and I dropped in for a recent dinner. Owner Michael Fox greeted us, introduced himself upon our arrival and gave us a personal overview of his operation, from the costumed mascot, Frank, to the menu, which celebrates all things hot dog.
The staple of their fare is the Fox Dog (don’t call it a hot dog, or the proprietor threatens to send you to the back of the line). It’s a quarter-pound, 10-inch, all-beef, kosher frankfurter, upon which you can heap on traditional toppings (ketchup, mustard, mayo, onion, cheese) and deluxe fixings like chili, bacon, tomato, slaw, sauerkraut, queso dip and jalapenos.
Also available is the Fox Tail, a six-inch, scaled-down version of the Fox Dog, and Italian sausage served on a fresh roll with Dijon mustard, sauteed peppers and onions and queso dip. All franks, by the way, are grilled, not steamed or boiled.
There are also several specialty dogs featuring different topping combinations. The one that caught my eye was made with diced tomatoes, pesto and onions. But I also wanted to try their sauerkraut. So instead of getting one Fox Dog, I got two Fox Tails — one with kraut and Dijon mustard and one with the aforementioned combo.
The Spouse decided to try their homemade baked-chicken noodle soup as well as a Fox Tail with Dijon mustard and onion. We got to sample their chili topping, which is made with beef and Italian sausage (and tasted out of this world), and we were told they make a mean bowl of chili. However, none was available during our visit.
Other menu items include burgers and sliders; a customized grilled cheese sandwich with choices of bread, cheese and toppings; mac and cheese; and a signature item, Road Kill, which is similar in concept to the Petro, but made with bite-size chunks of a Fox Dog frank as well as chili, cheese, Fritos and veggies, all served in a cup.
We were impressed with everything we tried. The dogs were beefy, the buns fresh and squishy, and the toppings were applied meticulously (almost artistically) to each frankfurter. The soup was also very good, featuring chicken that’s baked with the skin on (it’s removed before the chicken is added to the broth) and a broth that didn’t overwhelm us with sodium.
We saw a peanut butter and apple cobbler on the dessert menu, but we decided not to pursue sweets this time around.
Note that Fox Dog’s space (not affiliated with Fox’s Pizza Den) can only accommodate a handful of diners inside, so if you visit, you may want to plan on taking your food to go. Also, they don’t serve Coke or Pepsi. But this is still one fast-food operation where going to the dogs is a definitely a good sign.
Food: 4.5 stars (out of five)
Address: 7664 Northshore Dr.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays
No alcohol service
Bottom line: We think you'll relish the thought of hot dogging your way through this Rocky Hill eatery's fast-food fare.
© 2013, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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