I know there are some readers out there who are saying - "Does he know how unhealthy hotdogs are?" Yep! I do. I have a long time friend who is a retired dietician. She practiced her profession for some 30 or 40 years. She never let an opportunity pass when we were gathered at a group picnic to make her pronouncement that hotdogs were "tubes of death." We respected her and loved her, but on this issue we humored her and went right ahead and scarfed down those "tubes of death" slathered in mustard, catsup, pickle relish, sauerkraut, minced onions, chili and melted cheese. Nary a one of us gave it a second thought - other than, perhaps, indulging in this delicacy might shorten our individual life spans by a minute or five. It was worth the sacrifice.
So, here we have a place appropriately named, Heid's of Liverpool in Liverpool, New York, a suburb of Syracuse, across from Onondaga Lake. Now, it's always been my belief that when you see people lined up outside the door of an eating establishment the food was either so bad the proprietors were giving away free money OR the food was so good, people came from miles around (in my case untold miles at any given time) to wait their turn to enjoy the tantalizing treats awaiting inside. I can't, honestly, say I've ever run into a place like this giving away free money.
Fortunately, I arrived a bit earlier and didn't have to wait in the outdoor line, but wait in a line, I did. The hotdogs are locally manufactured in Syracuse by a company that went by the name of Hofmann. It didn't matter what supermarket I went into, there were always huge display cases full of Hofmann's hotdogs. I like that. It really gives whatever the food is a localized "flavor," no pun intended. I was not disappointed. My friends, John and Pat, recommended I try Heid's. John and I attended grad school together at Syracuse U and he's an ordained minister, too, so I know they wouldn't steer me wrong. They didn't.
Here is my tasty treat laid out before me. Now, I should mention that the decor, was bright and cheery, not unlike a 50's or 60's style drive-in hot dog joint. It was clean and almost filled to capacity, however there was another large outdoor eating area just beyond where I was sitting and there were lots of families there. Like Rutt's Hut and Hiram's in New Jersey, both outdating Heid's by decades from what I could tell, part of the charm of Heid's was maintaining that vintage ambiance.
But, as the saying goes, "The proof is in the pudding," or in this case in the hot dogs. So, here they are in their glory.
One is a chili-cheese dog with some chopped onions and the other is a mustard-sauerkraut dog with some chopped onions. The buns were different than in most hotdog places I've been to. They appeared to be white bread, sliced for the hotdog to be inserted. The hotdogs, of course, were from Hofmann. And, to top it off, we indulged in some French fries and a soft drink. This is NOT my normal kind of menu. I don't eat white bread, French fries are not health food by any stretch of the imagination and I don't indulge in soft drinks, preferring water or unsweet iced tea. But, THIS meal was part of my Great American Hotdog Caper and this is what's on the menu.