Gonzo journalist finds hot dog heaven

Commentary Opinion

I love hot dogs. It is practically its own food group to me. Meat, bread and whatever goodness you throw on top of it. Why wouldn’t anyone love that?

One thing this town loves is a new eatery. If there is some place different to grab a bite of a new kind of grub then that is the place to be in old Joe Town. It is refreshing to see that after a bombardment of soulless chain restaurants multiplying across the belt highway a local small
business can still put out the best taste in new dining opportunities. It is great to know that at the corner of Patee street and 10th you can find the culinary delight of the Salsa Dog.

Photo | Dan Donan

I have eaten there five times already. It is the best thing that has been in my mouth in a long time.
Robert Wilson Jr., owner and proprietor of Salsa Dog, opened the little shop on June 8, 2009. Salsa Dog has endured a busy summer and fall and face a future of great potential.

“I retired from the post office almost two years ago now and I have owned the building for 18 years,” Wilson said.

“I let it sit vacant and rented it out and never knew what I was going to do with it,” Wilson said. “I never knew why I held on to it. I guess this is why. Through the Food Channel and food shows I tried to cipher from my knowledge what St. Joe had and didn’t have and what it needed and this is what I came up with.”

This is the kind of place that could save the economy. With six part-time employees it could grow into a chain to feed the city. Wilson is man with ideas and a vision of growth.

“I am looking at several options,” Wilson said. “Maybe expanding this building. I am also looking at some other locations on the belt or other high traffic areas.”

I suggested they come to the college.

If you are a quality consumer of the tube steak like I am, then you should know this is the kind of place you can go to get a classic Chicago Dog. Or I might suggest their latest creation. “The latest one we have come up with is called the Alamo Dog and I think it is by far the best hot dog we have,” Wilson said.

Tabby King, manager, has a different favorite. “I like the St. Joe Dog.” Wilson said.

“It has the homemade chili and the homemade salsa on it.”

King has been delighted by the reactions of their customers.

“They love it. I haven’t had one bad remark ever,” King said.

While I was last there I even disturbed random customers to get their opinion of what they had eaten. Turns out that Salsa Dog is already drawing customers on a regional level.

John McNally, an out-of-towner, made the drive north to try these delicious dogs. “We are from Kansas City,” McNally said.

“This is the first time we have been in here. We have a friend in lives in St. Joe and she recommended four places I had to eat here, and this place was one of them. I highly recommend the Alamo Dog.”

I even force-fed a few fellow employees at Plaza 8 just to spread the gospel of the greatness that is Salsa Dog. Justin Peacock, senior at Western, had a large dog with nacho cheese. “It was good!” Peacock said. “The actual hot dog was good. I see myself eating there again.”

Kenzie Hampton, Western freshman, had a small dog with nacho cheese. “It actually is really good and I normally don’t eat hot dogs,” Hampton said.

Brandon Hankins, Central High senior, consumed a large dog and some chips and cheese. “It was amazing. I love it,” Hankins said.

Western sophomore and fellow staff writer, Nick Merrill, actually ate the Alamo Dog and a side of baked beans. All he could say afterward was “Salsa Dog got me.”

With a growing client base we can hope that Salsa Dog is here to stay because the day of the dog has come. Already, Wilson knows they have impressed some names on the local market. “Johnson Control, St. Joe Distributing, Boehringer, those have been some of our major customers,” Wilson said. “They all have quite an order when they call and they appreciate us being able to come out there and deliver.”
That’s right. They deliver .

So what are you waiting for? Get some.

Comments are closed.