For wayward campus foodies looking for an inexpensive-yet-adventurous lunch option, I have discovered salvation. Although inaccessible for first-years without reliable transportation, Hot Diggity Dog, at 1325 Fruitville Pike, is the hot-doggiest addition to good, community-owned hangouts beginning to pepper Lancaster and its surrounding neighborhoods.
I dare say Kivo serves up a delicious dog or two but has only a few options, and sometimes it just isn’t enough to shift one’s gaze from the more exciting hot pastrami or the tantalizing cheesy fallback of the Kivo quesadilla. Sheetz offers three skinny, pallid dogs for 99 cents, with perhaps the addition of dog- food chili or canned cheese, and Turkey Hill does slightly better with roller sausages and ‘gourmet’ more-beef hot dogs. Even Sonic out on Route 30 offers some inspired, albeit soggy and gross, hot dog creations. However, there is nothing around town that remotely compares to the high-quality beef and ingredients or the amount of fun, fresh options available at Hot Diggity Dog.
I think the lack of chain hot dog joints on the East Coast is mostly due to a long-held belief that hot dogs are for cookouts or snacks and that’s that. Wily midwesterners know what’s up, though, and the reason the “Chicago Dog” is king at many hot dog peddlers is that those in the midwest wisely developed hot-dogs-as-sandwiches as a regional institution. And why not? Ground meat and products encased in a tube of collagen or intestine (mmm) should get the same treatment and time-of-day as its sliced deli-counter counterparts. It’s meat, it’s protein, it’s warm, it’s delicious.
One thing about the trend is the relative cleanliness of eating a hot dog as opposed to a burger or sandwich is removed with the addition of too many toppings to an unwieldy poppy seed bun. But whatever, eating wings is messy too!
Hot Diggity Dog is one of my favorite new places to eat as it is so different from many options around campus, and it is cost-worthy at that, which is a chief concern (or should be) for supposedly broke college students.
Here students may be as adventurous as they like, opting for classics like a plain dog with relish and mustard or a delicious made-fresh corn dog, or perhaps going a little on-trend with a Chicago or Chili-cheese dog. For the most audacious of gourmands, there is a full “that sounds kind of weird” part of the menu as well, which have all been delicious in my opinion.There’s the ‘must-try’ Moon Dog with strawberry jam and swiss cheese, the Los Angeles Dog with cucumber, tomato, avocado, ranch, and celery salt, the Albuquerque Dog with hot salsa, chili, jalapenos, and crushed tortilla chips… the list goes on.
And the best part of it all is that one hot dog does not a lunch make. No, these dogs are priced such that one or two will suffice for a peckish lady, but three or four will suit a ravenous college male just fine. This means, in one lunch, it is possible to try as many as four different types of gourmet hot dogs for the price of one Iron Hill burger (which can be delicious but sometimes boring).
What underscores all available choices at Hot Diggity Dog is their attention to quality. The fries are hand cut, the corn dog freshly battered, the cucumber and tomato newly sliced, and the chili warmed to order. The buns are soft and bedazzled with poppy seeds, so much better a cradle than stale Giant-brand buns. All dogs, even the footlong (did I mention there’s a footlong?), are high-quality Vienna hot dogs. Where are you going to find that in D-Hall? For the price, the variety of delicious choices available for a quick lunch is unparalleled on the F&M campus.
Although the seating and décor could stand to be updated, the quirky red and yellow do add to the experience of the ball-park favorite. The staff is friendly and swift, ensuring a pleasant but not overbearing service experience.
There are a few arcade games in the corner and a mural of a cowboy hot dog on the wall that suggest an underlying quirk. The polaroids of past champions of the now-retired hot dog eating challenge, which looked like it would have been a blast, adds to the juvenile but fun feel of the restaurant. Kids meals are served in adorable dog bowls, which has made every kid I’ve seen there crack up like a maniac. In short, the owners have created a neighborhood institution on the tails of a midwest favorite, cooking up their own specials and charming customers in the meantime.
Overall, the short drive to Hot Diggity Dog may be one of the best drives one can make during the four years at F&M. It is quick, inexpensive, and delicious, which to me seems like a trifecta on a collegiate wishlist.
Questions? Email Lauren at firstname.lastname@example.org.