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Posted by Chris & Amy Ayers on Tuesday, December 14, 2010 7:41 PM

Chili Half Smoke

After long last, Our Nation's Capital welcomes a specialty hot dog vendor to Capitol Hill: DC-3. Ben's Chili Bowl, a Roadfood favorite, has been dominating the weiner landscape for decades, but DC-3 is proving to be a worthy adversary, featuring nearly a dozen regional hot dogs. The usual suspects are included: Chicago dog, New Jersey rippers, Cincinnati coneys, and a D.C. half-smoke to rival the original from Ben's (pictured above). More interesting, however, are the lesser known varieties from Rochester (white hot), West Virginia (slaw & sauce), Maine (red snapper), and Tucson (Sororan dog). Jennifer Steinhauer of the New York Times wrote a fine piece on all the hubbub, including DC-3's parent company that also owns Matchbox Pizza and Ted's Bulletin. Visit the DC-3 website for the skinny, especially their Korean dog with bulgogi beef and kimchi!

Source: New York Times


I looked at the hot dog menu for DC-3. While they attempt to feature regional styles they often use the wrong type of dog, which to me fails to make their example of the regional style an authentic one. The true Jersey Ripper is made with a dog that is at least 80% pork and has special ingredients that aid in frying. The relish is a mild mustard based one. DC-3' uses a beef dog and a jalepeno relish, which is all wrong.

West Virginia's dogs are milder beef/pork dogs, not a spicy Nathan's. I know people in West Virginia who have tried Nathan's and can't stand the overpowering garlic. It is not typical of the mild pedestrian dogs used in West Virginia.

Most Coney's in the Cincinnati and Detroit areas use a beef/pork frank, but again DC-3's version uses a Nathan's. The New York Street Vendor Dog is always all beef, but never a Nathan's. Sabrett is the overwhelming choice. Occasionally you see Golden D or Hebrew National. Nathan's are for grilling. It's even stated on the packages of Nathan's natural casing franks.

Some of the offerings, such as the Chicago 7, the Rochester White, and the Maine Red Snapper get the brand of dog right, but overall they could have done a better job researching these regional styles. Not getting the frank (which should be the focus) right is akin to advertising a Philly cheesesteak and using swiss cheese.
Posted by John Fox on Tuesday, Dec 14, 2010 7:35 PM

Excellent point, John! Maybe they're attempting to keep costs down by using alternate brands? Maybe regular customers won't notice? We all know that the first year of a restaurant's existence is crucial to its survival, so I guess we'll have to see.
Posted by ayersian on Tuesday, Dec 14, 2010 7:59 PM

Oof. The phrase "dominating the wiener landscape" is going to haunt my dreams.
Posted by Suzy Gruyere on Wednesday, Dec 15, 2010 10:54 AM

Leave it to DC to create a vanilla, whitebread version of a classic. Everything here is a vapid corporate version of a popular mom & pop classic somewnere else in the country.
Posted by Farfel280 on Wednesday, Dec 15, 2010 11:17 AM

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