I want to remind everyone that I will be picking a reader to join me for a meal on my summer food tour of local restaurants. To enter for a chance to eat with me, all you have to do is send an email with your name, address and telephone number to Akochirka@goerie.com.
For 64 years, Eddie’s Footlong Hot Dogs has been a Meadville, Pa., staple. Amanda and I were joined by two Saegertown, Pa., natives (and soon-to-be-newlyweds) Whitney Graham and Justin Catalano. We met them at Eddie’s shortly before 7 last night. This hot dog stand is just that; besides the foot-long Smith’s hot dog, you can order a sloppy Joe sandwich or nachos and get chips or fries as a side; simple and to the point. This was my first Eddie’s experience, so I wanted all of the suggestions I could get. I let Whitney and Justin order first so I could get a longer look at my topping choices, as well as steal some ideas from what they ordered. I found out that you can split a foot-long and get two sets of toppings, and because I couldn’t decide on one thing, this was perfect for me. Amanda went first and ordered hers with kraut, relish and mustard and a side of fries. I got mine split in half. The first half had the works: ketchup, mustard, relish, onion, kraut and sauce. I stole the idea for my second half from Whitney and got cheese, onions, jalapenos and Joe and a side of fries as well.
Each hot dog is cooked to order, so we had a few minute wait. I was hungry and couldn’t wait to try these hot dogs. They are really known for their “sauce,” so I saved that half for last. The combination of the cheese, onion and peppers overpowered the taste of the sloppy Joe. Don’t get me wrong; the other toppings were good,. but I would have liked to get more of the Joe taste. I will ask for it to go on last so it is the first layer of flavor in the bite.
My second half was delicious. Ketchup, mustard, onions and relish are pretty standard on my hot dogs, with the occasional kraut, but it really was the sauce that made it. The secret “sauce” is a family secret that very few people know. I got a separate cup on the side so I could taste it without everything else to try and determine what all was in it (as well as just eat it). The sauce has the consistency of thin chili with a few crumbles of ground beef in each bite. With pureed tomatoes and some tomato paste, it has good acidity as well as a little sweetness. It almost has the flavor of the sauce from Spaghetti-O’s, and I mean that in a good way.
On top of the sweetness, it has a bit of heat, maybe from red pepper or Sriracha sauce. I don’t think I will be able to figure out all of the ingredients, but I guess that is why it is a secret. I think that sauce mixed with pretty much anything will make for a good hot dog. The French fries were fantastic as well, perfectly crisp and piping hot. I covered them in ketchup as well as some malt vinegar, and they were just the right companion to the dogs.
If I were from the Meadville area, I think going to Eddie’s would mean a little more to me. The hot dogs were good, but to me, Smith’s are Smith’s no matter where you get them. The sauce is what really sets Eddie’s apart. The prices are reasonable, the service is great and the sauce is fantastic. I don’t know if I would make the 40-mile trip just to get a dog, but it is a must-stop place if you are in the area.
If you have your own Eddie’s stories or memories, share them here! I would love to hear what makes Eddie’s special for you.
Until next time,
Andrew – Beard vs. Food