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The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Hot dog tour of Easton, home of the ‘everything’ hot dog

Rod’s Dogs offers the cheapest option in Easton Public Market. (Photo by Lily Dineen ’24 for The Lafayette)

In Easton’s hot dog scene, “everything” means mustard, onion and a pickle spear.

The inventor of the “everything” hot dog – and father of the Easton dog scene – was James “Jimmy” Makris, who operated a doggie cart that was pushed from Phillipsburg across the bridge and right up the hill to early 20th-century Lafayette football games.

Today, two shops claim the name and history of Makris’ hot dog legacy. Between the two locations is a diverse assortment of beef frank selections. My associate Lily Dineen ‘24 and I ate them all, east to west, during a recent tour of Easton’s hot dog joints.

We had three rules:

1. No kid’s menus – hot dogs are for grown-ups, too.

2. Unless there was a clear flagship hot dog at the location, I ordered the Easton standard – the everything.

3. Every wiener is different, and ranking them would undermine this celebration of sausages. I’ll tell you what your options are, and you can decide your favorites on your own.

We began in Phillipsburg at Jimmy’s Doggie Stand, which borrows Makris’ name and operates just across the street from where his stand used to be.

Their “everything” hot dog is the first thing on the menu, and it doesn’t disappoint. The fried dog, tart and salty toppings, steamed bun and nostalgic atmosphere combine to produce a near-perfect hot dog experience, making it the ideal first stop on our tour.

Next up: Downtown Dawgs, a hole in the wall on the corner of 4th and Spring Garden Streets – the building itself feels kind of like a hot dog. Their staple is a more modern hot dog, swapping onions for ketchup. It’s damn good, and with a price tag of just $3, you can’t do much better this close to downtown. Plus, it’s the closest to campus.

Down the street, the Easton Public Market offers two options. The first is Rod’s Dogs, which serves the only vegan version we came across on this tour. Rod’s is marketed like a classic hot dog shop, the neon sign rounding out the vibes. Opting for the beef topped with “everything,” I was underwhelmed. While the toppings were impressively fresh and really popped, the dog itself lacked flavor. That said, Rod’s Dogs’ dogs are probably the least-expensive food choice in the public market, with several customization options.

For Easton Public Market’s More Than Q, it’s all about the size of the wiener. The Goldman Triple Hog Dog is wrapped in bacon and covered in coleslaw, red onion, pulled pork and an incredible barbecue mustard sauce. It is not as tasteful and inexpensive an indulgence as a hot dog is meant to be, but it is incredible, and the fixings only complement the flavor of the frank, which shines through one to two inches of glorious pork mess.

Casa di Franco is a pizzeria just a few blocks from the Market. Its “jacuzzi dogs” come in a few different varieties, but we opted for the “sloppy dogs” (perfect for a date night, as all their hot dogs come in sets of two). The sloppy dog has coleslaw and thousand island dressing. In keeping with Easton tradition, the franks are deep-fried (hence: jacuzzi). It’s the sweetest dog we tried, and the dressing-slaw combo certainly made up for the bun, which was noticeably firmer than any other on our tour.

We then headed over to El Super Taco in the West Ward, a long enough trip to make me forget why I would ever take on such a stomach-wrenching task. The Cuban Torta, composed of ham, sausage, avocado, tomato, onion, jalapeños, cheese and beans, deserves its own article. A bold deviation from the standard hot dog, the Cuban Torta’s dog is grilled and sliced. The char on the outside calls attention to the frank in a sea of delicious toppings.

We concluded the tour right off 22 at Jimmy’s Hot Dogs, which is owned by a former employee of Makris, Frank Bounoutas. He outbid another former employee for the name in 2016 after a lengthy legal battle led to a government auction.

The menu lists only the word “HOTDOG,” followed by a series of beverages. When I recited the toppings I wanted – mustard, onions and a pickle – the woman behind the counter turned to her colleague and said, “everything.”

We spent less than a minute in the establishment, paid less than two dollars in cash for one dog and ate in the parking lot (there are no chairs). It was delicious. Much like the other Jimmy’s, this stand’s dog construction was a perfect execution of the “everything,” and there was something transcendent about the frank itself. It had withered and pruned in the frying process to round out what I feel is the quintessential crude comfort food: the Easton “everything” hot dog.

Ugh. Time for a vegetable.

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Comments (5)

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  • M

    MaggieApr 10, 2023 at 7:52 am

    Can I give you a condiment? Top notch journalism!
    You’ve inspired me to take the hour drive up to Easton to do our own tour. Who knew there were so many quality weiner purveyors!
    Franks a lot!

  • C

    CalebApr 9, 2023 at 7:02 pm

    A truly excellent piece engaging in the noble pursuit of dog education.

  • C

    CliffApr 7, 2023 at 8:07 am

    Just up the street from the Easton Jimmy’s is the Richard’s doggie stand. You should have included them. They outshine Jimmy’s in taste and atmosphere.

    • B

      Benjamin DupontApr 8, 2023 at 7:31 pm

      I’ve been to Richard’s, and they do great work!
      Thanks for your comment, Cliff.

    • B

      BobbyApr 8, 2023 at 10:09 pm

      Cliff, I gotta disagree. My silence cannot be tamed. Perhaps your palette requires further exploration. Might I suggest the Hot Dog at Milo’s Place. You don’t know what it’s made of, but for once, you won’t want to know.