This past weekend, I traveled to Boston University for the Valentine Invitational track meet. While warming up for my race, the mile, I ran past a hot dog joint called Spike’s Junkyard Dogs. I could not have been more excited – I had heard about this place from Paul, who used to go when he was little (he’s from Providence, RI). Obviously I could not stop right then to try one of Spikes’ dogs, so I returned the next day for lunch.
I loved the interior – the walls decorated with photos of people who consumed exorbitant amounts of hot dogs. One guy ate 12 hot dogs, a surprisingly low amount in my mind. I think I could scarf down at least fifteen. I also loved the flashy, bright colors that decorated the menu above the front counter and randomly scattered chain-link fences.
The menu offers several kinds of dogs, from the classic Junkyard Dog with Spike’s mustard, tomato, pickle, hot pepper rings and chopped scallions, to the Texas Ranger, with Barbeque sauce, bacon and cheddar. If you don’t see any combinations on the menu that you like, you can customize your own dog with any of Spike’s abundant toppings. Paul told me he used to order “everything” on his hot dogs. Really, everything (barbeque sauce combined with mustard, bacon and more?)?
I finally decided on the Chili Cheddar Dog and an order of Spike’s curly fries. The presentation of the hot dog was beautiful – not at all as messy as I had envisioned. The hot dog was stuffed into a warm, soft French roll and covered in melted cheddar cheese that secured the chili in place. A typical hot dog bun cannot support chili, which soaks the bread and causes it to disintegrate – a catastrophic mess of spongy bread, tomatoes, bean and ground beef. However, the French roll at Spike’s is extraordinary. Whereas I found the French roll at The Haute Dog Carte to dwarf the hot dog inside of it, Spike’s roll was just the right amount of bread.
For me, Spike’s was nothing short of divine intervention. My hot dog was outstanding. In addition to hot dogs, Spike’s also offers burgers and chicken sandwiches. Even so, why on earth you would want to order anything but a hot dog is beyond me.
If I had to compare Spike’s to my favorite Baltimore hot dog joints, The Hot Dog Carte and Stuggy’s, I hate to say it, but I think I’ve found my favorite. Although The Hot Dog Carte comes close with its gourmet spin on the classic dog and Stuggy’s succeeds by staying traditional, Spike’s takes the best of both worlds. Now if only they’d come to Baltimore.