I used to pass JJ’s Red Hots and think to myself, “HAHAHAHA a HOT DOG place? That will never last.” Now, I pass JJ’s and think “HAHAHAHA you were an IDIOT, Danny.” A massive idiot. One of those idiots that used to think a hot dog was, well, just a hot dog. Not the case. Don’t dis’ the dog! Not this dog, anyway.
I’ve been to JJ’s East Blvd. location a few dozen times since I got over my hot dog idiot phase. Most of the times I’ve been, the weather has been perfect, because the roof at JJ’s, on a warm, sunny day, is one of my favorite places to be outside in Charlotte. It’s officially JJ’s season (please confirm, @wxbrad). Get your buns over here (sorry).
Why is JJ’s so great?
(1) JJ’s doesn’t try to be anything but what it is. This comes straight from their web site: JJ’s Red Hots is not a restaurant. It’s a hot dog joint that serves what we believe are the best hot dogs on the planet. It’s rare to find such honesty these days. Thank you, JJ’s, for being you.
(2) Tasty, unique and interesting hot dogs. Try all of them at some point. My favorites are the Chicago-style Joliet Jake or the Sonoran, which comes loaded with borracho beans, salsa, red onion, cilantro and shredded cheese.
(3) Unless noted otherwise, JJ’s uses Sahlen’s Smokehouse Hot Dogs and serves them on a toasted Martin’s Potato Roll. Yum.
(4) Pickle bar. Yes, a pickle bar. When I was there Sunday, they had pickled ginger carrots, pickled onions, hot dill pickles and giardiniera (pretty sure this is Italian for pickled everything). Feel free to load your dog with any and all of these options. Or just eat them by hand. Or with a fork.
(5) Beer options. What’s a hot dog without beer? Kids, they also have fountain drinks. What’s a hot dog without a fountain drink? That one doesn’t work as well. Get a beer.
(6) Roof. This roof is fantastic. Tables, chairs, umbrellas and a bar with stools that overlooks East Blvd. It’s great for people-watching, or for watching cars honk at each other as they exit parking lots. Also good for barking at dogs when they go by and making their owners resent you, not that I’ve tried that. Most of all, it’s great for a hot dog, some beans, a few cups of pickled things and a beer. Or a fountain drink.