The TallyCast

…all polite and classy.

Cheap Eats: Hot Dogs in Tallahassee


“A hot dog at the ball park is better than steak at the Ritz.”
Credited to the late American actor: Humphrey Bogart

It’s said that one should never ask too many questions about how hot dogs are made.  For the most part, they aren’t the best protein in the world.  They are full of saturated fat and preservatives.  In fact, the photo at the top of this article is from a National Cancer Institute web site.  Still, like a lot of you, I get an occasional hankering for a sausage in a bun.

This weekend, many PBS station aired the WQED-TV production, “A Hot Dog Program“.   It was a voyage of discovery visiting some of the best hot dog stands in the nation.  I figured that the program might get folks ’round here thinking about going cruising for a sausage in a bun and thought I’d open the dialog with my own home town favorites.  Oh; I’m not including any chain restaurants, convenience stores or the like.  Those places get plenty of publicity.

Ali’s Strawberry Shakes

alisLocated on Crump Road just N. of Mahan Drive, Ali’s is a very busy business operation.  It’s a produce stand, a seafood market, a meat smoking operation, a bait shop and a lunch counter.  While the milkshakes at Ali’s are the signature item, her hot dogs are pretty wonderful too.

The dogs are all beef, cooked to order, and come with a wide variety of toppings.  Personally, I normally go for an Ali’s Dog.  It’s a hot dog with a whole bunch of fresh veggies on it and it’s really yummy.

While you’re there, be sure to try a milkshake and grab a banana for the ride home.  Ali’s Market is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Dog Et Al

dogetal2At this South Monroe cafe, the hot dogs are steamed.   The dogs are sold by size ranging from a “little dog” to the giant “big foot dog”.   Condiments include mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise (Mayo on hot dogs?   Everyone knows that mayo belongs on french fries), cheese, chili, slaw, sauerkraut, relish, sauteed onions and bell peppers.

Rounding out the health food menu are curly fries topped with whatever you want.   While steamed hot dogs are not my personal favorite, Dog Et Al is a popular eatery and the line is often out the door.

Dog Et Al web site.


JB’s Festival Foods


So if the TallyCast is all about local, what are we doing promoting an operation at a big box store?  JB’s hot dog cart may be located at the NE Capital Circle Home Depot, but it’s a locally owned favorite of mine, and from the daily lineup of local builders and shoppers, a few other folks too.

Dogs at JB’s stand are grilled (or as the hot dog cooker said last week, “not heated in greasy water”) and served to order.  In addition to all beef hot dogs, JB’s serves sausage dogs made from our local favorite, Bradley’s smoked sausage.

Where else?

I know I barely scratched the surface on local hot dog stands in North Florida.  If you have a favorite spot to eat hot dogs, let us know.

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  1. There was a place on Tharpe Steet called Jittery Jack’s. It’s long gone now, but they had some of the best dogs I’d ever tasted. They were also the only place in town where you could get a knish.

  2. They also had Chicago dogs at JJ’s – Tomatoes, hot peppers, celery salt and what else?

  3. Hot dogs are nasty.

  4. Without a doubt, the best hotdogs in town are from Mom & Pops @FSU. They have two stands, one at Strozier, another beside Westcott.

  5. Sam’s Club has the best deal for a good hotdog. Even though they are steamed, the dogs are Nathan’s All Beef hotdogs, and they’re served on a great soft bun. All of the ‘regular’ things you might put on a hotdog is there for you to put on yourself–mustard, ketchup, chopped onions, pickle relish, and…yes, they even have sauerkraut! For a grand total of $1.40, you can get one of these delicious hotdogs, and a very large drink cup to fill with ice and your favorite Coca-Cola product.

  6. Sams and Costco don’t exactly qualify as “locally owned” but a lot of people shop for the quantity discount. I’m all about Costco because they rate higher on social responsibility scales and get a much better rating on the way they treat employees.

  7. Favorite hot dog joke: What the zen priest said to the hot dog vendor: “Make me one with everything’. (Thanks to the memory of Katie Hunter.)

  8. Paradise Grill and Bar features a delicious item on their menu: Mutt and Jeff’s BBQ Slaw Dogs. The plate comes with two cole slaw topped dogs and fries.

  9. It’s very cool that the Paradise is paying homage to Mutt and Jeff’s. Paradise sits on the site of the old Mutt and Jeff drive-in; one of the first fast food places in Tallahassee.

  10. I’d put in a bid for Super Perros if you want to try something quite a bit different than the usual Dog-Americain.
    Pineapple? Got it. Shredded BBQ chicken? No problem. Enigmatic “Pink Sauce”…. no idea what it is, but yes. And what dog doesn’t get even better with bacon strips atop? You’ll have to excavate just to find the dog. Truly chaotic, and apparently, authentically Colombian. Nice!
    2010 W Tennessee Street
    Tallahassee, FL 32304
    (850) 309-7377


  12. I’m thinking of doing a 21 day vegan challenge and have been making a list of what I will miss. Sad to say, hot dogs are one of the things.

  13. Be sure to check out the bacon wrapped deep fried goodness at Voodoo Dog just off Gaines Street.

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