Fate would have it that I just so happened to be in Wilmington the opening weekend of the Johnnie's Dog House franchise location on Concord Pike. I was uber excited for veggie hot dogs so close to home, but I've got to say that I was a little disappointed in my first experience.
Johnnie's Dog house was a mad house when we went, and continued to be so all weekend long. Many errands were done both Saturday and Sunday along Concord Pike, and each time we passed the joint, the parking lot and interior were overflowing. Who knew Wilmingtonians were so hard up for hot dogs?
Johnnie's Dog House specializes in hot dogs (beef, turkey, or veggie), but also has a few sandwiches, fries, onion rings, mac and cheese (looked school cafeteria-esqe disgusting; I couldn't bring myself to try it), and milkshakes.
The hot dog menu consists of hot dogs named after locations, topped with that city or regions signature toppings. The New York Style Classic has mustard, kraut, and onions; The Baltimore has coleslaw and bacon; The Texas Tommy is wrapped in bacon, deep fried, and topped with cheese; etc.
I wanted the Boston Back Bay Beanie Weenie with baked beans and onions, but the baked beans are not vegetarian. The chili used on other dogs is not vegetarian, either. Big bummer.
We tried to order a veggie corn dog, but were told that they don't have veggie corn dogs. Their corn dogs are not hand dipped and made to order, so big bummer number two.
I settled on the Chicago Style Dog with mustard, relish, tomatoes, dill pickle spear, onions, sport peppers, and shake of celery salt, simply because I've never eaten a Chicago-style hot dog. Lots of people love this style of dog, but I'm not sure it's for me. Nothing wrong with the combo, just not for me.
The hot dog itself was grilled, and scarily meat-like with a thick casing. We seriously wondered if we had been slipped meat dogs, but our tummies did not report back any subterfuge that evening. The bun was soft, but a few seconds on the grill would make the dog eating experience much better.My partner ordered the South Philly Dog with grilled onions and cheese. The cheese was processed cheese, as is called for on a Philly cheese steak. The grilled onions were a little less than generous.
We also ordered fries and a chocolate malt. I forgot to take pictures of the fries and shake because it was so hellishly busy with kids screaming all over the place that, well, I forgot. The boy liked the thick cut fries, but did not like his malt. He likes malt, and the shake did not taste malty at all. They were either light handed on the malt, or forgot to add the malt in all the hubbub surrounding them. He also thought the price of a small shake was expensive for the size.
With hand dipped veggie corn dogs, grilled buns, and all toppings available in vegetarian form, Dog Almighty in Austin, Texas, still reigns supreme in my veggie hot dog adventures.
I will give Johnnie's Dog House another go when the traffic dies down, kinks are worked out, and I might be able to make a custom dog without having to shout my order to a person at a register who is in the weeds and overwhelmed.
Update: My Second trip
Johnnie's Dog House
3401 Concord Pike, Wilmington, DE 19382
Mon.-Sat., 11 a.m.-10 p.m.;Sun., 11 a.m.-8 p.m.