A Taste of Deutschland

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Tom’s Original Hot Dogs

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Heugasse (corner of Hauptstraße 154) 69117 Heidelberg

Quintessential American food – apple pie, meatloaf, fried chicken, macaroni & cheese, Philly cheese steak, and hamburgers and fries.  Oh, and don’t forget the hot dogs!  Despite being surrounded by hundreds of different types of German sausages and delicious breads, you would be hard pressed to find this classic American fare in Germany.  The closest thing to an American hot dog might possibly be Bratwurst or Würstchen mit Brötchen, but of course you don’t get all of the nifty condiments as you would on a hot dog.

Tom’s Original Hot Dogs will satiate your cravings for this ultimate all-American snack.  Forget the fancy decorations and elegant seating arrangements.  The focus in this fast food restaurant is solely placed on the hot dog.  There is a tiny service counter – essentially a hot dog cart – where the worker places the bun onto a wrapper and the wiener inside the bun.  As the hot dogs are pre-boiled and held warm in water until service, the process is simple and quick.

 

7 containers, full of condiments, line a brick wall.  Sweet green relish, original relish, sweet yellow corn relish, and red pepper relish make up the relish varieties.  Jalapeño rings, as well as red pepper rings, can be added onto your hot dog.  Toasted onions are highly recommended – they are crunchy and sweet.  Naturally, ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise bottles are available on the table.  Seating is limited to two bar stools.  A wooden book shelf functions as a counter table.  There is also an oil drum that can be used as a table.

 

The hot dog itself tastes great.  Though it is a bit small, it has a good casing and the inside of the dog has a nice texture.  It is nothing like the abomination found in ‘American style’ hot dogs sold at the local German supermarkets.  The buns are also different than the standard plain hot dog bun.  Cornmeal is dusted on top of the buns here at Tom’s, adding even more taste and flavor.  The bun is warmed up and has a nice, delicate texture that complements the juicy hot dog extremely well.

If you think 1,99 € is expensive for a hot dog, consider this: 6 ‘American style’ hot dogs, sold in a jar in brine, cost around 2,79 € at a German supermarket.  A package of 4 plain hot dog buns can be bought for 0,99 €.  Tack on the cost of condiments and you will already be around 1 euro per dog.  Now, taking into account the fact that these poor imitations you find at the supermarkets don’t even come close to the hot dogs at Tom’s Original Hot Dogs, 1,99 isn’t so bad after all.

 

Besides hot dogs, there are also bags of chips available for purchase.  Habanero chili chips, manufactured by the local Chili Food Company in Bad Dürkheim, boast being produced without flavor enhancers or other artificial additives.  The chips are also labeled as ‘extrem scharf’ (‘extremely spicy’) with a ‘Schärfe Grad: 8‘ (a heat level of 8).  Personally, the chips aren’t terribly spicy – they merely leave a tingling sensation afterwards.  In fact, they start to grow on you after eating just a few.  They taste like kettle chips with its distinctive crisp texture.  Considering that there aren’t any added ingredients – only potatoes, sunflower oil, a blend of spices, and habanero chilis – these chips are well worth a try.

Moreover, the list of drinks is quite unique here.  Unless you have connections to the U.S. army, in which case you can obtain them at the local commissary, finding popular American soft drinks like A&W root beer, Mountain Dew, and Dr. Pepper is as difficult as locating a good Mexican restaurant here in Germany – it’s almost close to impossible.  In addition to varieties of these beverages, you can also find Big Red soda and NOS energy drinks.  The cost of these drinks is fairly reasonable – a can costs about 2 €.

Of course, there is still room for improvement.  The selection of potato chips could use some work.  Maybe importing in some Lay’s potato chips will solve this problem.  Also, the choice of condiments is somewhat lacking.  If they added some fresh lettuce and tomatoes, pickles, chopped onions, bacon, or even chili and cheese sauce, it would be much appreciated and would attract an even larger crowd.  Heck, visiting this hot dog joint had me yearning for corn dogs.  Selling fries could be a good idea.  Fries with toasted onions and jalapeños would make an excellent combination.  The list of possibilities just goes on and on.

But as is, Tom’s Original Hot Dogs is quite possibly the only place in town where you can find hot dogs, living up to their slogan ‘The Hottest Dogs in Town.’  Tom’s Original Hot Dogs is a great place to pop in for a quick, inexpensive hot dog or two and a cool, refreshing American soda.  Just look for the American themed store off of the Hauptstraße!

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Summary:

Situated just off of the Heidelberg Hauptstraße, Tom’s Original Hot Dogs is a very small fast food restaurant focusing exclusively on one traditional American favorite – hot dogs.  A good selection of typical hot dog condiments is provided.  Hard to find American soft drink beverages, including A & W Root Beer, Mountain Dew, and Dr. Pepper, imported from the United States, can also be found.  There are also habanero chips as well as insanely spicy hot sauces sold in bottles.  1 hot dog costs 1,99 €.

Overall – 4.5 stars

  • Hot Dog – 4/5
  • Hot Dog Bun – 5/5
  • Selection of Condiments – 4.5/5
  • Service – 5/5

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Written by geschmack

July 8th, 2010 at 11:55 pm