May 302012

This weekend, I indulged in one of life’s simplest pleasures and most treasured secrets: the revered Bill’s Hot Dog.

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Yes, I capitalized the ‘h’ and ‘d’ in ‘hot’ and ‘dog’. That is because Bill’s Hot Dog’s deserve this treatment.  These are proper nouns, people.  These are things, these aren’t normal hot dogs.  These dogs command respect.

There will be at the most four, at the fewest two women working assembly line style behind the counter to assemble your dog.  Some of them will have 80′s throwback bangs.  They will probably be wearing pastel colored T-Shirts and I can’t explain why.  They will work fast and with precision.  The line will be wrapped around the restaurant, maybe even out the door, but you will get your dog in due time.

There are no tables and chairs inside, that would take precious space away from the aforementioned snake-like line. Eat them outside on a bench, outside on the curb, on your boat, take them home.  There are three toppings: chili, mustard, and onions.  No more, no less.  No ketchup.  Get over yourself.  This is Bill’s.  You are going to like it, just order it all the way.  Don’t want onion breath? Fine.  Order it without onions– but don’t you DARE.  Don’t you DARE think of ordering it without chili.

Anatomy of a Bill's Hot Dog

Let me tell you something, folks, and there are a lot of people who might not admit this: that crazy, fire engine red-colored dog… it has no flavor.  Ok, perhaps… perhaps a little bit of flavor.  Not much, though.  The magic is in the chili, a secret recipe that many have attempted to copy, but few– I mean NONE– have succeeded at recreating.  The chili is the powerhouse; that’s where the flavor is.

Don’t stress if someone in line in front of you orders 10, 15, or maybe even 50 hot dogs.  People travel miles and miles to get their hands on a Bill’s Hot Dog.  I met visitors from Texas who had ordered 100 to take home, freeze, and enjoy for months/weeks, maybe days (I’m not judging).

Whenever I go to Little Original Washington (cute, these nicknames) without my Dad, he requests that I bring several home for him.  Not 100; he isn’t gluttonous, but often 5 or 6.  At $1.03 a pop, that isn’t too much to ask.

So if you ever stop by Washington, North Carolina: Population 9,744, be sure to pick up a Bill’s Hot Dog.  Washington is right off Highway 17, so if you have an East Coast truck driver uncle or cousin, ask them to bring you a few on their haul.  Hopefully that isn’t an inconvenient or awkward request.  Bill’s has been featured in several magazines and newspapers the country over, so this isn’t just me trying to convince you. The world is.

Photo credits: One, Two, Three, Four, Five

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  One Response to “Small Town America, USA: Washington, NC and Bill’s Hot Dogs”

  1. LOL I love this – we don’t have Bill’s in the Uk but if we did…. xxx

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