John Dines With the Wahlbergs
The first Wahlburgers opened, with great fanfare, in the Hingham Shipyard shopping complex about two years ago. During those two years I have been less than a half mile away at my day job, but I’d never managed to find my way over there. Coworkers had gone and come back with meh reports about the burgers. The other day, however, as a particularly potent hunger was gnawing its way through my brain, I saw the Wahlburgers trademark W sticking out of a folder of menus from local joints in the office kitchen. I popped it open and my well-trained encased-meat-seeking eye went right to the hot dog section.
Okay, the section that mentions the two hot dogs they have.
It being a lovely day and me being fifty pounds overweight, I decided it was time to take a stroll to Wahlburgers.
You’re offered both waitress service and counter service here, and it’s a little confusing as to how you get which. There’s a sign up front saying something about ordering before you sit down, but it didn’t make much sense. I wandered down a long stretch of counter with registers at both ends before having to ask where to order.
Which brings us to the slight lack of choices. You have two ways to go here: The Stray Dog, which comes with mustard, sriracha sauce and a house-made smoked-tomato salsa, or just a dog with eight toppings to choose from, none of which you’d find out of the ordinary. I ordered a Stray and a dog with onion, jalapeno and shredded cheddar. A side of tater tots was a must–but I wish I hadn’t been so blinded by hunger that I didn’t notice they have sweet potato tots as well. That would have been the go-to.
So let’s take a look at the dogs.
Much note must be given to the buns here. The perfectly buttery, crisply griddled and seemingly oversized buns are so good you could eat them on their own and be relatively content. I know some people like to keep their bread-to-dog ratio low, and I’m normally one of them, but these things are beyond mere buns. It’s possible that they are, in fact, the best part of the Wahlburgers hot dog experience.
The dogs here are big and beefy, and they certainly don’t skimp on the toppings. They’re delightfully sloppy. The griddle gives the dogs a good snap, and they’re just a little sweaty when they come off the flattop, which I like. (Mmm, beads of beefy fat…)
The regular dog went down first. Sadly, shredded cheese doesn’t mean melty cheese here. But the jalapenos had real bite and the onions added a nice tang. The Stray Dog is good if you like a bit of the burn, because between the mustard and the sriracha, that’s about all you’re getting out of this dog. It’s a good burn, but whatever flavor the smoked tomato salsa was supposed to bring just got buried under the heat. The good part is that the lovely bread gets coated in the overall mixture while you’re eating, so once the dog is gone, you’ve got this flavorful, crisp, spicy, buttery thing to enjoy.
The downside to dogging at Wahlburgers is that you’re paying to eat at Wahlburgers, and you’re paying to eat at The Shipyard. Ambience costs, I guess, along with theoretical celebrity. The ordinary dog is $3.95. Topping it with chili or the smoked tomato salsa adds another buck apiece. If it was even a dollar cheaper, it wouldn’t sting as much. The Stray is $4.75. Between the lack of interesting choices and the price, I don’t know if I’ll hurry back over to Wahlburgers. But it’s nice to know it’s there…in case I desperately need one of those buttery, griddled buns.
Did I mention that I like the buns?
19 Shipyard Dr.