Flo’s Hot Dogs
Friends have been telling me for years that I need to eat at Flo’s Hot Dogs on Route 1 in Maine. I didn’t know this until now, but there’s two locations, one in Kittery and the original, which I visited, in Cape Neddick. I must have been lucky, because waits can be very long (2 hours in this Serious Eats review) but well worth it.
Flo, the original proprietor, was a little cranky–or so the story goes. A quick New England wit with a razor-sharp tongue, Flo must have made many grown men ashamed that they ever thought to ask for ketchup on their hot dog. All I can say is, good for her!
Gail Stacey, Flo’s daughter-in-law, keeps up the tradition but I found her to be as sweet as pie. She’s the only one who works the stand, and regardless of how many orders that kept coming through the door she was willing to take the time out to talk to me.
What makes the dog a genuine Flo’s Hot Dog is the hot sauce relish. It’s so popular that they’ve set up an eBay store so you can buy it online.
The inside of the stand has eight or so counter seats and room enough for ten people to wait. The ceiling’s pretty low, as you can see in the picture, but for hobbits like us it felt like we were in our quaint little under-hill home, ready to smoke some good Halfling’s Leaf.
There’s two ways you can get your Flo’s dog: loaded, with relish, mustard, and onions; or the special, which is most popular, with mayo, relish, celery salt, and mustard. The dogs are steamed natural-casing Old Neighborhood franks which have a snub-nose rather than the tapered casing. The buns are steamed split top New England-style, and the end product is wrapped up in a Flo’s napkin and placed in a cardboard container.
Making its debut appearance on The Hot Dog I Ate is our new Prius, which you can see over my right shoulder. No dogs eaten in there yet but that’s sure to happen. To the right of the Prius is one happy guy. Flo’s relish is more remeniscent of chutney than relish, with a sweetness that is heightened by the mayonnaise; if you get it loaded, the relish tends to show off more of its spice with the combination of raw onions.
The cross-section of Flo’s loaded dog shows how compacted the whole thing gets in your hand–I’m guessing a competitive eater would appreciate that the dogs seem to collapse in on themselves while retaining all of the condiments with no spillage.
Some kinda good is right–I felt pretty lucky to have hit up the stand at just the right time, so Sam & I were able to get time to talk to Gail, grab a few dogs, and get a spot to sit and enjoy these New England favorites.