Cat’s Incredible Dogs in Stroudsburg PA
Welcome to the first post of January 2013! Although technically I visited this place around the very end of December 2012. Since Armageddon was postponed, Ali and I decided to follow through on our winter vacation to the Poconos. So what better way is there to cap off the year with some R & R including skiing, hot tubbing, and hot dogs. One night after Ali fell asleep, I did what any man in a long, committed relationship would do with free time and privacy. I grabbed my google machine and looked up hot dog joints. A preliminary search of joints in the area turned up empty, but a search of hot dog stands in Pennsylvania turned up Cat’s Incredible Dogs in Stroudsburg, only 15 minutes away! With the discovery made, the trip to this new place was inevitable.
We drove down Main Street in Stroudsburg PA, a Christmas lit and snowy stretch of small town Americana. When we found Cat’s, there were a number of burly looking dudes hanging outside. It turned out they were on line for the Killswitch Engage concert at the Sherman Theater right next door. I was really surprised that 1) I had no idea the theater existed, 2) that a popular band like Killswitch Engage was playing there, and 3) that the folks at Cat’s had the great fortune of having a hot dog joint right next to a music venue. I hope they are able to capitalize on this.
Cat’s Incredible Dogs is run by the husband and wife team of Cat and Steve, two really nice people who moved the business from an even further corner of northeast PA. When you walk in, you are met with an abundance of photos on the wall of celebrities, movies, celebrities eating hot dogs, and hot dog ephemera. There’s also a red picket fence, a condiment “grooming” station with a ton of mustards, a bookshelf with all manner of knick-knacks (like an action figure of Jerry Only from the Misfits), a mysterious spinning wheel, and about 40 different combinations of hot dog possibilities. I had considered what to get before we got there, but when I stepped inside, my mind went blank and I had to start from scratch.
Cat’s uses all-beef Sabrett’s skinless dogs, a white bread bun (I don’t know the brand), and about a gazillion toppings of your choosing. And these are not the unrecognizable gourmet toppings I usually like to indulge in. Cat also has her own homemade sauce, which was kind of like a coney sauce, though I’m not completely sure because I don’t live in coney sauce country. But it is a beef and beer sauce, not chili, with a sweet and tangy taste (as they state on the website). It has a unique flavor to it, like a sweeter sloppy-joe, and works well on the dog with brown mustard and chopped onions. I got one of these, along with The Buffalo, which was topped with blue cheese dressing, chopped celery, and Frank’s Red Hot sauce.
The glutton in me wishes that the dog was actually dipped in buffalo sauce and then topped with blue cheese. But I liked the tangy cheese flavor combined with the Red Hot, and then celery for crunch. Cat’s dogs are easy 3-4 biters, which makes you want to order more. So I did.
Now I’m not like our fellow blogger John, who likes to snuggle up with habaneros and scotch bonnets for a long winter’s nap. But I do like some heat now and then. The Mt. Fuji called to me with its chili, diced potatoes, crushed red pepper, and Frank’s Red Hot sauce. I felt this was something I could handle, and I think other heat novices out there can handle it too. If you like to gargle with chile extracts, then you’ll probably scoff at this. But I like that you get the taste of the crushed red pepper and Red Hot without killing the Sabretts. The potatoes add more bulk, and the chili, which seems like a similar consistency to the Beef & Beer sauce, is flavored differently. All around, lots of flavor with a manageable amount of heat.
One of the fun aspects of this joint is the wheel o’ hot dogs. It can be hard to figure out which combination of toppings you want, so you can give it a turn and leave it up to fate.
I forgot to mention that they only charge $2.50 a dog. So when you’re lined up for a show at the Sherman, or in town for skiing, or go to college in East Stroudsburg, then you have another place in the Poconos to try some dogs!
Cat’s Incredible Dogs 526 Main Street, Stroudsburg PA