John Gets Deputized at Woody’s
First off, I really should not be allowed to watch shows like Man V. Food because whenever I see a Really Good Dog on TV, I immediately start working out the logistics of getting there–wherever “there” may be. Seriously, if some program showed me what was clearly the universe’s greatest hot dog and it was only being served inside an active volcano in the South Pacific that you had to parachute into, I’d be booking a flight and signing up for skydiving lessons. Call me impressionable. So when I saw the Deputy Dog at Woody’s in Hartford, CT on MVF, and knowing that me and my son’s annual pinball and hot dog trip was coming up, I made sure this spot was on our agenda. Because, friends, we are talking about a foot-long dog topped with pulled pork, cheddar cheese, and barbecue sauce. Cardiologists of the world, rejoice.
As it turned out, timing-wise Woody’s was best targeted on our return trip from Asbury Park to the Boston area. Going down, it would have been breakfast. Coming back, a well-deserved road stop. Provided we could find it. It’s listed as 915 Main St in Hartford. And you can’t miss 915 Main St because they do this:
That’s right…they park a red Mini out front. But seriously. There it is, right? Yet nothing on the storefront says Woody’s. I had Boy check the GPS. I had him verify the address. I had him call. “It says no one’s there right now,” he told me, and I had that sinking feeling that Woody’s had gone the way of so many fine HDJs before it. Not the case. This venerable joint has been banging out the treats since 1977, and they’re not slowing down. Here’s your traveler’s tip–the sign is hanging on Pratt St. You can still go into 915 Main and get there, but your indicator is elsewhere.
So the dogs… Woody’s offers a bunch of topped dogs for about $5.25 under the heading “Woody’s Posse.” I had no question about which I was there for, and I was in a very rare “I just need one dog” mode–which may have been more of a financial matter, coming as it did at the end of a trip. It was tough to resist the allure of a slaw and chili dog, or the Hot Chihuahua, loaded with things designed to burn you from the inside out, or the gluttonous glee of a dog with bacon and macaroni and cheese on it. But I stuck to my guns and bellied up for the Deputy Dog while Boy surprised me by ordering a Godfather (peppers, marinara and mozzarella)
The dogs–and I neglected to ask the brand–are griddled on the flat-top. The buns go up there, too, and get a nice dose of melted butter as they toast. Both dogs were amply covered with the glory of melty cheese. I commented to Boy, mid-dog, that I would go back just to order the pulled pork. It was tender and flavorful, with a nice kick in the sauce. I kept getting big strands of it in each mouthful, so it seems they don’t skimp.
Boy was busy powering through his Italianate treat, but stopped wolfing it down long enough to tell me the marinara was “nice.” I left him to it as he had a lot of gooey mozzarella to fight.
This is a pretty decent amount of dog for five bucks, and was easily the best treat of our trip. Boy was bummed at the lack of variety at Rawley’s on the way down, and I’ve probably had my last dog at Max’s down at the shore because there’s only so much unchanged fryolator grease one man can ingest. But if we find ourselves passing through Hartford again, we’ll be stopping at Woody’s. And this time we’ll know where to look.
915 Main St although the sign is on Pratt St