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Spike's Junkyard Dogs: Veggie-style

As a recent non-meat eater I've been dreading the warm weather. In the winter it was easy to not think about BBQ's and Fenway franks. Well reality has hit. I've been to a couple games, I'm about to head to my first BBQ this weekend. No more hiding.

Fortunately I have found immense solace in Spikes. I had seen the store front for a year or so at Mass and Boylston, but assumed it was just some other college-food chain operation. Little did I know.

All of their "all-beef" dogs can also be ordered with a veggie dog instead (same fixins, same price). My first bite led me to believe that they had made a mistake, clearly too good to be a veggie dog. I asked. "Yep, that's a veggie." Wow. I've been back about a half dozen times in the past month. Even if you're a meat-eater, I dare you to try these and not love them.

So far I've tried the the Junkyard Dog (tomatoes, pepperocinis, spicy mustard), the German Shepard (sauerkraut and spicy mustard), and the Ball Park (spicy mustard, chopped onions, and cheddar) all come on oversized rolls that are toasted just slightly. Please don't ask me to rank them, they're all fantastic.

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  1. Spike's absolutely sucks. It's like 80% bread, 19% ill conceived toppings, and 1% hot dog.

    5 Replies
    1. re: tamerlanenj

      Wow. Not sure that I'd give it quite so harsh of an assessment, but I'd agree that the bread-to-dog ratio is higher than I'd like it to be. Still, given the limited veggie dog options in Boston it's pretty decent. I prefer the veggie chili dogs at Bukowski's, myself. (I'm not vegetarian, but I do enjoy a good veggie hot dog from time to time.)

      1. re: cambridgejen

        I'm perfectly fine with Spike's for veggie dogs, too. True, the bun is big, but it's a decent bun. And the large cavity allows for more toppings, which is fine by me.

      2. re: tamerlanenj

        Haha, that's a review so cranky I'd think it came from my own keyboard. As someone with his picture on the wall, I have to respond:

        I can't speak for the ill-conceived toppings because I always just pick the free ones (e.g. get a buffalo dog for the price of a plain one by getting the free elements separately) but that bread is great. Why should a hot dog bun have to be crappy wonder bread? It should at least be cheap but delicious grocery-store "Italian" bread like the Spike's bun.

        1. re: tamerlanenj

          even if its 80% bread, at least its good bread.... now if i could only find a place that sold me hot links inside that bread instead of hot dogs....

          oh how i miss top dog.... and yes thats in that other state on the other side of the country...

          1. re: tamerlanenj

            I don't think it sucks, having been going to Spike's since it's early '90s Providence days. But I absolutely agree that the bun-to-meat ratio is horrible. WAY too much bread.

          2. icculus, you like hot dogs, why the heck are you a vegetarian?

            5 Replies
            1. re: andytee

              I suspect that some people have reasons for becoming vegetarian other than not liking hot dogs. :)

              I'm with beth about Spike's. I eat meat, but I prefer veggie hot dogs (when they're good). I find Spike's veggie dogs to be dreadful. They have a texture like clay and a taste not much better. If you like tons of toppings, then that's fine, but I like just mustard, relish, onions, celery salt on mine, and that just isn't enough stuff to cover up the gross taste and texture.

              1. re: maillard

                Really? Am I missing out on some better veggie dogs? Please point me...

                And re: my veggieness... it started out as a curiosity 5 months ago... no end date in site. I'm still eating seafood (much moreso in fact).

                1. re: icculus

                  On the "why go veggie" question, I was mostly curious on what your motivation was. I always figure if you feel a hankering for BBQ, Hot Dogs, Steaks, whatever, why not go ahead and eat them, at least on occasion?

                  I was a vegetarian, even vegan for a while, but most of that time I felt no interest in or taste for meat. When I got a taste for it, I stareted eating it again.

                  1. re: icculus

                    Ummm, lemme see if this can be made appropriate for this board... Buy some Morningstar Farms at the Shaw's right down the street from the Davis Sq. Spike's. Pan fry in lots of olive oil (a large part of what makes fake meats less tasty is how low fat they are). Enjoy on the glorious top-split N.E. style hot dog buns that I used to fill my suitcase with when I lived on the west coast.

                    I sometimes cook veggie dogs in bacon fat, which makes them extra tasty, but sort of defeats the point for actual vegetarians...

                    I don't know of an actual restaurant that serves this brand of veggie dogs around here. If anyone knows of one, let me know! They're not as good when steamed, but still much better than anything else I've found.

                    1. re: icculus

                      RE: Other veggie dogs - Bukowski's serves up a good one, if I remember correctly.

                2. As a meat-eater who likes tofu/veggie dog type things, I found the veggie dog itself at Spike's to be pretty dreadful. I'm also a person who likes to eat my hot dogs without condiments... Perhaps if the dog is more of a condiment vehicle then it would be ok... I like the fries and I like the service at Spike's, so I've always thought it was too bad that I just don't like their dogs (the beef ones themselves are fine, but the rolls totally ruin it for me).

                  For grubby food in the area, I've been leaning towards Deli-icious on College Ave. Unforunately, they don't serve dogs. But just above every other grubby food one could desire.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: beth

                    I was at Deli-icious two days ago and they actually did have hot dogs and chili dogs (regular, not veggie). I'm not sure if it was a one-day special or if it's just so new it hasn't made it on the printed menu yet. (Deli-icious is GREAT!)

                    I think the dogs at Spike's are Tofu Pups or something similar - the texture is kind of iffy and they don't hold together like some other varieties. I like Smart Dogs much better, and others that are made with gluten as the primary ingredient instead of tofu. But I've got to give Spike's props for having the most varieties of toppings available, instead of sticking with just the basic chili dog.

                  2. Anyone might as well order the veggie dogs at Spikes, since all you can taste are the giant wads of flavorless bread dough they try to pass off as rolls.