Swanky Franks in Connecticut: Other Options
A friend just told me that Swanky Franks, the nicely weathered hot dog joint in Norwalk, recently came under new management and is no longer as special as it once was (I haven't been there in two or three years, so "recently" is a somewhat relative concept here). I'm about to be driving through that area -- are there are other particularly good hot dog venues around there, or anyplace in CT? I know about Super Duper Weenie but would prefer someplace older, with some character....
I literally just got back from Rawley's which is one option in Fairfield. As someone else mentioned it's on Post Road. I have also been to Super Duper Weenie. I prefered SDW.
I like the building Rawley's is in. It's one of those old dive like places but the hot dog was just ok. I got it with the works and the bacon was burnt too much for my taste. The fries were just average. I didn't notice any extra taste or value to deep frying the hot dog. I think I was hoping for a greesier mess to be honest with you. My friend got the burger and it looked weak. That's all I can say.
Super Duper Weenie didn't blow me away either. I had the Chicago Dog on my one and only visit and it wasn't a real Chicago Hot Dog. So I'm being a little picky. But it tasted very good and I liked their fries better then Rawley's.
It's been a couple of years, but last time I was in Connecticut I had the chance to sample hot dogs from about a dozen places. I liked the deep fried Hummels at Swanky Franks in Norwalk, but as you stated, it is under new management. I liked Super Duper Weenie, but the franks used there (from Miller's Provisions) are no longer used since they went out of business. They now use Hummel's. Danny's (also Hummels) was very good, but the chili was the hottest I've ever tasted. A little too hot for me, but if you like hot and spicy, you'll love this one.
I don't remember how far Hamden, Ct. is from where you will be, but the Glenwood Drive In was one of my two favorite hot dog joints in Connecticut. They serve a long, thin Hummels that is charbroiled and delicious. Old time place that has been around a long time. My other favorite was Rosco's. They have since moved since I've been there. They are located somewhere in Hartford. Excellent Thumann's frank prepared on a griddle with various homemade toppings. Great dog!
I will 2nd the Rawley's rec if you want a good dog and a place with character. Get the dog w/ the works...mustard, relish, kraut, and bacon.
A little further up the line is Danny's in Stratford. Great Chili Dogs...they use the best chili around...Kuhn's!!!
Please remember this for the summer...there's a place in Wilton on Rte. 7 called Dexter's Dog House that a friend recommended last summer. It's a great, old-fashioned roadside stand. Get a chili dog. They use Kuhn's too.
Burger, Shakes, and Fries in Greenwich has a good Hot Dog. Overton's is OK in East Norwalk, though I believe it is seasonal.
Super Duper is jfood's favorite.
There are two Swankies off I-95. One in norwalk which is the old one you are thinking of and then there is one on route 1 in westport, near balducci's. The same people own/lease both. One person said he owned the name and the other person said he owned the name.
But the dogs are still good, not as good as SD but that's a personal preference.
Actually, a long story there...The guy who opened Swanky's year's ago is getting up there, somewhere in his 80's, I think. Years ago, he leased the place to the guy who ran it for years. While he was running Norwalk, the guy also opened up his second location in Westport, using the Swanky's name. No problems so far., right? Then, a year or so ago the original owner's nephew wanted to run the place, and when the Norwalk lease came up, the owner refused to renew, so he could turn it over to the nephew. Here's where it gets sticky.
The owner claims he owns not just the physical place, but also the name "Swanky Franks". The old lessor, in the meantime, has a going concern in the second place, using the same name. Because it was not clearly spelled out in the lease, and was never challenged while he held the Norwalk lease, he claims the continued right to operate the Westport location using the same name,and feels that the trademark value is his, since it would have been zero if he hadn't nurtured it all these years. The owner disagrees. Who owns the name is one for the courts...don't know if it will come to that, or if the status quo will remain as is...