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Nov 27, 2009 10:29 AM

Jfood hits Rawley's (Fairfield, CT) - Not Bad

Jfood was on his way for a good burger but the Merritt southbound was too crowded so jfood went to plan B. A left onto the Merritt and over over to Fairfield for jfood's first try at Rawley's. In fairness jfood really likes SDW in fairfield as well as cooking HNs at home.

He found a parking spot, wandered in and sat at the counter overlooking the grill. He ordered a plain hot dog, a dog with "the works" and a small fries. He watched as the cooker threw dogs in the oil, onto the grill and over to the finisher. She did the rest and the dogs and fries were delivered. Jfood first took a fry. They were hand cut and cooked to a nice creamy finish inside with no oil flavor, so far so good. But that was it. Some hand cut potatoes in oil, no salt at all. So jfood grabbed a salt shaker and added the salt. It made them better.

Now onto the hot dog. First jfood tried the plain after adding some mustard. First bite. Not bad. A basic Hummel pork-beef frank, nothing special. He finished the dog and moved to "the works." This included green relish, sauerkraut, mustard and bacon bits. Maybe the added flavors would work. Jfood tried a few bites. The bottom of the roll was now soggy, the relish tasted like store bought in a jar, there was no flavor in the kraut and the bacon bits added a nice crunch. Jfood now needed to decide to finish or leave with half the dog left. He ate the rest, finished a few more fries and called it a day.

So jfood's feedback on Rawley's. A basic hummel dog with a nice crunch, toppings can be found in Stop and Shop, fries were a great idea but did not score from the red zone. So jfood is not a big fan after one trip. And given SDW is a stone's throw away and is so, so, so much better, it is unlikely jfood will choose Rawley's over SDW any time soon.

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    1. Hi there,

      Gotta get the special house hot sauce next time the opp presents itself.

      5 Replies
      1. re: CTburgerlover

        Happy Thanksgiving CTb. Jfood is not a hot-sauce person. Do you like over SDW?

        1. re: jfood

          I'm a big fan of the Chicago and the New England at SDW. As you found out, you can't overload the dogs at Rawley's, the bun can't stand up to it after they grill it flat. Kraut, mustard, and bacon are it for me at Rawley's.

          1. re: jfood

            Happy Thanksgiving to you too Jfood. No, I like SDW better than just about any dog place in the area...the New Englander and the Chicagoan are my go-to's and the fries cannot be topped. Rawley's is a good change-of-pace, especially when I'm not up as far as Black Rock. Also, my little guy does not like his dog split...just a touch of the old man's OCD at age if he is in tow, we will hit Rawley's.

            1. re: CTburgerlover

              have you ever asked SDW to cook one un-split?

              1. re: jfood

                I don't, with a good option such as Rawley's in the vicinity it's no biggie.

        2. I went to Rawley's once some years back. The day I went I also made stops at Super Duper Weenie and Swanky Franks. At the time Rawley's used a different dog; Rosseler's beef/pork. It was deep fried then finished off on a griddle. Like Jfood, I thought it was okay. I only had mustard as I wanted to get the real flavor of this dog.

          Swanky Franks served a deep fried Hummel's then as they do now. Good solid dog. I liked SDW the best, but they too used a different dog back then. It was a Miller's Provisions beef/pork dog. The company went out of business, but Gary Zemola had the dogs made somewhere else for awhile until that place stopped making them. He now uses Hummel's. I haven't been back there since the switch, but I liked the Miller's dog.

          I've been to about a dozen places in Connecticut (I'm from N.J.) and my favorite was Rosco's in Hartford which is now closed. Next is the charbroiled dog (Hummel's long 5 to a lb) at the Glenwood Drive In in Hamden.

          3 Replies
          1. re: hotdoglover

            Happy Thanksgiving HDL.

            Jfood is glad you chimed in as he wanted to ask if any of the Italian place in the Elizabth + area who made those great Italian Dogs he grew up with used the Hummel. It is still hard to beat the 4/lb HN in the store on the grill at home.

            Thanks again big guy.

            1. re: jfood

              Happy Thanksgiving, JFood.

              All of the places in the area use the beef dog from Best Provisions in Newark for their Italian Hot Dogs. Hummel's isn't available in Jersey. About a year ago, a place called Eden Gourmet carried them, but later discontinued them.

              1. re: hotdoglover

                Like a lot of places no longer under control of the previous owner, Rawleys is not
                what it used to be. SWD is, quite literally, eating their lunch. But I do have a thought...

                Hey Rawleys!...get rid of the crap cheeseburgers, and get on board the burger train by getting in a flame-broiler and some great beef and some decent buns and make yourself a destination again, which you no longer are.