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Dec 18, 2010 10:15 AM

Pre-1980 Hot Dog Joints In Birmingham Alabama

Planning another trip that will take me through B'ham twice in January.

My plans to gorge on whiting fish sandwiches is not looking so good so I've come up with an alternate: Exploring B'ham's vaunted hot dog scene with an emphasis on the old.

Where are y'all getting your hot dogs these days.

My former favorites: Hot Diggity Dog's and Gus Burgers and Bean Dogs [wonder what happened to Gus' amazing record collection he had mounted on the walls?] have gone to the great hot dog stand in the sky, so I'm at loose ends.

Only historic places please as that's the point of this trip.

Hot Diggity Dogs
1643 S College St, Auburn, AL 36832

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    1. Scrumptious, there are several places for whiting sandwiches around Elmwood and B'ham-Southern. Health ratings can be iffy though.

      BTW, don't forget Lyric Hotdogs across from the Alabama.

      15 Replies
      1. re: deepfriedkudzu

        I'll get out in that hood and do some exploring. Hard to be around those parts and not build up a powerful hankerin for a dammit to Hell from the old Tired Texan though.

        1. re: scrumptiouschef

          Southern Foodway Alliance addressed B'ham's vintage hot dog restaurant scene below.

          If you've got 13 minutes and like historic Birmingham hotdog arcana then you might want to view it.

          1. re: scrumptiouschef


            Thanks for the links.

            Here's the itinerary so far:

            1] Sol's Hotdogs 3002 12th Ave. North

            Opened 1970

            Sounds like this is the one that the aficianados claim is the best.

            2] Gus Hot Dogs at 1915 4th Ave North

            Opened 1947

            This is the one that gets lots of positive verbiage from the old school hot dog eaters

            3] Pete's Famous 1925 2nd Ave North

            In business since the early 1900's it became Pete's in 1939.

            Mixed reports with some folks saying no longer worth a visit. Possibly coasting on old glory.

            4] Lyric Hot Dogs and Grill 1808 3rd Ave North

            Opened in 1957

            Good reports on owner Collins' chili

            5] Sams Super Samwiches 2812 18th St S. Homewood

            Opened late 1970's

            I've eaten here several times and know it to be good

            6] Scott's Koneys 2021 3rd Ave S.

            Opened 1977

            I seem to remember this hot dog joint being in a different location but could be wrong. Not a lot out there on Scott so I'm curious as to how the chow is.

            The old school Greek run hot dog joints are dying out.

            The owners have worked hard their whole lives making their money a dollar or two at a time so their kids could go to college and get "good" jobs.

            Get out to an old school hot dog joint today and write about it.

            Gus Hot Dogs
            5415 Beacon Dr Ste 139, Irondale, AL 35210

            Scott's Koney's
            321 Richard Arrington Jr Blvd S, Birmingham, AL 35233

            1. re: scrumptiouschef


              I second Gus's--very good dogs. What you say about Pete's Famous is probably accurate--the old gray mare may not be what she once was. But, it's probably worth a trip just to see the owner, Gus Koutroulakis. In some ways, he is like Birmingham's own version of the "Soup Nazi."

              Here is a link to a web site that lists various hot dog joints around the country:


              It is incomplete at best, but you might see a name or two listed you want to try.

              1. re: pinotboy


                Very nice, informative piece about hot dog culture in Birmingham.

                1. re: scrumptiouschef

                  There used to be a frozen custard (& more) place in Tuscaloosa called " Papa's" - they made fantastic hotdogs using Vienna Beef.

                  Is there anybody in Birmingham that uses Vienna for their hotdogs?

              2. re: scrumptiouschef

                Sounds like an aggressive but awesome dog crawl. I might have to re-create it! Maybe I can get Nab down here to help out.

                1. re: Dax

                  Bring Nab down and we'll do it together. He knows how to contact me


                  1. re: scrumptiouschef


                    Real nice piece on Sol. Wonder if he's part of the Zarzour clan that tried a local burger chain concept a million years ago?

                    They had a stellar fried baloney sandwich.

                    1. re: scrumptiouschef

                      Hmmmm. Don't recall ever hearing the word "stellar" and "fried baloney sandwich" in the same sentence. I always like reading your posts, scrumptiouschef" and your perspective on good food.

                      1. re: Big Daddy

                        Getting off-topic for Birmingham, but if you've never had the thick-cut fried baloney sandwich at Cozy Corner in Memphis, it's worth a try. Cozy is talked about often on chowhound but check this out:


                        1. re: Dax

                          Kelly's Jet over in East Lake had a world beater fried baloney sandwich a million years ago.

                          Topped off with a pint of green Kool-Ade from one of those bubbling plastic jugs on the counter was a great way to start a thrift store crawl through east Birmingham back when Moses was young.

                          And Big Daddy, I know it's a long shot but you're not the Warrior Al Big Daddy are you?

                          1. re: scrumptiouschef

                            No, I'm not. Only been around this burg a decade, but I grew up in Georgia and lived in South Carolina nearly two years.

                            This talk kinda reminds me of a tour I took once of a county jail. The guards and inmates were crowing about how it was Friday, so lunch was pineapple sandwiches. You got mayo on your sandwich if you were good (or, I suppose, knew somebody or were willing to pay). Big jugs of Kool-Ade in the cell block earned the nickname "bug juice." Everyone in the tour declined to partake -- even with the offer of mayo on the sandwiches.

                            1. re: Big Daddy

                              "tour you took" yeah, ok Big Daddy.

                              Anyhow, hit 3 off the list today.

                              Pete's wins for atmosphere and gruff charm but loses on flavor and price.

                              Lyric easily had the best special sauce. It would taste great on smoked pork shoulder or fried baloney.

                              Gus was good, loved the deep char on the dog. Sauce was overly reduced with one dominant flavor: sweet.

                              Sol's and Chris tomorrow.

                              Who saw the wisdom of putting a shop called "Easy Money" across from Southtown brickyards?

                              I nearly busted a gut rolling by there earlier.

                              I hope their clerk has some unholy body armor to brace up for a busy shift.

                              1. re: scrumptiouschef

                                I assure you I walked through the front door.
                                I can't wait to try your favorite.