In the Dog House, a surprising collection

by Brian Clarey

What else could it be but a Carolina dog, served loaded.

Twice, with fries. (photo by Brian Clarey)

In the Dog House, a surprising collection

I spent an entire Saturday recently watching a television marathon of the Travel Channel show “Man v. Food.” You know the one where the guy goes to a city and eats a bunch of gooey junk and then answers a food challenge? Yeah, that’s the one.

If you watch it back to back for six or seven hours, you notice the host Adam Richman eats a lot of hot dogs — in Hartford, Conn., Indianapolis, Miami, Buffalo, NY and even in Raleigh, where he downed 17 of them at the Roast Grill.

Although the hot dog comes from German lineage, the dish is about as American as they come, as exemplified by the cities from coast to coast that boast the humble tube steak as the epitome of local cuisine.

In New York City they get mustard and sauerkraut. In Chicago they slather them with relish, tomato and celery salt. Richman ate one in Miami paired with spicy chorizo, and I’ve seen them with pulled pork, bacon, cheese, barbecue sauce and any number of variations. In North Carolina, of course, we like them with chili and slaw at the very least, though mustard and onions are generally in the offering.

Anyway, while it’s doubtful the show will make it to the Triad anytime soon, if it did, High Point’s Dog House is definitely the kind of joint that would be featured. But they’d have to run a tight production schedule, as the place is only open for three and a half hours a day, closed on Sundays.

If you’re looking for fancy, keep walking. This place is basically a slim, low countertop with a few booths; subtle signage hangs out front, giving the place cred with the locals.

The menu is a study in minimalism: hot dogs, burgers, ham, bologna. You can get fries with that. It also enunciates the difference between a “loaded” dog and one that’s merely “all the way.” “All the way” implies mustard, onion and chili. “Loaded” gets slaw on top of

that. A “slaw dog” gets mustard, slaw and chili. Together they make up for about 75 percent of the lunch trade at the Dog House, which makes sense, I guess.

I like mine loaded, twice, and they come out in seconds on steamed buns atop a square of waxed paper, with a small boat of fries on the side. You can get a beer here if you want — they have both kinds: Bud Light and Miller Light, with a few Budweisers thrown in for the purists at three bucks a pop. But I stick to sweet tea, which is exactly as it should be.

The dogs themselves also hold few surprises. They’re smoky, as Carolina dogs are wont to be; the slaw is finely chopped; the chili is hearty and spicy. People don’t come to the Dog House for surprises.

But as I sit and chew, I am caught by surprise. Along the back shelves, behind the counter, is exhibited a marvelous collection of bottles and cans. Looking at it is more entertaining than reading the back of the cereal box.

There’s Carolina Blue soda and it’s neighbor Duke True Blue.

There’s a regiment of glass Coke and Pepsi bottles. There’s a can of Old South Beer, with a rebel flag on the can, next to empty cans of New Orleans Best Beer and Schmidts. And tucked in a bit is the fancy orange and blue flourish of an honest-to-goodness can of Billy Beer, the only commercially available alcoholic beverage ever endorsed by an immediate family member of a sitting president.

Man, I haven’t seen a can of Billy Beer in years.

wanna go?

The Dog House 668 N. Main St. High Point