My little brother, Zach, a college student who lives just off Newbury Street in Boston, has been raving about Spike's Junkyard Dogs for months. After our visit last Friday night, I can finally say I understand what all the fuss was about.
Now, if you're like me, and you eat mostly fresh veggies and whole grains, and you're concerned about maintaining a nutritious, sustainable, and predominantly local diet, you're probably thinking hot dogs? Is she crazy? Allow me to explain. Spike's is a small chain of franchises scattered through Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Their hot dogs are 100% beef, with no sugars, sweeteners, by-products, or fillers. Their soft French rolls are made on the premises daily and are a huge leap from the spongy, preservative-laden hot dog rolls we're all used to.
When it comes down to it, these hot dogs are certainly not the healthiest option you could possibly choose. But I believe in moderation, not deprivation, and that means occasionally eating something just because it tastes great, even if it's not nutritionally perfect. Spike's dogs are a worthy indulgence. But if you're more strict than I am, Spike's does offer fat-free veggie dogs at the same (low) price. I haven't tried them, so I can't vouch for their taste.
Spike's dogs come plain ("The Mutt") or with a variety of toppings; Zach ordered the Texas Ranger (BBQ sauce, bacon, and cheddar), Dan selected the Ball Park Dog (onions, cheddar, and mustard), and I opted for the German Shephard (mustard and sauerkraut). All the dogs cost between $2.99 and $3.99, depending on toppings, and unless your appetite is an untamed beast, one dog will certainly do the trick. For $6.65, you can get any dog, plus curly fries and a soda; the fries are excellent, clearly freshly made and never frozen. Maria always gets the chicken tenders, and I could see why: they were juicy and yes, tender, with a perfectly crisp and slightly spicy crust. Spike's also offers salads, subs, and grilled chicken sandwiches.
The only part of the meal that was even slightly disappointing was the sauerkraut; it wasn't "sauer" enough for my taste. But, as I've mentioned before, I really like vinegar and very tangy flavors, so this falls more to personal preference than to any error on Spike's part. Ultimately, Spike's offers delicious dogs at great low prices, and I will definitely eat there again.
Spike's Junkyard Dogs
1076 Boylston Street (Corner of Mass Ave)
-eight other locations throughout New England