Where hot dogs are more than just a hot dog

When I see an interesting Tacoma restaurant advertised on television, such as The RedHot Hot Dog Joint,  I try to track it down and see what it is really like.

The RedHot Hot Dog Joint excited me because I love a hot dog. Summer, winter, any time. I am happy with a dog on a bun, and this place sounded quirky and fun.

The RedHot is an over-21 restaurant specializing in locally brewed beer. The restaurant has a large, airy dining room with comfortable seating  with plenty of room for walkers or wheelchairs, and there is a nice, varied menu specializing in sausage and hot dogs that are blended and cooked on-site. We found them to be very good and very different from what is commercially available in the grocery store.

We ordered The Red Hot, a nice six-inch dog on a poppy seed bun for $4.50, topped with spicy brown mustard, onions and sweet relish, with extra Pepper Jack cheese at 50 cents;  a Big Kahuna, locally made linquica sausage with oriental-style sauce, cole slaw, onions and grilled pineapple rings at $6.50, a juicy, spicy, crunchy mouthful of goodness; a Sausage Smitty Burger, $6.50, made with a six-ounce house ground sausage patty, served on a buttered  and toasted ciabatta bun with house secret sauce, American cheese, onions, pickles, lettuce and tomatoes, mildly spicy and delicious. We also ordered Frito Pie at $4.50 which was Fritos corn chips with chili and nacho cheese sauce – very good and fun to eat, and we craved a bigger serving; barbecue baked beans ($2.75) and a side of macaroni and cheese at $4.25.

The sandwiches were good, but I wish they had a choice of bread instead of all the buns being poppy seed. Also, I ordered a side of the delicious macaroni and cheese to take home, and for $4.75, with an extra 50-cent charge for carryout, I got one tiny ice cream scoop-size serving. Stingy.

We ordered Snoqualmie Falls Root Beer, $3.75, locally brewed, full of flavor and very creamy. Homemade root beer is nothing like what you get in a plastic bottle, and is worth trying.

The RedHot is an interesting place to visit. If you like hot dogs and sausages, and if you want to sample some new flavors of these standards, give it a try. Might be crowded at happy  hour times, but service was quick and helpful when we were there.


The RedHot Hot Dog

2914 Sixth Ave., Tacoma

253 770-0229

Open Sunday 9 a.m.-11 p.m., Monday through Thursday 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Friday 11 a.m.-midnight, Saturday 9 a.m.-midnight.

If you like hot dogs and sausages, give The RedHot restaurant a try, says food writer Carolyn Augustine.