Roast Grill - Hot Weiners

by Elliot Acosta

Packed inside of a tiny lunch counter, suits stand shoulder to shoulder with blue-collars. The line extends out of the door and curves down the sidewalk. Everyone that's waiting in the line, from politicians to teenagers, tippy toe forward leading them closer and closer to hot dog bliss. This is the almost daily scene at the iconic hot dog stand, the Roast Grill.

For over 70 years, the Roast Grill has fed the downtown Raleigh crowd with their take on the American staple. Variety is not on the menu at the Roast Grill, one item is on the menu and that hot dogs. Simple but perfected, the Roast Grill's hot dogs make the special out of the mundane.

Only one factory remains that produces the hot dogs that are cooked inside of the Roast Grill's comfy confines giving their dogs a distinct flavor. Their equipment is one of a kind as well with owner George Poniros, better known as "Hot Dog George," manning the meager flat top grill that has been seasoned by decades of frying up dogs.

Typical toppings such as ketchup, relish, mayo and cheese are absent, even ridiculed, at this establishment. Even fries and chips are not welcomed at the Roast Grill. Mustard, onions, slaw and homemade chili is the short list of available toppings. Handed down an old family recipe from his grandfather, "Hot Dog" George took an entire year to perfect the chili. Exclusively made for hot dogs, the spicy chili has been topping Roast Grill dogs for since its existence.

Little goes a long way at the Roast Grill as a fully loaded dog is only a couple of bucks. Complete with complimentary tootsie rolls, you'll have a meal that even Travel Channel's Adam Rickman has gorged on.

7 S. West St., Raleigh; 919.832.8292.