Monday, January 18, 2021

Hot Dog Pete's

The BEST hot dog in Atlanta is at Hot Dog Pete's in the increasingly bustling Summerhill neighborhood. This is not your childhood hot dog experience! Actually, I can't tell you the last time I had a hot dog that wasn't at a cookout or a baseball game, but that has officially changed for me. I'm now on a mission to make my way through Hot Dog Pete's menu, which means numerous returns to this awesome spot on Georgia Avenue, which boasts not only delicious dogs, it also offers beautiful views of Atlanta's downtown skyline.

Hot Dog Pete's | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Hot Dog Pete's | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

Hot Dog Pete's is owned by Nick Pihakis, of Jim N’ Nick’s Bar-B-Q (also amazing!). Nick named Hot Dog Pete’s for his business partner, and co-owner, Pete Graphos. Pete is the mastermind behind the Alabama-based chain Sneaky Pete’s Hotdogs, founded in 1966, and sold by Pete in 1986. The Atlanta shop pays homage to Sneaky Pete’s 50-year hot dog legacy in Alabama.

If you can't tell by the last names, Hot Dog Pete's has decades of Greek-American food culture behind it. If you know me, you know that I lived in Greece for more than two years and absolutely loved (and still love) the food and the people. Of course I had to dine here!

Hot Dog Pete's | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Hot Dog Pete's | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

I'm thrilled to see Summerhill coming to life again. It's one of the oldest neighborhoods in Atlanta, formed in 1865. It gained lots of attention as home base of the 1996 Centennial Olympics and the Olympic Stadium, which was immediately reconfigured as a baseball stadium for the Atlanta Braves. Unfortunately, the expected development in the neighborhood did not happen after the Olympics. It wasn't until the Braves left for Cobb County that Summerhill began experiencing a resurgence. 

I was upset when the Braves left downtown, but now that I see Summerhill growing into a popular destination, with numerous restaurants, shops, and a brewery, it's become obvious that the Braves' departure was a good thing for the neighborhood. Win-win!

Hot Dog Pete's | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

On this particular visit, my first time here, I enjoyed Pete's Special Dog. This one has Pete's original meat sauce, diced onions, and mustard. Sounds pretty basic, but it takes hot dogs not only to the next level, but a few levels beyond that. 

The wieners are custom blended by Fritz’s Smoked Meats and Superior Sausage–Kansas City’s oldest smokehouse, founded in 1927. Those wieners (and sausages) are cooked over charcoal, totally creating a sense of hot dog nostalgia. Also in the present, there's a vegan dog offering, too. 

The buns are brioche buns that are are baked fresh at Atlanta's own Alon’s Bakery and Market, founded in 1992. Alon's is also where I get my birthday cake and cakes for other special occasions when celebrating at home. The best! 

Check out the menu and I think you'll find Hot Dog Pete's on your must-visit list.

Hot Dog Pete's | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Hot Dog Pete's | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

You can get fresh Waffle Fries, but why do that when you can get Loaded Fries! We're talking waffle fries, Pete's famous meat sauce, cheddar, pico, and mustard! Yes, I had the Loaded Fries on my first visit and I'm not sure I can go back to regular. 

I've had loaded fries before, but nothing quite like Hot Dog Pete's Loaded Fries. I'm one of those people who usually drown my fries in ketchup, but Hot Dog Pete's drowns theirs in hot dog toppings! Seriously...look at those! There are waffle fries under that glorious mound of hot dog toppings. And they're not just topped with toppings, there are toppings mixed throughout the fries, so you get toppings with every single bite. I even had some left to scoop up after the fries were gone.

Some of the other sides are chili, onion straws, collard green slaw, cucumber and feta salad, and more. Portions are generous, so if you leave here hungry, it's your own fault.

Hot Dog Pete's | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Hot Dog Pete's | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

The patios — one covered and one with umbrellas and bistro lights — are spacious and nicely appointed with comfortable seating.

Beverage-wise, they have soft drinks and iced tea AND milkshakes and ice cream floats! Next time I'll have a strawberry milkshake, but this time I opted for a beer. They have several local beers — Yay! — and some domestic selections, too.

Hot Dog Pete's | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Hot Dog Pete's | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

If you enjoyed your Hot Dog Pete's experience and want to tell you friends, why not tell everyone by sporting a hat or t-shirt

In case you didn't know, that's a Georgia State University Panthers helmet on top of the merch shelf. Hot Dog Pete's is supporting their local team — Center Parc Stadium next-door (the former Olympic Stadium turned Turner Field, home of the Atlanta Braves before they moved to Cobb County) is home of the GSU Panthers football team.

Hot Dog Pete's | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Hot Dog Pete's | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

Hot Dog Pete's has its own free parking lot behind the restaurant, accessible from the front, and there's additional free parking nearby. This is the awesome view from the parking lot (Olympic Cauldron, Georgia State Capitol Building, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Georgia-Pacific Center, and 191 Peachtree Tower) and you also see the skyline from the street level patio seating. Quite the view, right?

If you have room for dessert when you're done here, pop in next door to Hero Doughnuts and Buns. I'm hoping to blog about Hero soon! Hero and Pete's are both part of Pihakis Restaurant Gruop.

Hot Dog Pete's | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Hot Dog Pete's | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

Did you notice that "Pete's" is spelled with hot dogs? Clever, right? You'll notice that everything here, every detail is done with thoughtfulness and for the purpose of creating a unique, totally fun experience for the customer. The service is awesome, too.

I can think of 100 reasons to go to Hot Dog Pete's just off the top of my head. In their own words, this is the perfect reason to visit: "Hot Dog Pete’s is a celebration of flavor, history and people—a delicious story told through an iconic food." Hope to see you there soon!

(This post is NOT sponsored. The opinions expressed here are my own and not influenced by anyone else.)


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