Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Skippy's Hot Dogs - 624 West Fourth

It's difficult to choose your favorite downtown restaurant however, if I had a list Skippy's Hot Dogs would grace the top of that list. Hot Dogs, you say, have I lost my mind with all of the marvelous choices downtown. All that says is that you haven't been to Skippy's. If you had, you would clearly understand. A Skippy's Hot Dog begins where no other Dog has begun before as Mike freshly bakes soft pretzel rolls. I am not talking about any old pretzel roll, but a secrete family recipe from Pennsylvania. Then the roll is steamed for softness, graciously buttered and placed on the grill for toasting. Did I say it is buttered? Yum. Now comes the thick succulent Nathan's all-beef frank. No, it does not come out of boiling water onto the bun. No way, Mike carefully slices, butterflying the frank and places it on the grill. From there its your desire including as available toppings: yellow mustard, spicy mustard, ketchup, house-made chili, house-made slaw, sauerkraut, shredded cheddar, sweet relish, banana peppers, chopped onions, grilled onions, tomato, pickle. Let your imagination run wild!

Don't have an imagination? Pick from the stock choices:

All the Way Dog - Mustard, chili, slaw, chopped onions

Reuben Dog - Spicy mustard, kraut, Swiss Cheese

Chicago Dog - Mustard, onion, sweet relish, dill pickle, tomato, banana peppers, celery salt

Chili Cheese Dog - Doesn't need explaining.

Not cool? Fine, have a veggie Dog - NOT THE SAME!

I will be honest, I would never visit Skippy's and have anything other than one of Mike's fabulous Hot Dogs. However, I can understand that your desires of fine cuisine might not be as refined as mine. Mike does have other items on his menu, which I choose to ignore and place a link here only for the gastronomically disadvantaged.

Skippy’s Story
(From Skipp’s Website)
Skippy's owner Mike Rothman became inspired to make soft pretzels after he moved to North Carolina in 1994.  While widely available and very popular in his home state of Pennsylvania, authentic pretzels could not be found in the Winston-Salem area.  Mike experimented with several recipes and took lots of tasting trips around Pennsylvania before finding just the right recipe.

 The recipe that was finally chosen was from a Pennsylvania family that has been making soft pretzels for several generations and Mike was very lucky that they chose to share their secrets with him.  Mike's pretzel guru was Glenn Smith, and he came to North Carolina in June of 1997 to train Mike in the art of pretzel making.  The Carolina Dutch Pretzel Company was born, and Mike left his computer career to follow a dream.
Mike sold the pretzels through vending at local events and festivals, as well as wholesaling them to several schools and businesses in the Mocksville and Winston-Salem area.  After a few years, Mike starting thinking about centralizing his operation into a retail outlet.  He had sold hot dogs in pretzel buns as part of his vending and they were a huge hit.  He decided to open a sandwich shop featuring his soft pretzel rolls.
Mike bought New York Bagels and Deli on Hanes Mall Boulevard in Winston-Salem in June 2001.  He operated the restaurant as a bagel shop for several months while learning the ropes and refining his concept.  The restaurant officially became Skippy's in April 2002, serving hot dogs and sandwiches on pretzel rolls.  The hot dogs and hand cut french fries were even more popular than Mike expected, and are what Skippy's is known for today.
Check out this article in the July 14, 2010 Winston-Salem Journal:

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