Updated Thu, Jan 16, 2014 2:33 pm
In a college town like Athens, Ohio, you can’t throw a stone without finding a unique food establishment, but O’Betty’s Red Hot! Dogs and Sausages stands out like a sore thumb - even if it’s located in one of the smallest buildings in town.
Tucked away just steps from Court Street - Athens’ main drag - is a place that takes hot dog love to a different level.
Eclectic. It’s the best way to describe this small restaurant at 15 West State Street where you’ll see a life-sized devil woman and hot dog collectibles referred to as a ‘hot dog museum.’
The weenie collectibles and décor make it quirky and fun – but the food is the real star.
Listed by Yelp as the #1 place to eat in Athens, the reviewers have nothing but love for the famous “weenies with a wiggle.”
One Yelp reviewer said, “Normally I'm really disappointed with the whole hot dog culture. I think a Hot Dog is a gross food creation. And FLIPPIN leave it to O'Betty's to change my mind...”
This, my friends, is not your normal hot dog. They have a spicy flavor with a natural casing that crunches and great toppings to make them extra special.
The menu boasts several different creations, or as they describe it ‘a varietease,’ all named for Burlesque dancers. You don’t order a hot dog with mustard, sauce, etc. You order a Blaze or Salome, or maybe a Varla or a Mata Hari. The menu is a work of art in itself.
Let’s give a few examples straight from their menu:
Tempest 'Stormy Weather' - Our tempestuous Tempest will spice up your life with Hot Hot "Casa Nueva" Habanero Salsa, Chopped Jalapenos, Shredded aged sharp Cheddar Cheese and Sour Cream.
Syra 'The Swiss Doll ' - Our Swedish Sinsation revels in Sautéed Mushrooms, Shredded Big Eye Swiss Cheese and Mayonnaise.
Sally 'Hide & Peek' - Sassy Sally Satisfies with Sizzlin Bacon, Fresh Diced Tomato, and Shredded Romaine Lettuce with Mayo.
Of course, you could order a Hootchy-Kootchy, which allows you to add the ‘show sToppers’ of your choice.
O’Betty’s hasn’t forgotten Athens’ large vegetarian population. The ‘Smokey Shy’ gets rave reviews on Yelp, including a person that says “Even after I stopped being a vegetarian, I STILL ordered the vegetarian dog here because they're that good. I can't imagine a stronger endorsement than that.”
Hot dogs aren’t the only sandwich offerings - Sheboygan Bratwurst, a veggie Reuben grilled cheese sandwich, grilled shaved rib-eye steak and a spicy hot German pork sausage round out the menu.
They also offer ‘members of the band’ that include hand-cut fries with tasty add-ons such as Cajun spice, fresh garlic and various forms of cheesy chili creations. The cole slaw is sweet and creamy and the baked beans are delicious.
The good news -- since they cater to a college crowd, the prices are very reasonable. But don’t forget to make a stop at the ATM for a little cash –they don’t accept credit cards. And if you need to park, only metered parking spots are available.
The bad news – you’ll forever have the taste of O’Betty’s on your tongue and other hot dogs will never compare.