Nothing like a good dive!
|I’ll admit to loving my own photo this time.|
When I classify a restaurant as a “dive,” I mean that in the nicest possible way. In fact, it means I absolutely fell head over heels in love with it. If it was just a crummy burger joint with crap food, I wouldn’t lay down my proper “dive” term on it at all. Oddly enough, I’ll go as far as to say I like a place with chipped up barstools and scribbled up walls as much as I like a place with $200 bottles of wine hanging off the rack in the dining room. You see, I’m a throwback and so is one of my favorite hot dog stands in Connecticut, Rawley’s Drive-In.
I was introduced to Rawley’s by my uncle when I was maybe 13 or 14 and still had summers absolutely free to go fishing and swimming and just be a kid. Even at almost 30 I still find myself going back. And it’s kinda crazy but I’ll even look for a reason to see a movie up the line a bit just so I can stop at Rawley’s or another goodie, Super Duper Weenie. Both places share me; there was a huge, messy custody battle.
|It’s small, yo.|
|Dude, I know your name is not “Bacon Chili Cheese Dog.”|
For me, Rawley’s is special. Special because it looks like it’s falling apart, possibly rotting. And even though it’s not really disintegrating before all of our eyes, that stuff adds character. Right down to the hearts and initials on the walls with pen, the names and food references carved with car keys into the wooden booths, this place has “it.” “It” is clearly a place where we all belong, a place that is genuinely retro cool.
The food ranges from what you’d expect: burgers, fries, onion rings, steak sandwich, a few chicken choices, a salad (Why, man? Why?!), shakes and my reason for always returning…deep fried Roessler Hot Dogs that tend to rip open after they spend time in hot oil in the fryers and the grilled finish they receive.
|Wonderful. It truly is.|
|Gotta get fries too, right?|
I typically order two hot dogs; one with chili (and their chili is average at best), but the real deal here is the dog with the works. The works at Rawley’s equals mustard, kraut, relish and crumbled, very crispy bacon. Martha Stewart and Alex Guarnaschelli are both huge fans of Rawley’s dog with the works and I can see why. It’s got some tart from the relish and kraut, some zip from the mustard, and plenty of greasy crunch from the bacon and deep fried skin of this ripper dog.
Rawley’s may not be everyone’s favorite, it’s not my top dog around but it’s a damn good one and more often than not, “damn good” gets the job done. Still though, if you put that dog with the works in front of me and put it head-to-head with other area hot dogs, I’m almost certain I’m picking and devouring the one from Rawley’s.
1886 Post Road
Fairfield, CT 06824