This new hot dog craze is really catchy. If you are able to make a fantastic and snappy wiener made from an all-natural casing, a fresh baked roll and plenty of interesting topping, you will make a success of this whole doggery thing. Jerry’s Wood-Fired Dogs did just that. This is an unpretentious hot dog Mecca that is light on the wallet and high on truly good flavors.
The menu can be a bit overwhelming, so perhaps it is best to stick to the basics on first pass. Oh, once you have gone there will be multiple laps, your fascination for the wood-fired dog won’t allow anything but just that.
Sure, Jerry’s is a chain from California. This is the same state that brought us the tear-inducing In-N-Out burger, the Governator, swimming pools and movie stars. But overlook the chainy aspect of Jerry’s. This is screaming star in its own right. Local owner Joe Corcoran has seen to that fact. There the man stands stoking the grill with honest-to-goodness logs of wood, turning the dogs and sausages to ensure a perfectly even and light char on the outside.
Corcoran and crew wistfully work like a human-sized ant farm cooking in precision to make each order with a smile in the vastly open kitchen.
As each guest enters the building, it doesn’t go unnoticed. Down the line, not too unlike the wave at a high school football game, each employee shouts out his personal greeting.
All this happiness aside, the dogs are really good. You can order a dog with or without a casing, but the Jerry’s original is the way to go. Or one of the sausages. They have the Spicy Hot Link that is replete with jalapenos, or the Smoky Joes Kielbasa which was our personal favorite. The first bite into the Kielbasa relented a certain charred crispness that gave way to a juicy chomp.
The ingredients invariably spill out onto your plate, or sometimes your shirt if you are not exactly careful. We never are careful and wear out lunch proudly on our sleeves. There are 30 ingredients to jook up your dog or you can order one of the many specialty dogs.
And then there are the burgers, also kissed with the same wood-fire the dogs are ritualized with. You may order these much in the same fashion, already prettied up with ingredients or wait and let the expediter dress your sandwich as you pick it up.
There are some interesting sides, but do not allow yourself to order without adding the house-fried chips. These babies stay fresh all day, but best when still sizzling and crunchy. Corcoran adds just a kiss of salt, or you can do a few dashes of their spicy seasoning at pick-up.
If this wasn’t enough to stop in for a visit, you will be pleasantly surprised to know that Richard Dawson is the general manager. Dawson said he is pretty much there all the time to ensure your dog barks loudly with flavor. This isn’t the smooching game show host, but it did make us smile when he introduced himself. He will still field silly Werner Klemperer questions as long as it pertains to hot dogs.
Mark Jerry’s as one of the new must try restaurants in Dallas. Jerry’s is located in Lakewood at 6340 Gaston Avenue.