George's No. 1 Hot Dog Shoppe
If a hand drawn sign in dire need of some paint and the archaized use of the word "shop" don't scream "a fine place to hunker down with some dogs for lunch on Friday," I don't know what does.
Perhaps it was because this was our first stop on the Showdown circuit and your correspondent was quite hungry. Maybe it was the tiny bottles of Coke that won over my heart. It could have been the owner George, coming to speak with me at length about his establishment (he's been in business for 36 years) and the great care he takes in finding the best dogs in the midwest (they're processed for him exclusively at a small locker somewhere in South Dakota the location of which he said he could not divulge). Or maybe because they were just that spectacularly good, that George's No. 1 Hot Dog Shoppe on Hamilton Boulevard in Sioux City, Iowa, right down from the Wendy's that used to have the weird taco buffet, has won, for your correspondent at least, the title best Coney Island hot dog in the greater Siouxland area. Congrats, George (I wanted to write "congrats" using Greek characters but don't know how to do that so good ol' English will have to do). A round of Ouzo shots are in order.
Some high-level hot dog discussion happening right there. George explained to me how he asks for his dogs to be processed at a smaller diameter than his competitors. I do not know why.
Buddies Kaz and Abby get busy on what would turn out to be a kick ass afternoon full of suds and encased meats.
The importance of a steamed bun cannot be overstated.
Fat and happy, your correspondent and a judge who will remain anonymous (Alexander Carl Dickman) look forward to the next stop.