That means it’s time to start eating hot dogs and hamburgers in mass quantities before we get sick of them.
One place I’ve been told to try is Riley’s Gourmet in New Britain.
There are over 20 different styles of hot dogs here, each with a unique blend of toppings.
But to truly get a sense of what this place has to offer, we have to go both wild and crazy and classic.
But first, the fries.
These came out looking absolutely gorgeous.
A wonderful dark color promising crispness and heavy fried flavor.
That was a lie.
The fries, even fresh out of the fryer, were just mushy.
It is a real sensory shock, seeing that color but tasting that mush.
The chipotle ranch dipping sauce you get when ordering them cajun style is really lovely.
But for the fries themselves?
The Rating: fries
Okay, so the fries weren’t great. But maybe the dogs will be!
We start classic, then go about as wild as we can find.
Hotdog w meat sauce
It’s tough to be in the same city as Capital Lunch, so if you want to order a hot dog with meat sauce, their game needs to be top notch.
The meat sauce is not good. It’s overly grainy, possibly from too much blending.
Fun fact, that consistency of sauce is gotten by making a chili and then throwing it in a blender.
The dog itself has a very good flavor, but it’s so small and thin you can barely taste it.
The bun isn’t even grilled.
Leading to the question, why have one?
Over time, the grainy meat sauce wears you down.
The Rating: HotDog with Meat Sauce
Okay, that’s concerning. But what about all the crazy dogs?
So let’s try the craziest one can find, so maybe we can get a sense for what is in between crazy and standard?
Thai Two-O Hotdogs
A hot dog slit lengthwise and grilles, covered in sweet chili sauce, tangy coleslaw, fuego mayo (which they warn you is very spicy).
Overall, it’s a nice mix of a sharp heat, sweetness, and freshness from the slaw.
The balance is nice, with nothing overpowering.
But again, you kind of end up forgetting there is a hot dog in there.
The flavor of the meat is overpowered by everything else, and it’s so thin you lose it.
Imagine something between a sharpie and a highlighter in terms of thickness.
It can’t stand up to the toppings.
This is good, but I want a hotdog.
The Rating: Thai Two-O hotdog
Overall: the toppings are nice enough, minus the meat sauce.
See if you can get a second dog.
See if they can grill the bun a bit.
Or just go somewhere else.
Riley’s Hot Dog & Burger Gourmet
Address: 61 Glen St, New Britain, CT 06051
Hours: Sunday & Monday Closed
Tuesday through Friday 11am to 6pm
Saturday 11am to 3pm