Frankly, it's a pleasure

TAKEOUT

Enjoying hot dogs at Weenie World

April 09, 2003|By Tom Waldron | Tom Waldron,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

It's probably not prudent to make a habit of them, but hot dogs are one of life's irresistible guilty pleasures.

If you're in a hot-dog mood (and in Dundalk) you ought to give Weenie World a try. Yes, Weenie World. There are a couple of other cousins to the hot dog on the menu (Italian sausages and Polish kielbasa), but this place is all about the humble frankfurter.

The small restaurant sits next to a car dealership on a busy stretch of Merritt Boulevard, a quick hop off the Beltway. Hot-dog facts and lore grace the walls.

The owner, cashier and cook is a whirling dervish named Shane who manages to keep track of every order during a busy lunchtime - onions on this one, chili for him, foot-long for her. Every carryout owner should be so nimble and blessed with such a good memory.

Weenie World turns out perfectly adequate, but by no means unusual, food. The hot dogs and buns seem to be your average store-bought variety, which can be spruced up with more than a dozen toppings, including the usual ketchup, mustard and onions, as well as broccoli, coleslaw and sour cream.

The Big Dog ($1.50) was a plump quarter-pounder cooked on a grill. The chili that came with it was inoffensive but could have used a little zip. A Tex-Mex Dog ($2) was a smaller wiener smothered in store-bought salsa, shredded jack cheese and sliced jalapenos - a tasty combination. I couldn't resist trying a corn dog ($1.25). Thirty-five-year-old memories flooded back, but I quickly realized why I haven't really missed corn dogs all these years.

The hot Italian sausage ($2.75) was fat and spicy, while the pork barbecue sandwich ($3.50) had an identity crisis - somewhere between real barbecue and a sloppy Joe. Stick with the hot dogs. The onion rings ($1.85) were crispy and delicious.

Weenie World sells cookies and sometimes brownies.

Weenie World

Food: ** 1/2

Service: ****

Waiting area: ***

Parking: *** 1/2

Where: 1099 Merritt Blvd., Dundalk

Phone: 410-284-9495

Hours: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday; closed Sunday

Prices: Hot dogs with a variety of toppings, from $.99 to $2.60; Italian-sausage and pork-barbecue sandwiches from $2.75 to $3.50; no credit cards

Outstanding: ****

Good: ***

Fair or uneven: **

Poor: *

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