When you live in one of the most sparsely populated states in the Union it doesn’t take long to build an empire...or become a hot dog legend. Born from the brain of a BYU student, a recent addition to regional favorites is J Dawgs which is now sporting 4 locations in the greater Salt Lake City area. When not taking in the dogs in confines of local baseball diamonds I like to check out local favorites that are either nationally renowned or recommended by the locals. The latter steered me to J Dawgs. Since I was holed up in Park City, UT for a few days last week waiting on the Bees to come to town, I hit one of the popular hot dog joints accompanied by Lori, the matriarch of my hosts the Henson family.
The most striking feature of the J Dawgs location in American Fork is its design and decor. Think urban Scandinavian. It is spartan, clean, functional and designed for efficiency. There are basically two dog choices: all beef or Polish grilled with their specialty criss-cross cut that not only facilitates cooking evenly but act as sort of a tread that helps keep the condiments on the dog. No specialty dogs. Once your dog is ready you tell the friendly person behind the counter which condiments you want to top your tube. And there is the secretive J Dawg sauce available if you wish to live dangerously.
Lori and I sampled each other’s dogs to get a good feel for the SLC eateries offerings. And we both agreed: good dog at a good price for a good lunch in a good location; but nothing to get your garments in a twist about. I personally liked how the outlet was outfitted. Without all of the cutsey kitsch that adorns many such places you can tell the place is super clean and sanitary at a glance. And such things are important to me before I consume processed leftover meat parts stuffed into an intestine tube.
While it lacks the wow factor of the over the top selection at a place like Pink’s of Hollywood, or the aurora of history that The Dog House in Albuquerque has, J Dawgs does have what it takes for a recommendation to dine. When in the Salt Lake City area, thou are hereby commanded to take thine wife(ves) for a hot dog at the J Dawg.