Joey’s Hot Dogs vs City Dogs — No Contest!

I didn’t know I would be having lunch today at City Dogs, the newest contender for the hot dog crown in Richmond. But it was close enough, so I hit the road — the only hassle was parking.

You have to work damn hard to beat Joey’s (which I wrote about in the post immediately below this one). Joey’s is a classic dog — mustard, onions, chili, a few extras if you want them. But not ketchup. Never ketchup.

Unless you’re under twelve.

City Dogs, on the other hand, offers a variety of dogs, all named after cities in the U.S. I had the Richmond dog, as it is the closest to Joey’s — and I had to compare them — a Miami dog, and a dog with mustard, onions and Cincinnati chili.

First, It appears that the wieners at City Dogs are the same as Joey’s. They come tied with string and have the great, snappy skins. Like Joey’s, they’re grilled – the only way a hot dog should be cooked.

Trust me. I’m the Dogman.

The difference seems to be the length of cooking time. Joey cooks his long enough to give the dogs scorch marks. City Dogs might be a tad undercooked; they are certainly crunchier than Joey’s, and very pale in color.

Joey steams his buns to a soft, bready goodness. City Dogs doesn’t. They’re warm, but not soft, and they don’t have much taste. Because the buns weren’t steamed, they didn’t close around the dog and the ingredients – my chili kept falling out.

The Dogman is also a slob.

The chili down at City Dogs is meaty and tasty – I really liked it. Joey’s is more finely ground and tastier. That, I love.

City Dogs has three edges over Joey’s:

1. A variety of hot dogs, plus hamburgers, fries, and a cheesesteak. The Miami dog, which I hoped would be especially tasty, comes with salsa (a type of pico de gallo that appears homemade) and shredded cheese. It was good, but not as savory as I had expected – a little bland, to be honest. The Cincinnati Dog was topped with Cincinnati–style chili, which is incredible on top of pasta. It was good here, too, and if I ever go back, I’d get this one again.

2. Location in Shockoe. Great place, busy as hell at lunch. Guaranteed to draw a crowd.

3. A full bar. Also, a night time guarantee.

Bottom line: Joey’s is still the best dog in Richmond, but City Dogs is going to make a lot of money because of its considerable edges.

My advice to Joey: get your cart downtown for lunches, or open up shop a few blocks west.

If you dog it, they will come.

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