Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Barkers Red Hots

3000 Windy Hill Rd. SE, Ste. B6, Marietta, GA www.barkersredhots.com

I've been to the Varsity, I've been to Brandi's in Cartersville, and I've eaten countless hot dogs at Braves games over the years. None of these even come close to the dogs served at Barkers Red Hots on Windy Hill Rd. They aren't the world's cheapest hot dogs, but I can assure you they cost less than the dogs at Turner Field and taste far, far better.

On Saturday Kyle and I picked up an order of 1 original red hot ($2.79), 1 original cheese dog ($3.10), 1 jumbo cheese dog ($3.99), 1 large order of onion rings ($3.45 - enough for 2 people) and 1 cookie ($.65). I love the original red hots (pictured on the left). It's a normal hot dog, but it's actually grilled (!) right in front of you on a charcoal grill. Yum. I'm a traditional hot dog fan, so I think charcoal cooking is the only way to go.

The onion rings are phenomenal, and the chocolate chunk cookie was luscious. The cookies are like your mom makes - glistening with what I assume is butter, soft baked and not uniform, clearly homemade.

Barkers also serves sandwiches (including fish), sausages, crinkle cut fries, baked beans and coleslaw. The sandwiches look great in the pictures, but I've never tried them. Once I get inside and smell the hot dogs I can't bring myself to order anything else. There are several other dessert options, including real Moon Pies. If you like soft drinks, they've got something a little different: Crystal Beach Loganberry, available in large and small sizes. It's on the sweet side, but tasty. As for a sample, and you'll get a little cup of it to try before you buy.

Every time you go to Barkers you'll see the same 4-5 people working there. I like that about the place. The employees are cheerful and eager to help the customers. One of them told me that Barkers is in the process of opening up a second location in Roswell, so be on the lookout for that.

Kids will love Barkers. It's set up to look like the northeast sea shore, with extremely cute decorations, a length of high seaters along with regular tables, some outdoor seating with umbrellas, and a combination of "fun" music (think Beach Boys) and "shore noise" - sea gulls, the sound of the ocean hitting the sand. You can't help but like it.

My only complaint about Barkers is a serious one - the hours. You can only eat there from 11am - 3:30pm, Monday through Saturday. The owners say they tried to open for dinner and didn't get much business. Unfortunately it seems like Kyle and I always want a hot dog later in the day. The hours wouldn't be so bad if they were the same all the time. Sometimes we've driven by and seen the restaurant was closed, mainly on Saturdays, for no discernible reason. They are also closed most holidays. It's best to call in advance and make sure Barkers is open before you head in that direction, salivating for a red hot.

Verdict: Best hot dogs in Atlanta.

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