Ode to…

I thought it might be fun to do an “Ode to…” series each month or so (a.k.a. or whenever I remember to do it…) to highlight a “Masanotti favorite”. Most of these will be in the QC because well, that’s where we live, but we also tend to travel to NYC and Wilmington pretty often, so you never know if one of those will creep in from time to time.

In thinking about the first one to feature, I wanted to pick a place that we frequent often and that we definitely LOVE. Having a 2yr. old can present it’s own challenges when trying new food establishments, but Jay and I have been determined to expose Lady A to all types of food since she was a baby. Now, don’t get me wrong…despite our best efforts, she STILL flexes her 2yr. old independent muscles from time-to-time, eating only “chick-eh-lay” nuggets and fruit cup. However, for the most part, she’s a pretty adventurous eater (PTL).

So in honor of Lady A, the first “Ode to” goes to one of her most requested food places…

JJ’s Red Hots

I was first introduced to JJ’s a few years ago when I judged an awesome Food Fight hosted by The Plaid Penguin. Jonathan Luther, Co-founder of JJ’s, and his team challenged the Plaid Penguin crew to a lobster roll cook-off. It was a GREAT day filled with delicious food. (Side note to my Plaid friends: Please bring these food fights back, they were the BEST!)

However, it wasn’t until Lady Amelia Rose came along two years later that we started frequenting JJ’s on the regular. To be honest, I’ve never really liked hot dogs, but JJ’s has completely changed the game for me. I think I’ve eaten more hot dogs in the past year than I did in the first 30 years of my life…for real.

But these aren’t just plain hot dogs. JJ’s is committed to creating the BEST hot dogs on the planet…and I think they are pretty close. They use quality all-beef smokehouse dogs from Sahlen’s, potato rolls from Martin’s and the finest toppings to create some of the most creative pairings I’ve seen. They also have vegetarian options, turkey dogs, chicken and more.

I typically order the featured “Dog of the Week” because they are INCREDIBLE, (my favorites to-date include the “Improper Charcuterie” featuring our friends at Improper Pig and the “Campaign Champagne” featuring Chef Alyssa’s Champagne-Tomato Jam)  but my regular go-to is the Quarter Hounder — topped with queso, bacon, lettuce, tomato & secret sauce. Mhmm mhmm! Jay orders the #1 JJ’s Dog and the Dirty Jerz, and Amelia orders the Puppydawgs with fries every. single. time. I mean, on the healthiness scale of 1-10 with 1 being super healthy and 10 being “I’ll punch you in the face if you read me the nutritional content,” these dogs are probably in the 5-6 range, but they are truly delightful.

To say we go often is quite the understatement. You can find the Masanotti clan at JJ’s every other week, at the least, on Tuesday nights for their $2 original dogs & beer specials. They also host Kids Eat Free on Wednesdays (Dilworth & Ballantyne locations only). The Uptown location finally opened in January 2018, so now there are 3 locations to choose from. JJ’s has already made quite a name for themselves in Charlotte and beyond. They even garnered national attention with a feature on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-ins & Dives in 2017.

Do yourself a favor, even if you think you hate hot dogs, just go try them. You might not frequent on a weekly basis like we do, but maybe you will. See you next Tuesday, we’ll be the ones with a rowdy Lady A dancing in the booth as she pounds pickles from their homemade pickle bar! ❤


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