We may go in for our share of fancy food, but there’s lots of times when only the simple things will do. Amidst running around the white sand beaches of Florida’s Emerald Coast, drinking more than we probably should, and relaxing poolside at our condo, we had to make time for that most important of meals: lunch. And not wanting to break the bank (or drive), we discovered a small deli within walking distance of the Beach Club that specialized in hot dogs called The Dog House Deli. Jess and I both love a good hot dog, whether we’re making them for ourselves or getting them from our favorite local hot dog cart, so we had to give it a try…and then another try. Our final verdict? The Dog House is fantastic cheap beach eats.
My first experience with the place was a Chicago-style dog made with onions, sweet relish, tomatoes, pickles, peppers, and celery salt — a very tasty combination. I’m sure that Chicago natives could nitpick this version of their local delicacy to death, but it tasted pretty good to this Arkansas boy.
Even better than the Chicago-style was the chili, cheese, and onion monster you see in the picture above. That’s an 8-inch dog on a soft bun, covered in savory chili, yellow mustard, and just the right amount of chopped onion. Sure, the chili dog isn’t the most inventive way to eat a hot dog, but this version of the classic was one to remember.
The best thing I ate a The Dog House, though, wasn’t a hot dog at all — it was a big slab of Polish kielbasa. The sausage was part of the New Orleans-style plate which saw the kielbasa covered in sauerkraut and then doused with thick, rich red beans. Should red beans and rice where the rice is replaced by sausage and kraut on a bun work? Probably not. Did it work? Oh, most definitely. The sausage was spicy, with a nice snappiness to the casing, and the beans were as good as any I’ve had. The kraut added a nice, bright tang to the plate, and the bun was substantial enough to hold everything up, although a fork and knife were necessary to maneuver around this plate of goodness. I paired the beans and sausage plate with a Pensacola Bay Brewery Riptide Amber, which reminded me favorably of a Diamond Bear English Pale. All in all, a top notch lunch for not a lot of money.
The Dog House Deli is located at 35 Via de Luna Drive in Pensacola Beach. It’s not very big, but it will quickly become your go-to place for lunch if you’re in the area.