Some of the best restaurants in the world focus on doing only one thing, and doing it perfectly. While in the United States much of the emphasis lately at mega-chain restaurants and the up-and-coming “Fast Casual” restaurants (like Panera) has been on the something-for-everybody menus that read like a Tolstoy novel. Compare that with Europe, where many bakeries have a single specialty for which they’re famous. It certainly isn’t a surprise that Hofmann Hots subscribes to this old school tradition peddling a product that’s over a hundred years old.
Sure, there are newfangled innovations on the menu, like pretzel-coated chicken dogs, and dogs made out of fish, but the real divas of this soiree are the traditional German and Polish dogs that are served betwixt this sinfully decadent buttered split-top bun that’s baked fresh daily in the store. We visited during lunch, without having really looked at the menu first, and it certainly proved to be somewhat daunting, but the folks behind the counter seemed more than happy to help a first-timer.
We couldn’t help but try the foot long German dog, which can be split between two different styles; we opted for the Himalayan on one end (onion chutney, toasted curry aioli, and fried onion straws), and Sweet & Smokey on the other (maple glaze, smoked gouda pimiento spread, chopped bacon) alongside an order of Beans & Hots (more commonly known as “beanie weenies”). The Himalayan side was a curried treat reminiscent of the popular German snack currywurst, and the cheese spread on the other side was a nothing-less-than-sublime combination with the maple glaze. The Beans & Hots were also bursting with flavor; it’s apparent there’s a lot of love and babysitting put into that recipe.
It must also be mentioned that there is little humor lost in the idea of running a hot dog joint. Signs throughout the spotless establishment instruct customers to “Grab your wiener here” or “Gobble a wiener!” They’re also not above upselling, asking if “your wiener needs a shake?” They’re custard shakes that come in chocolate, vanilla, and oreo, and they’re served right in the stainless steel mixing cup.
Dogs are priced between $4.50 for the plain ones and $7.95 for the “Kitchen Sink” with all the sides, and make for a quick lunch or dinner. They have no problem with credit cards or children (kid’s meals are $3.50). Hoffman Hots is a freestanding building across from the Trinity Groves complex just south of the Margaret Hunt-Hill Bridge.