Food from Buffalo is severely under represented here in Atlanta, a city where it’s easy to find just about any type of cuisine. Sure, Buffalo-style chicken wings are everywhere, but I’m talking about beef on weck in all its salty, spicy, succulent glory, and those sexy Sahlen’s hot dogs.
As far as I know, Barkers Red Hots on Windy Hill Road in Marietta has been the only place in town to offer Sahlen’s hot dogs, filling a much-needed void. But Alpha/Roswellians should be happy to learn that owner Glen Robins has opened a second location (725 W. Crossville Rd., Suite 158, Roswell Te: 770.643.1833) that’s much larger than the original store. And, with all that extra space, they sell retail packs of those unique high quality Sahlen’s hot dogs and sausages, and they’ve expanded the menu to include hamburgers and hand-dipped milkshakes.
I’ve made several trips to the new location already, and sure enough, Robins was standing over the grill meticulously pressing two dogs with his forks over the charcoal, just as he was every time I walked into the Marietta location. For those not familiar with Barkers, Robins has a tedious process of charcoal-broiling his dogs to make sure that each and every one that goes out receives a proper blistering and is served wearing a splitting coat of crispy char. The man surely has blistered knuckles.
I take my dog with the restaurant’s heady hot sauce, onion and pickle spears. Don’t worry the hot sauce has more bark than bite. It has more of a tangy, zingy flavor than it does heat.
Unlike the Sahlen’s hot dog, there are two or three other places around town that do serve a beef on weck sandwich, but none come close to the quality of this one. Robins makes the salty, caraway Kimmelweck bread himself. He uses quality flank steak strips instead of roast beef and the staff does ask if you want the full smear of horseradish like a true Buffalonian, as it is spicy enough to shoot out through your ears and clear your sinuses.
I’ve been a big fan of Barkers Red Hots for a very long time and I’m not the only one. Robins has built a cult-like following over the past twenty-seven years.