Let’s start with Brandi’s World Famous Hot Dogs (1377 Church Street Ext NE, Marietta, 770.422.3681). This area classic started as Betty’s World Famous Hot Dogs. Betty retired and sold the — along with her famous chili recipe — to Brandi.
At what is now Brandi’s hot dog shack, young professionals rub elbows with the white hair overalls set to get their spicy chili dog fix. This chili is so hot the waitresses offer to strain the chili (taking away some of its fiery sting) for the less tolerant. One of these pork/beef dogs smothered in chili will only set you back $1.85. You’ll need at least two.
My next stop is Barkers Red Hots (3000 Windy Hill Road, Marietta, 770.272.0407). Barker’s began as a downtown push cart operation in 1984, Atlanta’s first fully licensed street vending operation. They are now a Windy Hill strip storefront, but the food is every bit as good, if not better.
Barkers serves up a unique plump, juicy, fat beef dog made exclusively for them by Sahlen’s, a popular fifth generation sausage maker in Buffalo. Glenn Robbins (owner) tediously stands over each dog pressing them against the heat to ensure a blistery charcoal char. The classic and most recommended toppings here is Barker’s hot sauce, onions and pickle sliver. The hot sauce isn’t a fiery napalm like Brandi’s chili, but the singe slowly accumulates until perfectly around the outer edges of the mouth.