Reds, Whites and Burgs…
Timely colors for the 4th of July, yet these are the common call outs of the eats at Kowalski Hots, a Dayton area hot dog stand that sells hot dog brands, that are only found in upstate New York.
Only the Food Adventures Crew has the scoop on this unique, one of a kind, family owned business.. at least in Dayton it is unique. In upstate New York, it would be a traditional and common favorite!
Do you know how tough it is to get these brands in Dayton, Ohio? The answer, is you have to drive to Buffalo, Rochester or Syracuse, New York, yourself and get them, because that’s the only way they are coming here.
And that’s just what owner, John Kowalski does. He himself, or friends and relatives traveling back and forth get cases of his… well hot dogs in special casings… ironic, huh? They even get the NY mustard too. Authentic to the bone. We have visited this hot dog cart at Menards on 741 or at area festivals a couple dozen times. We are hooked. We have even met his sister, Katrina, who was helping with the cart at various local festivals and food truck rallies.
In his upstate New York accent, John educates his customers about Red Hots, White Hots, and NY Coney sauce. His long “aaa’s” are a distinct sound and make the experience even more authentic. Now for the scoop on this Rochester native and his magical hot dog cart.
HERE’S THE SKINNY:
— John Kowalski’s world was turned upside down by a stroke in March 2013. Determined to make his Kowalski Hot’s vision come true, he persevered through 2013 and with God’s help, he was able to update the cart in 2014. Today, he is in good health, and rockin’ the grill about 5 days a week.
— “HOTS” doesn’t mean heat or spicy, it is Upstate New York slang for Hot Dog… “BURGS” is short for hamburgers
— Kowalski’s hot dog cart can be found at Menards on 741 Wednesdays through Saturdays 11am – 2:30pm. He is also at area festivals so make sure your check his Facebook page HERE.
— Using Evan’s Bakery and Dorothy Lane Market’s buns, Kowalksi Hots specializes in Hoffman brand hot dogs, Zweigel brand hot dogs and Sahlen’s brand from Buffalo. He offers local burger meat and uses Jaworski brand, a Cleveland favorite for his Polish Kielbasa and Italian Sausages.
Let’s sort through the steaming weenies and find out which ones are the MUST EATS.. queue the fireworks…
— HOFFMAN’S RED HOT: Not hot or spicy, remember hot is just NY slang for hot dog. These are German style hot dogs and more like the typical hot dogs we know here in Dayton. Hoffman’s is a hot dog company out of Syracuse, New York since 1879 and is wildly popular up there. These hot dogs use lamb casings. This Red Hot is traditionally topped with Hoffman’s mustard (they have it) and onions… but make it your way, baby… Hot Dog ! Dont forget the bun is from Evan’s Bakery in Old North Dayton!
— HOFFMAN’S WHITE HOT: Nothing spicy – again hot means hot dog, but this is a white hot dog, and looks a lot like a skinny bratwurst. The lamb casing on this gives a slight pop, when you bite into it. It tastes a bit like a breakfast sausage, very mild. The Big Ragu is weird with meat and even he likes it. He doesn’t like brats and he eats this stuff. In Syracuse, they eat these with Hoffman’s Mustard, get some on the cart.
— SAHLEN’S BRAND FOOTLONG CONEY: The footlong, oh yes. This brand, Sahlen’s is famous and popular in Buffalo, NY. Get one with coney sauce and load it up. It will take you 2 hands to carry it around until you nibble to the halfway point. Just a regularly flavored hot dog, but a damn good one.
— KOWALSKI HAMBURG: Served on a Dorothy Lane Market Kaiser Roll, this burger made our top list in Dayton. A great burger, on a great bun, he even adds the “must eat” coney meat sauce on top of the patty. Our secret – add relish and onions to the patty as well… result: AMAZING!
— ZWEIGEL’S RED HOT: Plump and red in color, closer to what Daytonians know as a mild Metwurst. These are a little thicker and tend to split when you grill them. Rochester native’s love that crunchy pop when you bite into them and traditionally serve them with Coney Meat sauce or just mustard, onion and relish. You decide, we will take pictures.
— ZWEIGEL’S WHITE HOT: Most Dayton natives will think this is a Bratwurst. Again, these split when you grill them and are typically served with meat coney sauce, or doctored up with mustard and other toppings. He serves them on the Evan’s Bakery rolls (Old North Dayton bakery).
Honorable Mention: THE WARRIOR PLATE: Known as a “garbage plate” in some walks, this is a Rochester NY tradition. It is macaroni salad, covered with either a burger or a red hot, and topped with coney meat sauce. Are you hungry? Get one of these plates, named after John’s high school mascot.
COMING SOON: You heard it here exclusively, they will soon feature a Beef on Weck with Au Jus.
You can catch Kowalski Hots in Benham’s Grove at Americana festival July 4, 2015 all day. He will also be at Garlic Fest, July 19th from noon-8pm at Sons of Italy’s Bella Villa Hall on County Line Rd.
Make sure you try some of these incredible whites and hots, when you are near Menards in Springboro/Miamisburg, or at local food truck rally or festival. The hot dogs are an inexpensive treat and the burger is fantastic too. Take the opportunity to get a taste of what many will never taste, true Upstate New York Coneys. Now, how much better does it get than that old school experience?
Check out more photos below and like Food Adventures with Chef House, Hungry Jax and the Big Ragu by going HERE