If COVID has had a chilling impact on the native restaurant enterprise, you would not realize it from the lunch scene on the Canine Home Drive In on Central.
There have been at the least 20 vehicles within the small parking zone all through the hour I used to be there. When one left, one other pulled in to take its place. Two servers dealt with the state of affairs with aplomb, lugging drinks and luggage of meals out to vehicles after which stopping to take orders from the brand new arrivals.
The autos that crowded the lot got here in all styles and sizes. A low rider, home windows tinted an inky black, sat between an SUV full of youngsters and a bug-splattered van with Utah plates. There was no signal of Jesse Pinkman ready to purchase a handgun or Saul Goodman/Jimmy McGill peddling cellphones
Whereas “Breaking Unhealthy” and “Higher Name Saul” used it as a backdrop for legal exercise, the true Canine Home is a throwback to a extra harmless time. It opened within the Nineteen Sixties on the tail-end of the Golden Age of automobile journey, when Route 66 was essentially the most viable method westward to the Pacific. After the completion of I-40 within the late Nineteen Sixties, the so-called Mom Highway by means of Albuquerque fell right into a state of neglect; the Canine Home, nevertheless, defied the chances and prospered in its new location simply two blocks west of the unique spot on tenth Avenue and Central Avenue.
Some 50-plus years later, the restaurant stays a lot the identical, serving up scorching canines, hamburgers and shakes from a wheat-colored brick hovel topped with the now iconic neon signal, an elongated dachshund wagging its tail and chewing on a string of sausages .
The Canine Home has made some lodging for the trendy world. There are bars over the home windows and indoor seating is not obtainable, a coincidence of COVID. A couple of tables and benches have been organized out entrance for many who do not wish to danger splattering chili on their automobile seats.
The menu, posted on a big signal that hangs over the entrance awning, is comprised of basic American highway meals lived up with some New Mexico warmth. Nothing is greater than $8. You order out of your automobile and, primarily based on my expertise, you will not have to attend lengthy. A server approached me solely seconds after I pulled up in one of many angled parking areas. The meals arrived in beneath 10 minutes.
The foot-long chili canine ($4.90), the Canine Home’s signature merchandise, comes wrapped tightly in paper. The bun is stretched thinly across the size of a scorching canine that is been sliced in half lengthwise and seared on the grill. It is not essentially the most Instagrammable meals merchandise, but it surely tastes terrific. Splitting the new canine means it carries extra of the tasty char from the grill, and the warmth from the silky chili beneath sneaks up on you a number of seconds after you begin chewing. Its lands someplace between making your nostril run and eliminating your capacity to talk.
Like lots of the finest scorching canine stands, the Canine Home additionally serves up a stable burger. The patty on the Cheeseburger ($5.90) is ready smashburger type, and the mushy bun and crunchy chopped lettuce present an interesting textural distinction. It was tasty and straightforward to place away, however subsequent time I might wish to spice it up with some chili.
The Canine Home’s meat model of Frito Pie ($6.80), served in a greasy takeout field, was a no-frills presentation. A pile of chopped lettuce and tomato slices hid a layer of chili with floor beef over corn chips. The chili sauce softened the highest layer of corn chips however did not attain the underside chips, so some mixing is suggested.
Alongside the burgers and canines, standard sides embrace Tater Tots ($2.50) and Fries ($2.50). Each the tots, the scale and form of a small stack of poker chips, and the thick-cut fries have been properly carried out: crisp on the skin, fluffy and scorching on the within. I might advocate getting them with the chili cheese sauce.
The menu has floats and shakes that function each thirst quenchers and desserts. They’re obtainable in a 16-ounce dimension for $3.40 and a 24-ounce serving for $3.90. The 16-ounce Cherry Shake supplied a candy, creamy stability to the spicy chili.
Vegan and gluten-free choices are scant, as you may count on. Canine Home possession may take into account designating some choices on the menu for gluten-free diners the way in which that Clowndog in Nob Hill does.
Then once more, who am I to counsel any modifications? The Canine Home seems to be doing simply high quality in its seventh decade of operation. Due to the exceptional crew of servers and cooks, it is a well-oiled machine that runs easily even beneath a gentle onslaught of consumers.