The Southsea food and drink scene is happily expanding at a rate of knots. We’ve got a great selection of pubs, bars, restaurants… and everything in between. Fancy a gourmet burger? No problem. Authentic Japanese sushi? You got it. Turkish kebabs? No sweat. More craft beers in colourful cans than you can shake a stick at? Sorted.
And now we can add a dedicated hot dog restaurant to this diverse list. (I’m not forgetting Feed or Dangerdogs – more on these soon!)
This weekend saw the Grand Opening of The Crafty Hotdog Company on Albert Road. Of course, I followed my stomach and couldn’t resist checking it out.
Grand openings make me slightly nervous. Will people show up? Will something go wrong? What if it’s just a bit rubbish? But when we arrived at 12.30, the restaurant was packed full of people merrily munching away on delicious-looking dogs. There was quite a long wait for food… but you expect a few hiccups at an opening, and receiving a genuine apology was a nice, personal touch.
Note: If you’re thinking of burger van-style, plastic-tasting Frank sausages, stale buns, and overcooked, sticky onions… you’re in for a pretty pleasant surprise.
72 Albert Road, Southsea (next to the 5th Hants Voulunteer Arms, on the corner of Albert Road and Napier Road).
If you hadn’t already guessed: hot dogs! They also serve sides and smothered fries, craft beers and a nice soft drinks menu, which includes organic lemonade/cola/ginger beer and milkshakes. It’s a good space with tiled and wooden walls, and a selection of benches, armchairs, and counters with stools. (Guys, get a few more stools!)
What This Girl Ate
As some of you will know, it’s impossible for me to resist anything with cheese. So, predictably, I went for the Mac Daddy – hot dog, mac and cheese, bacon bits, and crispy onions. I also ordered fries, though quickly realised the hot dog alone would’ve been enough!
The sausage and bun were delicious, and the crispy toppings were perfect. The mac and cheese was good, though could’ve done with being a bit cheesier (personal preference).
My friends Rosie and Tom had a Nacho Dog and a Buffalo. Rosie’s Nacho Dog came with soured cream, jalapeños, guacamole, crumbled nacho chips, and cheese. It got a thumbs up, though was accompanied by a desire for melted cheese instead of grated. Tom’s Buffalo came with with spicy buffalo sauce and blue cheese… spot on!
The fries were something special! Skin on, crispy, with a good bite. Despite being absolutely stuffed, they were totally moreish.
To drink, I went for a Lemony Lemonade, from Karma Cola. Perfectly refreshing for a warm, June Saturday. Tom ordered a vanilla milkshake, which came in a Mason jar, complete with whipped cream on top and a straw. Rosie opted for a Camden Hells Lager, a classic, refreshing, hoppy, easy drinker.
The Crafty Hotdog Company has gotten off to a good start. Delicious sausages, a great selection of toppings, lots of different beers, tasty sides, friendly service, and a cool space.
Once they’ve found their feet a little bit and reduced the wait time, I think it’ll become a regular spot for us.
Bonus: Apparently they allow dogs! (The hairy kind, not the meaty kind.) Pip will be pleased, he loves a bit of sausage.
Price: Mac Daddy, 7.50, Nacho Dog, 7.20, Buffalo 7.50, fries 2.95.