Jimmy John’s Frankfurters, West Chester, PA – Day Traveller - a day trip whose goal is nothing more than the all American hot dog.
There was no greater connoisseur of the hot dog than my father. To find the finest frankfurter a day trip by car or an hour detour on a regular drive was not unusual. After all, a quality hot dog, in its own right can be as equally satisfying as the finest delicate preparation. My father found hot dog stands from South Philadelphia to Millville, New Jersey. There was even a day trip to Levi’s in Manhattan with no other purpose than a hot dog. I can still see him asking for mustard and sauerkraut , two things as a five year old I found repulsive. I can still hear his cry of shock when Wildwood boardwalk hot dogs went from 5 cents to 10 cents.
I also clearly remember what seemed like an endless drive into the deep West Chester countryside of fifty years ago for the sole purpose of relishing the joy of a Jimmy John’s hot dog. I haven’t been back to Jimmy-John’s since I was a child. Then, recently while out on the road, I happened to pass by and a Proustian rush of memories invaded my mind. While I couldn’t stop in at the moment, I determined to devote a day to a visit. If there is a day traveller drive worth its goal, it’s a day traveler drive to Jimmy-John’s Famous Frankfurters.
I haven’t been back to Jimmy-John’s since I was a child. Then, recently while out on the road, I happened to pass by and a Proustian rush of memories invaded my mind. While I couldn’t stop in at the moment, I determined to devote a day to a visit. If there is a day traveller drive worth its goal, it’s a day traveler drive to Jimmy-John’s Famous Frankfurters. The building today is not the same as when I was a child. In those days, as I mentioned, Jimmy-John’s was in the deep country and the hot dog stand was just that, a small shack with a counter and a few small tables. Today’s long brick building is on a heavily traveled four lane highway in a highly developed area of malls and gas stations and hotels.
Of course, I have no way to compare Jimmy John’s hot dogs of fifty years ago with those of today. But I can certainly say without reserve that Jimmy John’s franks are nothing short of an exceptional taste and texture experience. The casings of Jimmy John’s hot dogs are what I would call Anthony Bourdain tube meat. Jimmy John’s dogs are made with natural casings that snap and crack between your teeth releasing a meaty succulence not unlike that of the finest home style kielbasa. This is not a hot dog that you devour. This is a frankfurter worthy of the finest savoring. This is a fast food that demands you to take your time. The mouth -feel, texture and taste are unlike anything else that claims to be a hot dog. No wonder my father would make a day trip of going there.
I also must note that the staff at the counter were the most polite and affable young men. When I asked for a hot dog without a roll for my dogs and then asked them to put some ice on it to cool it down, they didn’t raise an eyebrow. Indeed, they seems as though it was the most normal and reasonable request. Then too, I must mention the train sets. One circles above the periphery of the dining area and the other is in a central glass case: a delight for children. Is a hot dog worth a day trip? My father certainly thought so, and so do I, if you’re going to Jimmy Johns.