I get my fair share of fine dining in this area. Yes, I’m fortunate to be able to visit some of Mobile’s higher-end restaurants, but don’t think for one minute that I’m someone who doesn’t enjoy food on the lower end of the spectrum. To imply that burgers and dogs are less important than collar-shirted date nights is not my intention. Some days it’s very important to get greasy with a bit of the less expensive side of the menu.
When a little birdie reminded me this week about Uncle Jimmy’s Delicious Hot Dogs on DIP, I got a hankering for something a little more casual. For good, hearty hot dogs with all the fixin’s we usually round up the boys, so Rob, Snake and I met for our first visit to the eatery just south of the interstate.
They have a bit of an odd system at Uncle Jimmy’s. You grab a menu and fill in how many of each item you wish to order and turn in the slip of paper, much like ordering sushi. It took us a couple of tries, as we trashed a menu or two with scratches and circles and arrows, but in the end we figured it out. To be fair, one of us was on the eve of speaking at a Mensa meeting and we were trying to get all our mistakes out of the way before the weekend.
The meal began with a hefty serving of nachos ($2.50) smothered exactly how you’d expect. Chili, cheese, onions and jalapenos reminded me of ballpark nachos. Nothing fancy, these kind of fall into the guilty-pleasure category much the same way frozen pizzas and Natural Light do.
Snake was quick to go classic with a Deluxe Hot Dog ($3) loaded with ketchup, chili, cheese and onions. It was no match for our slithery friend, who also nabbed a small macaroni and cheese ($1) and washed it all down with a Diet Coke ($1). “It’s very important,” Snake said, “to cut your calories with diet drinks when eating hot dogs with chili.” From that side of the table there were no complaints.
Rob was not as fond of the macaroni and cheese as Snake, but did enjoy his dog with chili, ketchup, and coleslaw. He preferred the potato salad ($1.50 small/$2.50 large), which was quite a surprise since he hates mayonnaise more than anyone I know. He abstained from the nachos and undertook a pulled pork sandwich ($3), which served as fuel for his upcoming address. It was a plain-Jane bun and barbecue pork that put a smile on his face.
I love hot dogs, but I didn’t want to order the same old things as these two clowns, especially when there’s another side of the menu. The daily special dinner plate ($4.95 with two veggies/$5.95 with three) had my undivided attention. I couldn’t resist fork-tender pork loin. Add to that collard greens and mashed potatoes and I was in for a treat. It isn’t often you see a hot plate of meat and vegetables in a hot dog joint, so I will admit I was pleasantly surprised.
None of us was stoked about the dessert menu, which consisted of three flavors of moon pies. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I actually find it charming, but we’re not fans of marshmallow. Adding to that, Snake couldn’t stomach another Diet Coke, and I take my moon pies with RC.
This is the kind of spot with a good many regulars, as the cook called some by first name and you don’t have to guess why. The prices are insanely cheap. It’s a place area workers can stop in on their lunch break, have a meal in minutes and basically be stuffed, for less than five bucks if they order frugally.
Uncle Jimmy’s is also a place where one might spot a celebrity if one visits on a lucky day. Word on the street is that Mr. Clean is one of the regulars. That’s right, you read that correctly. I cannot divulge my source, but Mr. Clean is apparently a fan of Uncle Jimmy’s Delicious Hot Dogs. The chance of that alone makes the drive down DIP a couple of miles south of the interstate worth it.
True, this place is no Legacy or Bull or Royal Scam, nor would it wish to be. You have to have something for the Ben Matlocks of the world, and this place would suit our seersucker-wearing barrister just fine. I had a delightful time enjoying some easygoing cuisine and the drive home was as next to nothing as the price. Long live the mighty hot dog stand. Visit Uncle Jimmy’s as soon as you get the chance.
Uncle Jimmy’s Delicious Hot Dogs
2550 Dauphin Island Parkway
Mobile, AL 36605
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