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Elkhart Dining Days 2015: Hotdogeddy's is a good place to duck away for lunch

Ed Hayden smoked up his place just for me on Saturday. Smells are free advertising, after all, and the people already enjoying their lunches perked up, wondering just what more could Hotdogeddy possibly create in Elkhart’s smallest kitchen.

Hotdogeddy’s, 700 S. Main St., is a one-man operation with just a handful of tables. The atmosphere can’t be beat — natural light streaming in from large windows, a classic tin-pressed ceiling and seats right next to an exposed brick wall. Eddy’s offerings are the perfect fit.

I ordered the Polish sausage with a side of potato salad from the Elkhart Dining Days menu for $10. The split sausage was served Maxwell Street-style with grilled onions, four sport peppers and a nice drizzle of yellow mustard. When the meat and onions hit his small griddle, the place filled with instant ballpark aroma you just can’t beat.

Served up, it took two bites of sausage just to reach the bun. That’s a winner. The spicy, salty sausage offered a kick paired with the peppers, but it wasn’t an overwhelming heat like the fresh jalapenos Eddy can drop on other dogs.

Usually, I just order two dogs or pick up a bag of chips to go with one. The inclusion of the rustic potato salad was a welcome bonus — creamy with the nice topper of paprika, very similar to how my mother-in-law makes it for summer get-togethers. I’d definitely order it if he keeps it on the menu.

I hollered at Eddy if it was homemade. He was grateful for the question and proud to say yes.

“I’m just a hot dog guy,” Eddy said, scraping his grill for the next round of dogs and onions. Then he grinned and said, “Really, you should try my lobster roll. Too bad for you, this is just a hot dog shop.”

Right. As I ate my lunch Saturday, he told a carryout customer about his Downtown Dog that features a sriracha aioli and pico de gallo. That’s way more than just a hot dog on a steamed poppy seed bun.

The Chicago Dog, another Elkhart Dining Days entry, is my favorite. If you’ve not had it, consider yourself warned that it’s a minimum three-napkin effort. I’d definitely order up the Maxwell Street style again, as the Polish had some real snap.

I love sausage and I don’t really care WHO says it’s wrong

Steps off soap box.

Wipes mustardy meat juice from chin.

The best sausage sandwich I ever ate was in Boston probably 15 years ago. I sat on a curb along Lansdowne Street in the shadow of Fenway’s Green Monster and devoured a grilled creation by The Sausage Guy. It was a true beauty after a day of being on the road and not having a thing to eat.

My traveling companion saw mine and ordered one for himself. After his first bite, I asked what he thought: “It’s good, but it’s not $4 good.”

I aggressively wadded my foil wrapper and yelled in the direction of the steaming food cart, “That’s (um, wicked good) sausage, Sausage Guy,” to which the cook responded, “That’s what I like to he-ah!”

The moral of that story: Always enjoy a meal with good people.

See you again really soon, Eddy. 

Trevor Wendzonka started writing for The Elkhart Truth when it was only available on paper. Today, he’s the marketing manager for The Lerner Theatre and SoMa – Live, Work, Play

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