Monday, July 02, 2012

JJ's Red Hots - Sneak Preview and Grand Opening

You can't miss this new paint job!

JJ's Red Hots is having its GRAND OPENING on July 4 - what a fun idea! If you are in town you should definitely check it out because not only can you taste the delicious hot dogs, onion rings and desserts crafted by the JJ's team, but you can also hear the award-winning Nation Ford High School Drum Line just before the 2 PM ribbon cutting and you could win free hot dogs for a year! Check JJ's Facebook Page for details and RSVP here.

Last week I had the opportunity to meet the owners, managers and staff at JJ's and to sample a good portion of the menu. JJ's is in the space occupied by The Drum restaurant, which operated from 1948 - 1995. Following the end of The Drum's operation several restaurants have opened and failed in this space. Judging from the new design, the level of enthusiasm and the quality of the food I think JJ's is here to stay!

We tried sample portions of most of the offerings and all were well-executed and tasty. JJ's uses smokehouse hot dogs from Sahlen's Packing Company in Buffalo, NY and the dogs are chargrilled over an open flame - yay for that charred smoky taste! Then come the toppings. There are eight signature hot dogs like the Char Heel (house-made chili, house-made slaw, diced onions and mustard) and my favorite: the Joliet Jake (Chicago style with tomatoes, sport peppers, diced onions, pickle relish, deli mustard, celery salt and pickle spear). You can also build your own with a long list of toppings, some of which are made in-house. House-made picked jalepenos and pickled vegetables are available at a self-serve bar near the soda fountain to top things off. I didn't try these during my visit but next time I'm definitely going to load up!

JJ's also serves several specialty sausages including house-made smoked salmon sausage with quick-pickled cucumber, red onion and herb aioli - so tasty and a good option for the non-pork eating crowd. The chicken sausage with grilled onions and bell pepper was another favorite of mine but the andouille sausage sliders take the cake with delicious cole slaw on top. Bratwurst, Italian sausage and a Polish round out the sausage menu. Salads and homemade chili are also offered so yes, you could even take a vegetarian here - the onion rings and desserts are great too!

Left: JJ's No. 1 Red Hot and The Maui Gold with grilled pineapple salsa. Right - one of my favorites - the Joliet Jake Chicago style dog.

The Char Heel.

JJ's Polish and Andouille Sausage "Sliders".

Back: Salmon sausage (left) and chicken and herb sausage - two of my favorites. Front: JJ's White Hot and onion rings.

Ownership/management team.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Ganache Bar - simply awesome! I love the thick graham cracker crust with the delicious PB mousse and chocolate ganache - yum! JJ's also offers hand-spun milkshakes using the delicious ice cream from Greenwood's in Atlanta.

JJ's offers made to order orangeade and lemonade - the lemonade was particularly good and there is beer on tap as well as a canned beer and wine list. There is also a kids menu featuring "puppydawgs" (chopped frankfurters in bite sized pieces, battered and fried to order) and offering fruit salad and apples as healthy sides for the little ones. Bottom line: JJ's has something for everyone! I look forward to returning to JJ's soon! This is a great addition to the neighborhood and hopefully one that will last on for years to come. Remember.... "Don't Dis' The Dog!"

Honoring the past of The Drum.

Dad had fun tasting with me!

Rooftop deck. This will be great when it cools down!

JJ's Red Hots on Urbanspoon

Disclosure: The meal described in this review was complimentary.