The hot dog: simple, tasty and cheap

James “Honey” Trawick wanted to open a hot dog restaurant.

A simple plan for a man who had spent 25 years as a roofing contractor and knew the hot dog as a quick and easy lunch-time favorite for roofers. His idea for a Dothan restaurant was based in part on visits to The Varsity, an Atlanta drive-in where hot dogs are at the top of the menu.

“I just thought of having a clean place to eat them and a good hot dog,” Trawick said.

So since July 2002, locals have had their fill of hot dogs at Trawick’s restaurant — Honey’s Hot Dogs on Fortner Street. Trawick, nicknamed “Honey” by a granddaughter, and his wife, Brenda, manage the business with help from their daughters, Jamie Lolley and Tracy Cumbie. Some days, you might even see granddaughters Molly Cumbie and Ariel Lolley helping out.

A summer staple, hot dogs are the frequent choice at sporting events around the country. Tied strongest to baseball, it’s estimated that professional ballparks will sell 30 million hot dogs this year, according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council.

From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the Council’s consumption statistics show Americans typically eat seven billion hot dogs. That’s 818 hot dogs consumed every second, the Council’s Web site states.

At Honey’s, the favorite is a chili slaw dog all the way.

The Trawicks are doing something right. They’ve had to build onto their restaurant three times. On a Saturday, families line up to eat. And even with Fortner Street blocked recently, a Friday lunch crowd still found their way to Honey’s.

“They say it’s the chili,” Brenda Trawick said. “We put something in them that calls them back, but we haven’t figured out what it is.”

Maybe it’s the chili. Maybe it’s the homemade fries, cut each day. Maybe it’s that anyone can appreciate the simplicity of a good hot dog — with chili or without; onions or no onions; topped with slaw or relish; ketchup, mayonnaise and mustard; plain with nothing but a wiener and a bun. It’s whatever you please.

Honey’s has its regular patrons.

Chris and Lindsey Fain come about once a week. While Chris said he’s not really a hot dog person, they like the prices and the atmosphere.

“The chili’s good,” Chris Fain said. “I love their chili.”

Patrick Bolin of Cottonwood comes to Honey’s for the chili cheese slaw dogs. He’s a big boy, he quickly states, and wants a cheap lunch. Bolin will usually eat three or four dogs on a visit to Honey’s.

“I could eat more, but I don’t,” he said.

---------------------------

If you go ...

Honey’s Hot Dogs

Where: 4554 Fortner St., Dothan

Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

How do I get there? From Dothan, head west on Fortner Street; the restaurant is halfway between Honeysuckle Road and Brannon Stand Road, just past Bob Hall Road.

Peggy Ussery

Jul 23, 2008