A pair of weiner dogs holding baked potatoes greets you on the door. The walls are lined inside with funny signs. Order slide down a cable linked from the cash register down to the man behind the grill.
That man is Scott Long, owner of Spud Dogs in downtown Macon, and his personality alone makes a trip to this place worth the price of one of their giant hot dogs.
Sometimes he can be found playing his guitar and serenading customers as they scarf down the last bites of their loaded baked potatoes. The goal is to bring a creative take on the food while also offering a fun, family atmosphere for all.
“We are built on the back of things like Nu-Way. They were here for 100 years,” Long said. “It is kind of a unique restaurant that is kind of a place of refuge for some.”
Come prepared for some good food as well as good conversation. Long likes to get to know his customers and it’s in his nature to strike up a conversation.
“I lose two days going to Kroger to get a gallon of milk in the milk line. I’ll know everybody’s story,” Long said. “Somewhere along the way between eating and everything else, you get encouragement, you get laughter, you get fun. And we meet a ton of people and cool things happen as a result of it.”
Long grew up in Milledgeville, Georgia, and has lived all over the southeast. He moved back to the Macon area in the early 1990 and had a small deli inside of Joshua Cup, a coffee shop in downtown Macon that closed its doors in 2012. Long opened Spud Dogs almost five years ago now.
During that time, Long has been able to build relationships with those in the community. Expect a unique experience that offers food at a reasonable price with a side of personality from its owner.
“By doing that we have had a lot of relationships that have happened,” Long said. “We are going to love on you and do our best.”
I didn’t expect Spud Dogs to offer up much in the way of soup but was completely blown away. The soup of the day was the cheesy chicken fajita soup with tortilla chips on the side, and made for the perfect meal on a cold day. The chicken was tender and the crunch of the chips added a nice touch.
Various types of soups like veggie, broccoli cheddar and tomato can also be found on the menu.
Spud Dogs offers a variety of options including the obvious hot dogs and loaded potatoes, but also hsliders, Cuban sandwiches and salads. Long said the goal is to offer a little something for everybody, even those not in the mood for their signature dishes.
The menu is a bit overwhelming at first when it comes to picking out the perfect hot dog for your taste. There are 12 specialty dogs and each sounds so good that it is hard to choose.
For those who have never eaten at the restaurant before, Long recommends trying the Georgia Bulldog. It is the most popular dish, served with mustard, chili, cheese and slaw.
“It is a big chili cheese slaw dog,” Long said. “Because if you don’t have a good chili dog, why open? Lock the doors.”
The toppings range from standard to creative — things like pimento cheese or a habanero pepper relish. After a lot of thought, I decided on the Chicago dog.
It was topped with tomatoes, onions, pickles, relish, sport peppers, spicy mustard and a dusting of celery salt with poppy seeds. Each of the specialty dogs uses a jumbo Nathan’s hot dog, and it is huge. This one had a lot of flavor going on and provided a change of pace to a typical dog I might order around town or even cook up at home.
Jenna ordered the Boxer from the classic dogs menu which features a smaller version of some of the specialty dogs. The base is still a Nathan’s hot dog, just not the jumbo kind. The Boxer features mustard, chili and cheese. Jenna added ketchup to her dog out of personal preference. The chili complemented the hot dog well and makes for a nice meal with a side or the addition of a soup.
An underrated part of the menu here is their sliders. The mini-bacon cheeseburger packs quite a punch for its size and was one of the highlights of the meal.
The side options are limited but pair well with just about everything. Options include macaroni and cheese, coleslaw, chips with dip, potato salad and Miss Jane’s famous baked beans.
I went with the baked beans and it was quite an interesting take on the typical barbecue side dish. It had bits of ground beef and different types of beans. It resembled a chili but had a sweet and smokey taste of the traditional baked beans. I probably could’ve just had a bowl of these for a meal.
Jenna went with a potato salad that uses a mayonnaise base with some dill. Overall this is a nice hearty potato salad that goes well with the hot dogs.
Georgia Bulldog: $5.95
Chicago Dog: $5.95
Sliders: 3 for $6
Soup: $2.50-$5 (different sizes available)
Location: 490 Cherry Street, Macon
Hours: Monday-Saturday 8 a.m.- 4 p.m.; Closed on Sunday
Price range: $2-$9.50