I was trolling West Main in downtown Puyallup a few Saturdays ago looking for parking for the Puyallup Farmers Market when a sign caught my attention: Lucky's Hot Dog Diner. Instant joy. A hot dog diner? What's not to love? I heart hot dogs. Red Hot on Sixth in Tacoma, Hot Rod Dog on Pacific, Klem's Hot Dog Diner in Auburn. I love 'em all.
I looked in, but the tiny place was packed with seven or eight people, an hour before prime lunch time. The diner looked promising, though, so I vowed a dog in my near future. And return I did Saturday. It's easy to be charmed by Lucky's. It's smallish, and the place is fresh and kitschy diner cute with aqua colored walls and two bright yellow booths. A fun kind of joint.
The football game was on the flat screen and a dad and two kids munched down in one of the two booths. On the sidewalk, a party of four chowed chili dogs at a cafe table.
"What's good?" I asked Brian Britton, owner along with his "should be" (his words) wife Ruby and parents Rex and Linda Britton. "Everything is good," said Brian. Besides the half dozen or so hot dogs, he suggests the "giant meatball sandwiches." He recommends washing it all down with a root beer float.
But I was in the mood for a dog. I ordered the most popular: Big Al's Combo ($4.39). It was a snappy dog, with the casing on, snuggled into a poppy seed bun and dressed with the usual mustard-onion-pickle relish trifecta of hot dog perfection. A dash of celery salt, a few slices of tomatoes and a few peppers finished the dog. I ordered a side of potato salad, but they were out. The coleslaw was a decent stand-in. It was a delicious lunch for under five bucks on the TNT's dime.
Lucky's Diner opened in February and the owners already have hopes to expand if a neighboring business moves. "We're a real Chicago style place," said Brian when I asked him about the background of the diner. "It comes with a little bit of attitude," he joked. Clearly, he was kidding, he and his dad were patient and answered all my questions and didn't even roll their eyes at me when I grilled them about their dogs.
I'll be back to try the sandwiches, and the potato salad.
Location, location, location:
Lucky's Hot Dog Diner: 106 W. Main, Puyallup; 253-445-4191; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Menu highlights: Lucky's Combo ($2.85), a skinless Vienna hot dog with mustard, onion, relish, tomatoes, peppers, dill pickle and celery salt; Pitt Bull ($3.75), a Polish fire dog with mustard, onions, sauerkraut and Italian Beef Sandwich ($6.99), a slow-roasted beef sandwich on Italian bread.
Other favorite hot dog joints:
Klem's Hot Dog Diner: 1015 Auburn Way S., Auburn; 253-334-7264. Web site here.
Red Hot: 2914 Sixth Ave., Tacoma; 253-779-0229. Web site here.
Hot Rod Dog: 1742 Pacific Ave., Tacoma; 253-593-6030
Where else do you like to get your dogs?