Delux Dogs: Open!

For months it’s had brown paper covering the windows and a sign promising they’d be opening soon. Every time we come through, my official hot dog taster – Carla – looks longingly. “When, when, for crying out loud!” She’d say, nose to the 901 bus window.

This time though, it's “Stop! Stop the bus! Bedford: Out!”

We're talking about Delux Dogs, on the main strip in Coronado (942 Orange Avenue, 619-319-5338). It’s a tiny little place with a huge door and a kinda blue concrete shield framing the entrance. Used to be Stretch’s health food café for the longest time.

Whatever, today they’re open, kind of. “Test Open,” says the sign up front. Meaning, I guess, soft, work out the kinks type of opening. A big vase of flowers welcomes you right where the row of stools face the ledge running along the left wall, and tables line the right wall. Somebody has drawn a huge “Delux Dogs” symbol in chalk behind the first two tables, and yes, they have sealed it so you can’t rub it off.">

We sit at the first table. Carla decides on the Delux chili dog (“Our all-beef link with chili, cheese, onions, diced tomato and whipped crema, $6.25”), and I go for The Bordertown dog, (“bacon-wrapped and deep fried beef link with creamy nacho cheese sauce, hot sauce, guacamole, salsa fresca and jalapeño crema, $5.95”). Can’t resist that bacon. Plus, we can’t resist a side. Carla gets a basket of fries ($2.95), me, 50/50 potato tots. They’re half sweet potato, half standard, and come with “our home-made kicker sauce.” Cost $3.25.

Then, we lose all control and order their hand-squeezed lemon drink ($2.95). I get the “desert pear lemonade,” a pinky-looking mix with prickly pear juice mixed in, ($3.25).

One of the new crew, Bethany, brings our swag of food baskets and drinks.">" alt="Bethany">">Bethany by Ed Bedford">" alt="My Border Town dog">">My Border Town dog by Ed Bedford">" alt="Carla's chili dog">">Carla's chili dog by Ed Bedford">" alt="My 50/50 potato tots. Sweet taters were the winners ">">My 50/50 potato tots. Sweet taters were the winners by Ed Bedford

Carla says hers is the most luxuriant dawg she’s had in a while. “It’s like a gentle sour cream,” she says about the Mexican crema squiggled on top.

Me, I love the whole gungy mess of my border town dog. Specially the bacon, of course. Plenty of guac, too. And those orange sweet-potato tater tots were da bomb.

“We’ll have our wine and beer license soon,” says Kirsten, when I spot her up with the soft opening welcome flowers with her manager Weslee.">" alt="Weslee, the manager">">Weslee, the manager by Ed Bedford

Kirsten is one of the two owners (the other is James McGee. He cooks nights at Ruth’s Chris Steak House on Harbor Drive). They have been dreaming of doing this for years. “I’m originally from Chicago, so I know good hot dogs," says Kirsten. "We use Vienna brand links. And we’ll be looking at artisanal sausages too, soon. Basically, we just want to be the go-to place for hot dogs on the island. Becoming part of the community. Sponsoring Little League teams, giving back.”

Have to say, I ordered too much. Love the sweet tater tots, but shoulda held to the dog.

And afterwards, natch, I see the dogs I missed. Specially The Tokyo, which has teriyaki glaze, Japanese mayo, grilled onions, sesame seed, dried seaweed chips and sriracha. That would be interesting.

Also, I’m thinking if kids are part of the recipe here, the dawgs ain’t that cheap. Okay Delux will be facing Coronado-scale rent, but Carla and I pay over $25 for our bust-out.

Then again, yes, we did go for top dogs and those extras. We could’ve had the All-American, the basic, for $4.55. Or heck, a corn dog for $2.75.

Whatever, I wish them luck, and Carla wishes them closer to home. “Wanna try that griddle Polish sausage,” she says.

I can tell: we’re gonna be catching a lot of 901 stretch limos in the future.


There's nothing more offensive than a pretentious red hot. I'm from Chicago, too, and better ketchup on a dog than dairy products. Whipped crema?! I think I just threw up a little in the back of my mouth.

Yes, but come on, Scott, you Windy City people do get a little Spanish Inquisition when it comes to hot dogs, don't you? I thought the crema gave it a richness and mushiness that helped the whole thing go down, even without the desert pear lemonade to help...Besides, look what Chicago did to the innocent, thin-crust, way-traditional New Yawk pizza.

Now relish manufacturers adding bright green dye instead of the guy chopping up real fresh mint leaves for it in front of you, I'd hit the streets with you on that one. (Though I'm sure that's a lost cause already)

A mushy hot dog? That defeats the whole purpose. It's bad enough I have to shlep to LA in order to find a Vienna dog with natural casing. (There is a great dirty-water hot dog cart in Oceanside that sells natural casing Sabrett's.)

I'll take the Technicolor green relish -- the color of which is found nowhere in nature -- at any corner hot dog stand in Chicago over mint leaves on my frank. Why do that to a hot dog?

The only good slice of pizza I've had in the 13 years I've lived in SoCal is at a place called Casa Bianca in Eagle Rock. For those who say good pizza doesn't exist west of the Mississippi, I invite you to order one of CB's thin crust sausage pies (and ask for it well done). One bite and I'm 8-years-old again munching down at Odo's Village on the North Side of Chicago.

As someone who prefers hot dogs to hamburgers I'm glad to see this place finally open its doors. Too many burger joints popping up these days. Looking forward to trying Delux tonight.

And if you're looking for natural casing hot dogs Fresh & Easy has their own Angus natural casing dogs that are as good as Sabretts. Pizzeria Luigi here is San Diego has amazing pizza... and I'm from the New York area so I know. Now if I could only find a place here that sells the square, fried knishes...

Daveo: Agree re Pizzeria Luigi. Re knishes, I hear City Delicatessen (535 University Ave., Hillcrest, 619-295-2747), Tommy Pastrami (555 W. C Street downtown, 619-487-0800), and DZ Akin's (6930 Alvarado Road, 619-265-0218) do them, though I haven't tried them. Nearest thing, I guess, would be empanadas.

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