We all have it…or at least hopefully we do. Frankly, I can’t imagine a little town without it honestly. In Burlington, we have these two hot dog shops that seem to be in constant competition, Zack’s and Boston’s. Or, at least you rarely hear one mentioned without the other being mentioned as well, and they run against each other in the annual local popularity contest for the best place to get a hot dog.
Whether it is the similar old school booths, the backlit plastic menus that you snap letters into that hang on the walls
behind the soda counter, the same abundance of windows for natural light, or the fact that they simply share the exact same parking lot (I couldn’t of even made that up to sound so perfect). Who knows what it is…but there is no denying their similarities…until you get down to the nitty gritty food.
A little backstory from my childhood…Growing up, I always went with Maw-Maw and Paw-Paw to Zack’s or Boston’s. We mainly went to Boston’s because that was Maw-Maw’s favorite, but Paw-Paw made sure we knew that he preferred Zack’s best. I remember many times eating in the old school booths with them. The strong presence of my Paw-Paw either beside me or across from me, and the gentleness of Maw-Maw either beside me or across from me. I had the perfect set-up as a kid…loving parents and grandparents (both willing to feed me well *smiles*). We would finish our hot dog and french fries and proceed to the checkout. Up at the checkout counter, there was a candy counter….when I say candy counter, I mean CANDY COUNTER! Oh, and it was just the right height for
little kids to beg their parents and grandparents for some goodies. We would always buy each of us a Zero Candybar. These candybars will always be special to me. We would take them back to their house and put them in the freezer until later. Later on, we would eat them like lollipops while watching The Statler Brothers or Green Acres (those were the days, and I still agree with Eva Gabor’s character).
With all of that being said, I decided to take the hub to his first experience at Zack’s, and for a repeat experience at Boston’s. We first stopped at Boston’s. We tried to limit our intake at each so we could enjoy them both – tried is the keyword there. We sampled the delicate cuisine of a hot dog there, and then walked next door to Zack’s…I told you they were right beside each other. *smiles*
In the end…we are certainly a divided household. It’s how it’s supposed to be here in North Carolina, for most it’s divided between UNC Tarheels and Duke Blue Devils, but for us…food! Keep in mind though, this is just another divided household in a long line of divided households. Maw-Maw and Paw-Paw were divided, I believe Mom and Dad were, and now the hub and I. The hub said it best…it all comes down to the chili. Hub liked the meatiness of the Boston’s chili, I liked how the Zack’s chili reminded me of Maw-Maw’s homemade chili. (Which, by the way, Maw-Maw says she got her recipe a long time ago from a radio show called Snag Solvers (recipes)with a DJ named Easy Jones. How cool of a radio DJ name is that??? She thinks they were trying to copy the Zack’s recipe…and, it’s pretty darn close.)
As we remain a divided household…I hope that you will take the time and see what the fuss is all about in your little town you call home. Which restaurants “duke” it out for top prize each year? Oh the fun you could have taste testing as we did…(or tummy aches, because we all know that three hot dogs loaded with chili is two too many right before bedtime…ugh).