Off Victor St. in Highland Park you will find Red Hots. Red Hots has in many ways always been my mother's "Cheers". She walks in and immediately she gets a reception. If you grew up in and around Highland Park, MI you are probably a part of that club too. Rich, the owner has pictures of his patrons lining the back wall. There are several bar stools for individuals who are grabbing a quick bite, and a row of booths for groups like us, groups who are dying to order several different items and make sure that Rich will douse each and every one of them with his special chili.
My mom usually orders a loose burger. For anyone who doesn't know what a loose burger is; its a hot dog bun filled with "loose" burger meat. It's fabulous. The chili runs deep inside of the meat, and is topped off with the crisp crunch of chopped onions and mustard. I suggest keeping all the fixings on because you won't regret it.
The fries are incredible with or without chili... Rich cooks everything to order and takes a lot of pride in doing so. Red Hots has been around since 1921. Rich's great uncle was the original owner, then his uncle, and now he is the proud owner keeping all the family recipes... in the family.
I asked Rich why his hot dog tastes so much better than anyone else. He replied with one of those - "I would tell you but then I would have to kill you type answers". He went on to say that he would love to sell his chili, but that he knows there would be no profit in it, due to such a high overhead. He told me that there is absolutely no powder in his recipe. Rich uses real onion, real garlic, no preservatives, and ground chuck beef. Its no wonder his dogs and chili taste so much better than mine!
Before we left with our full stomachs I asked Rich what he does when someone asks for a salad. He gave out a chuckle, and retorted that, "We keep some lettuce in the back for 'those' people". Best answer ever.
Until next time Red Hots.