Local Gems of Syracuse is a series of posts designed to highlight the unsung heroes of our culinary life. Each of them, in their own way, elevates the food scene of the Syracuse area.
So first you have to understand that historic preservationists will do almost anything to find an interesting building. What started out for Bob as an interesting Art Deco find quickly became hot dog manna. And for years now, nearly every time he saw me Bob would ask, "Have you been to Heid's yet?" Well today was the day. I broke my decade-long hot dog fast and ate a German.
Ah yes, and I suppose you can see that there were onion rings involved too. Forget fancy truffles and butter sauces, this tasted like the most decadent thing I've had in ages. I could have gone the "fries with gravy, cheese, or chili" route but that would have taken me over the edge. This beef hot dog was all delicious, comforting, nostalgia--kind of like the building. Thanks to a natural casing grilled just right each bite contained that "snap" that I remember from childhood hot dogs of long ago. I can see why Bob loves this place.
And at Noon on a blustery day, it was evident that others loved it too. They do a brisk business at Heid's. Folks come in and order either the German (beef) hot dog or the Coney, a white dog that has veal and pork mixed in. Fries, a cookie perhaps, and a drink round out the straightforward menu. Well, there are grilled cheese sandwiches, sausages and potato salad on the menu too but I don't suspect that they are the reason folks will get off the Thruway or begin to salivate when thinking of that "little hot dog place in Liverpool".
Memorabilia such as old newspaper clippings dot this two-room dining car-like restaurant. A 1936 edition of the Liverpool Review carries a front-page article (above the fold) about Heid's 50th Anniversary. To be still going strong 71 years later is no small thing.
Heid's grills up Hofman hotdogs and Coneys so I might even consider this place the original local, Syracuse-area fast food joint. My order took several minutes to get to me and came accompanied with all sorts of apologies for taking so long--I hardly noticed the time. The service was friendly, the vibe is that "no fuss, no muss" authentic, unpretentious Central New York, and the hot dog was good enough to keep me coming back for more. But I won't be indulging in such decadence too often...more on that tomorrow. In the meantime, i have my memories--thanks Bob!
Archive Alert: On this date in 2006 I was putting the garden to bed for another winter of rest.