Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Hubba - Port Chester, NY

I think I may have found my new favorite chili dog. Having now tried this dish in a number of locales throughout the country (becoming something of an accidental connoisseur along the way), I have to say that the chili dogs on order at Hubba's in nearby downtown Port Chester (24 N. Main St.) may actually surpass the rest (and even best Mamaroneck's darling hot dog palace, Walter's, IMHO). The place sure has the right ambiance and backstory: originally called Texas Chili (or Texas Quick Lunch - my sources differ on this) and open possibly as far back as the 1940s, it became Pat's Hubba Hubba in 1989 when Greenwich, CT diner owner Pat Carta wanted to expanded his business into another area location, then just Hubba upon takeover by current proprietor Carlos Magan. Pat Carta passed away in 2009 and his original Hubba Hubba diner closed in 2016, but this Hubba continues onward. And just like our friends Coney Island Texas Lunch in Scranton, PA, it has even spawned a nearby competitor clone claiming to be superior (that would be Texas Chili up the street - I'll eventually have to conduct a mano-a-mano tasting).

There's little question that Hubba is probably the narrowest restaurant I've ever had the pleasure of dining in. An NBA player with a wide wingspan might actually be able to touch both walls (snagging a souvenir dollar bill or two in the process). It's not crowded at 11:30am on a typical weekday; however, I'm told the overnight hours are when the real action occurs as the club crowd and hungry high schoolers filter in for their late-night fix.

The menu (written on paper plates pasted above the counter) consists of almost-infinite permutations of hot dogs, burgers, and fries, all centered on a large vat of beanless chili simmering at the front of the store.  I opted for a chili dog both with and without cheese - the cheese-less version has raw chopped onions.  In keeping with the local Northeast style of hot dog, the weiner is split down the middle before grilling, then served open-face atop a toasted bun.  I found the chili (which is ground beef-based - no word on if any of the cattle innards made their way into the pot) to be a bit on the aggressive side, but a perfect foil for the hot dog and toppings (and I wouldn't bother with cheese next time - it didn't add much).  After a pair of these beauties and a medium order of fries (which were also quite good), I was a very happy camper...

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