Bill’s Hot Dogs in Washington, NC is an institution
It doesn’t matter if you like hot dogs or not — you just have to eat a Bill’s hot dog if you are in Washington, North Carolina. Bill’s has been open as a hot dog “stand” since 1928 and it hasn’t changed much; not that I can see.
Located on Gladden Street in “Little” Washington, NC, it is just a short distance from the Pamlico River. Bill’s is an institution for most everyone who has ever lived in Washington or eastern North Carolina. For the locals, this is Road Food at its best.
The menu is simple: hot dogs, chips, soft drinks – that’s it and the menu hasn’t changed since they opened. Stand in line and place your order – cash only, take out only. The screen door slams and you know another customer has arrived.
The hot dogs are deep fried in very hot oil, which, until recently, was lard. Orders are placed through a round hole in the glass that separates you from the hot dog chefs. Just like a well-oiled machine, a woman who looks like Aunt Bea plucks a hot dog out of the hot oil and with a deft motion the famous yellow mustard-chili sauce is slathered on the bun, then the dog is added and finally onions on top – this is “All the Way.”
The hot dog is laid on that ubiquitous waxy-thin paper and like magic, it is rolled up and passed to the next woman who stuffs the dogs in a paper bag. Next, step up to the cashier with your chips and tell her what kind of drink you want (soft drink, that is). If you are lucky, your small Coke-in-a-bottle might have some ice crystals in it.
And out you go to savor your Bill’s Hot dog (or two). I usually drive or walk down to the waterfront on Stewart Parkway to watch the boats and enjoy this part of Americana. I’m so glad that some things don’t change.
Bill’s Hot Dogs
109 Gladden Street, Washington, NC tel. 252-946-3343
Open Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m – 5:00 p.m.
108 miles east of Raleigh, NC
125 miles south of Norfolk, VA
19 miles south of Big Mill Bed & Breakfast in Williamston, NC | 252-792-8787
Latitude: 35.54364 / Longitude:-77.05819
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