The unassuming building pictured above is one of Atlanta’s longest operating hot dog hubs. Situated at 1377 Church St, Brandi’s World Famous Hot Dogs holds down fort in Marietta seemingly oblivious to this modern invention we all know as time. It’s a throwback and a place where calorie counts and farm freshness are concepts as mysterious as Pandora’s box.
Open 31-years, I wouldn’t be surprised if the only thing that has changed is the owner (It used to be called Betty’s World Famous Hot Dogs). Actually, Betty sold it to Brandi, so a hanging menu and other odds and ends are different. The restaurant has also relocated a few times since ‘79 and there is an outpost in Cartersville. The point is that this place operates with it’s head in the sand. I don’t think anyone, myself included, would have it any other way.
When you see a popular restaurant located in a building like this, you might normally say: “you wouldn’t know it to look at it … but”. However, in this case, I actually think the run down shotgun shaped station is exactly why you know.
The setting for Brandi’s hot dog shack couldn’t be more apropos. It’s all about the country folk, the simpler times, and the simplicity of life. When I sauntered in around 2pm just the other day, I looked at my buddy and noted how crowded the place was. Only open during the week from 10am-3pm, I figured the crowd would have thinned out by that time. Well, one quick interchange with a kindly man to my right and I realized I was only partially correct.
Turns out, the line at this place will get 10-deep without batting an eye. So while 40-people eating at a small restaurant is generally considered busy, let’s call this relative.
With that ice broken, I immediately picked our buddy’s brain for information. Having heard this place operates a little bit like Miss Anne’s, I wanted to make sure I didn’t get ejected before my meat tubes arrived. As it turns out, the atmosphere was pretty relaxed. You can sit at the kitchen-side counter (which is exposed anyway), grab a seat and get wait service, or hop in line and do your damage without any assistance. Granted this was one trip during off hours, and I am an amazingly affable guy, but everyone from the customers to the staffers seed amenable as was possible.
Lines are for chumps, so we nuzzled ourselves in at a 4-top flanked on by some hard working roofers and a table full of painted ladies (eyebrows were long gone at that table). While we chatted amongst ourselves and our new neighbors, we met our young waitress.
The menu couldn’t be more straight forward. Hot dogs are the main attraction, but there is a hamburger as well. Fries, rings, and fried pies wrap up the grub. Sodas and sweet tea are available for liquid consumption; however, if you’re looking for a true renaissance experience … might I suggest an IBC Root Beer or a YooHoo!
Despite the “menu so simple a two-year old could order,” Ginger and I had no problem futzing around. If you sit down and order a dog, you’ll end up with a little wiener covered in chili, onions, and mustard. Thus, if you order a slaw dog, you’ll have chili and slaw on your link.
Though we were aware of those nuances, just to be a pain, we decided to hunker down with one naked dog, one regular dog, and one slaw dog sans chili. With an order of rings and one YooHoo, we still didn’t break a 10-spot.
The food came out über quick and as luck would have it, we decided we were hungry. The dogs themselves are solid. Nothing worth statewide attention, let alone national or *cough* worldwide notoriety, but certainly comforting. If you’ve had a dog at The V, you’ll know exactly what you’re getting at Brandi’s. The links offer a little pop, maybe not the snap hot dog snobs really want, but whatevs. If you’re snobby about anything, I doubt you’ll actually walk inside the converted service station.
The thing that put Brandi’s on the map was the chili, which was passed down by Betty. So just to leave you hanging, let us converse about the slaw. It’s thinly shaved cabbage and I seriously doubt it is made in house. It’s not particularly notable and on its own, was a little to sweet for me. Again, nothing bad and perfectly suitable for a joint like this … but not worthy of a place touting itself as world famous.
That leaves the chili and it was as good as advertised. No beans in this mean, the meat heavy chili does indeed have a nice kick to it. Softer tongues should probably be careful here. For me, I found this perfectly fluid. The spice hit my tongue, crept around my mouth like an evil vapor, and hung around well after the meal as a reminder of how spot on it was. At no time did I ever feel over powered, but it left its mark without turning my nose into Niagara Falls.
While we played slappy hands for the rights to the chili dog, we both agreed to bogart some slaw to see how the combo worked. Not surprisingly, the presence of the chili helped the slaw. The sweetness of the slaw was muted just enough by the kick of the chili. While the coleslaw might be made at home, it doesn’t really taste like it. Given that, the slaw dogs straight up are the best way to sample it. The chili, made with a lot of love’n care is why you should go. Regardless of how you mix and mach the select number of toppings, there is a comfort in each bite. Not culinary bliss, but still a happy place.
BTW, the onion rings were an afterthought for us, and I’d suggest the same to you. Though I prefer a battered ring over a breaded ring anyway, this breading had no personality whatsoever. As is the problem with breading your rings, the onions just slide unless you spend a good 20 seconds gnawing at your ring. #RingFail.
Yeah, I’m a little worn out on the “World Famous” slogans … but by now I pretty much relegate that stuff to noise. Of importance is that the prices are super low, the service is fun, and the environment is can’t miss. The dogs are tasty and the buns, while grocery store quality, don’t do any disservice to the experience. If you live near one of the Varsity outposts, there isn’t a ton of reason to inconvenience yourself. But … if you like a kick in your chili, this place is worth a visit. It’s just off I-75, and it’s a whole heck of fun. Would you expect anything else from a place that actually calls a hot dog a “hotdog”?
Atlanta Foodies on Brandi’s
- Marie, Let’s Eat on Brandi’s (04.04.10)
- Atlanta Cuisine on Brandi’s (03.12.10)
Brandi’s World Famous Hot Dogs Restaurant Address & Information
1377 Church Street, Marietta, GA 30060 // 770.422.3681 // Hrs: M-F 10am-3pm
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