Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Roast Grill

The Roast Grill Storefront

From the street you’d never guess what a treasure The Roast Grill is. Its name glows in neon in the big picture window and a Coca-Cola sign with “Hot Weiners” is a clue. Otherwise, this building, located on West, just off Hillsborough Street in Raleigh, looks like what was once someone’s house. In fact, there’s a front porch next door.

If the outside makes the establishment look smallish, the inside accentuates the point. A counter with eight stools and a couple of really small tables round out the accommodations at twelve seats. It's tiny. Customers must maneuver as if they are solving a sliding puzzle to accommodate one another.

NC State memorabilia decorate the walls. A “no ketchup”t-shirt and pictures from the Roast Grill’s encounter with The Travel Channel’s Adam Richman and Man vs. Food add the perfect accent.
No Ketchup Allowed

A motherly/grand-motherly woman takes your orders and prepares them. She also takes your payment when you’re ready to leave… and gives you a Tootsie Roll for the road. The ambiance alone is worth a visit, but we’re here for the dogs.

Ordering isn’t complex. They sell hot dogs. Nothing else—well, other than beer and soft drinks... and dessert: baklava or pound cake. Toppings for the hot dogs are classic Carolina Hot Dog fare: mustard, slaw, onions, chili. No, they do not have ketchup or catsup. Don’t ask.

The dogs are some of the pricier ones in the Triangle. They currently sell for $2.50 plus a quarter if you want both onions and slaw—well worth the extra quarter.

While I thought the hot dogs a tad expensive, I’d have to say I’d pay it again. They’re darn good dogs! They grill the wieners to a delicious crunch, and that smoky crunch really sets these hot dogs apart from the usual boiled ones. The chili has the right taste and meatiness. I would have loved a bit more, but it still added just the right flavor. The slaw is hand-chopped, not mutilated by a food processor. The same hands that chop the cabbage apparently chop the onions; they’re about the consistency. The onions on my dogs were just a little bitter, but that happens with onions.

Two Very Delicious Carolina Hot Dogs

Parking is street parking but not particularly hard to come by. Payment is cash only. Hours are 11-4 Monday through Saturday. With its location near so many Downtown night spots, I’m sure they’d make a killing if they were only open late night, but I guess they’re satisfied with the money they currently make. I know I'd sure buy 'em around 2AM if they were open.

For a hot dog that stands out served in a retro environment, you can’t go wrong with The Roast Grill. Yum!

My verdict: 4 weenies


  1. George is the man at The Roast Grill when it comes to the dogs. Like the handmade menu on the wall scratched over the prices as they have changed over the years. Oh yea, don't ask him for ketchup.

    1. Indeed. The Roast Grill is probably one of my favorite hot dog stands. I'd say definitely my favorite in Raleigh. Of course, I'm willing to try more and change my mind.