Address: 423 8th Street SE, Washington, D.C. 20003
My friend Andrew talked often about this great hot dog joint right on Barracks Row that he wanted me to try. There was a point where we had heard it closed down temporarily, but a little while ago we took a shot and ventured out that way to see if it had re-opened for business. And we were in luck.
Back home in NJ, my family frequently stopped by a hot dog truck called G&G that was run by a local gentleman. There, for $1.75, you could get a hot dog loaded with your choice of chili, relish, onions, or sauerkraut. They were usually so good that I ended up getting two. They were great in their simplicity, and that was the impression of hot dogs that I grew up with. DC-3 takes the step in the opposite direction and takes their hot dogs to the gourmet level.
With a menu full of hot dogs inspired by locales all across the country, DC-3 is just loaded with options. You can stick with the Mid-Atlantic region with the Philly Cheesesteak dog or the NY Coney Island dog, or perhaps journey further west with a Chicago dog or Cincinnati Coney dog. Even further out west you say? Not to worry, you’ve got the Tuscon Sonoran dog or the Korean-inspired bulgogi & kimchi dog. See what I mean when I said this place has options?
Andrew’s go-to is the Tuscon Sonoran dog, and as the DC-3 veteran, I trusted his recommendation. (In fact, he and I both got the Sonoran with a side order of fried pickles.) When you get the hot dog, it really is completely smothered in toppings; you almost couldn’t tell there was a hot dog under there! Served on a butter frankfurter bun and topped with pinto beans, raw onions, tomatoes, jalapeño relish, mustard, and chipotle mayo, the Tuscon Sonoran really does envelop a combination of interesting flavors. It tastes savory, spicy, but slightly sweet all at the same time, with an added edge by the raw onions. Be sure to get a spoon, because it’s almost guaranteed you’ll have some of the toppings fall off and into the basket.
I’m sometimes amazed at how some foods can take you to whole different places with just a single bite. I think this is the aim that DC-3 has with featuring so many hot dogs from different locales. I can’t drop the big bucks for a plane ticket every weekend just for a hot dog, so why not go someplace in town to grab one instead?
Here are my rankings for DC-3:
Food: 5 / 5
With so many different options, you can’t go wrong. The Tucson Sonoran that I had was pretty fantastic with a great layering of flavors. I’m excited to see what the other hot dogs have in store.
Atmosphere: 4.75 / 5
With the name DC-3 paying homage to the Douglas Commercial 3 airplane from the late 1940’s, the decor definitely draws from the aeronautical theme. An airport sectional chart overlay of the D.C. metro area is plastered on one wall and an engine propeller hangs on the other wall. Even the main counter had that metallic aircraft aluminum look.
Service: 5 / 5
Food was ready in no more than five minutes, which was relatively fast.
Price: 4.5 / 5
When you tell people that the hot dogs here are $5, that might raise some eyebrows from those who remember hot dogs being the cheap food you could buy off a cart on the city street. Just keep in mind that these are some dressed up hot dogs with a wide selection of toppings. $5 seemed reasonable to me and I would gladly pay it again.
Overall: 19.25 / 20 (96%)