Hot dog sauce

Last Friday, Maggie and I made a 4-hour drive from the farm to Gallia County, down on the Ohio River.  We were on a research trip for a work-in-progress and our gracious hosts, Chuck and Marjorie, suggested a popular lunch spot in Gallipolis.

 Because “they have the best hot dog sauce,” Marjorie told me.  “If you like that sort of thing.”

 I said “Sure!”

 Then I spent a day asking everyone, “What is hot dog sauce?”

Most of my West Central Ohio friends and family answered with a shrug.

“I don’t know. Ketchup?”

Well, on Friday, we found out.  And it turns out Remo’s isn’t just popular with the locals.  Folks come from all over for this!

It’s a simple, little place.  Little, indeed.  And on this day, the temperature was teasing 100 degrees outside and maybe just a little below that indoors.  But, even so, people packed in shoulder to shoulder waiting to order.

Ordering is pretty simple.  I took my cue from my the guy in front of me.  “I’ll take one with sauce and pickles.”   No one asked  “One what?”  That’s because the only thing on the menu is  – you got it – hot dogs.  You can get “one with sauce and ketchup” or “one with sauce and onion and mustard” or even “one with sauce and hot sauce.”   But while I was there, no one ordered one without sauce.  The sauce is what makes Remo’s Remo’s.

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Here’s my “one with sauce and  pickles.”  A footlong hot dog,  topped with a delicious, homemade, rich, tomato-y, kind of peppery, meaty, messy sauce.  And dill pickles! All my life, I’ve suffered ridicule and shame for  putting dill pickles on my hot dogs.  Here, they’re on the menu!  Finally, someone understands me!

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Maggie ordered “One with sauce.”

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 We were lucky.  We got a seat at the counter where we could watch the fast-paced hot-dog-making action up close.

So, thanks to Marjorie and Chuck and the kind folks at Remo’s, Maggie and I have officially experienced and enjoyed our first Italian Style hot dogs – with sauce!

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7 comments on “Hot dog sauce”

  1. Robert F. Danner

    Marjorie – I grew up in Gallipolis, so Remo’s is a part of my life culture. After 20 years in the U.S. Army we settled down in Houghton, NY where I became the Dean of Students at Houghton College. My wife comes from this county and grew up in Wellsville, NY the home of Texas Hot, the Remos of WNY. This restaurant has been in business since 1921 and is still owned by the same two Greek families. On its 50th and 75th anniversaries, the town staged a parade in celebration. The sauce there equals Remo’s in my opinion, although very different in taste (they will not release the recipe, but you can buy the sauce to take home). If you ever get to Wellsville, NY a trip to Texas Hot, the social center of this Gallipolis-size town, will be another Remo treat for you. Bring your uninformed friends who do not know about hotdog sauce 🙂 Thanks for writing about Remos. I’m homesick for Southern Ohio. Bob Danner

  2. Michelle

    Thanks, Bob, for sharing your own memories of Remo’s. And for letting us know about where to find something equally special in Wellsvillle! These family-owned icons are treasures in my opinion. All my best, Michelle

  3. Lisa Thomaschek

    I grew up in gallia county and every time we come to ohio I have to have a Remo’s hotdog. They are the best

  4. Michelle

    Lisa, I hear this from lots of Gallia Co. natives! I hope many generations to come will say the same.

  5. Big Jay

    I am from NC I was just in southern Ohio in Meiggs county
    there is a store on HWY 33 just across the Ohio river in ohio
    just down the road from Ravenswood WV it was the first time I had the sauce it was very good in Carolina we eat hot dogs
    with musterd slaw and Chili what is the ohio hot dog sauce made of?

  6. Michelle

    Jay, These dogs were topped with chili. And pickles if you so desire. Given that Meigs County and Gallia County are very close to one another, I’m guessing the hot dog sauce you had was very similar. Here’s to a great dog!

  7. Dick Dixon

    When I was very young and Remo first started his hot dog shop, the foot long’s were a quarter each, loaded. Those were the good ole days…:)

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