A $29 Hot Dog!?

The Lempert Report
May 26, 2023

A couple weeks ago we reported about Zabars E.A.T restaurant that was selling a ham and cheese sandwich for $29. And there was a whole controversy about it. New York Post did a story on it. Now what we're seeing is a new restaurant called Mischa's in Midtown Manhattan serving a $29 hotdog. $29 and it comes on a potato bun with chili and condiments. I happen to still love Pink's hotdogs in Los Angeles and Gray's Papaya hotdogs in New York, even Sabrett on the street corners where you're buying a hotdog for a buck. I don't think that I would spend $29 for a hotdog. 

Sally: Yes, I agree, Phil, and I'm really glad that you brought up Pink's because I was looking at Pink's website today and they are probably the most famous hotdog stand in the country located in the West Hollywood area. And so I was looking at their menu, just curious to see what their chili dog goes for, and I was so surprised to see that their chili dog is only $5.95. And I was surprised because I just was out in LA and I noticed that a lot of the food prices had really, really gone up. But Pink's seems to somehow, keep their prices down and that's a big difference from a $29 hotdog. 

Phil: Absolutely. And you're probably gonna cringe at this, but when I was growing up in New Jersey, we had a restaurant, I wouldn't even call it a restaurant, a hotdog stand called Ruts Hut. And it was a hut. And what they basically did is they cooked the hotdogs by deep frying them. So you would get a hotdog, they deep fried it, they put it on a bun. It was actually very crispy, as you can imagine, by being deep fried. And sometimes you would bite into it and it would actually squirt your mouth because there was so much fat in that hotdog. And I think those days it was probably, again, about a buck. So this idea of a $29 hotdog, and I don't care whether you're a midtown Manhattan, you're in Paris, I don't care what city you're in, whether it's $29 for a ham and cheese sandwich, or $29 for a hotdog, or $29 for a burger, it just doesn't make sense. 

Phil: We just don't need to have that kind of debauchery, if you would, as it relates to simple, basic foods. And I think that all these companies are doing it to get PR to have folks like us talking about it and putting them on the map for me, it just doesn't work.