423 8th Street Southeast
Washington D.C., DC 20003
Open Mon-Thu,Sun 11am-9pm; Fri-Sat 11am-10pm
Anyone living in the D.C. region knows that hamburger places have been popping up left and right the past couple of years (Next post will probably be on that new Shake Shack Burger joint opening up in Dupont). But even more recently, the culinary entrepreneurs who own the popular restaurants Matchbox and Ted’s Bulletin (see previous post) have moved away from the burger craze, but not too far to its backyard BBQ cousin – the hot dog.
DC-3, named for the restaurant’s theme of a Douglas Commercial 3 aircraft and I would have to guess the play on “DC”, is located on the main drag of 8th street near Eastern Market. The venue is small, and cleverly designed to look like the interior of a DC-3 with steel everywhere, maps on the walls, and a large propeller hanging over the tables to the right. However, as neat as the inside is, the restaurant was wayyy to cold (even for me) and because of the lack of natural lighting, it looked like people were eating in a prison mess hall. Painting fake airplane windows with a blue sky view outside would have probably helped. We decided to get our food to go since it was a nice day out anyways.
The menu is quite overwhelming and you do need a few moments to process the around 20 or so hot dogs DC-3 offers. The pictures of each dog do help with the process and I went with a “Cincinnati Coney Dog” which consisted of a hot dog, chili, cheese, onions and mustard. Along with that I ordered a side of cheese fries. My two friends who came along, one who is a vegetarian, ordered the “Bay Bridge Pretzel Dog” and “Vegetarian Chili” along with fried pickles respectively. None of us opted to get the soft serve ice cream with a pretty expansive toppings bar, although it did look good on a hot day.
We took our food to the park and my first impression was that they really need to learn how to pack things to go. Both had been balled up into tissue paper, and aluminum foil. My hot dog was pretty well smooshed and the cheese fries were kinda stuck together into one sticky ball-fry. That however didn’t take away from the taste, which I’ll say was pretty darn good. The chili dog did hit the spot, had a little heat to it, and accomplished the task of satisfying my hot dog craving admirably. The fries, which were those crinkle fries, were quite good as well, even if I had to peel them apart. My friend who got the crab hot dog was also satisfied, but not overwhelmed to be honest. I’ll say this though, if you’re a vegetarian, the veggie chili and fried pickles get an “A”, so vegetarians – don’t dismiss the hot dog place’s non-meat offering because of its signature items.
All in all, I probably would have liked the food better if it wasn’t to go. That being said, they’ll need to turn down the A/C to get me to want to spend more than 10 minutes in that place. I also wouldn’t go there if I was starving to death. The $4 hot dog also probably would have been a bit more justifiable if it was a footlong versus a Ballpark frank sized hot dog, but it is downtown D.C and it was admittedly really tasty. Check it out if you want a snack or a light lunch. I give the place a solid “B”.