Nestled in downtown Burlington lies a classic restaurant that has been serving generations of hungry customers for years.
Zack’s Hot Dogs is at the corner of West Davis Street and South Worth Street and has two main entrances both filled with regulars who have been coming for the classic American cuisine for generations.
Inside the layout is simple, filled with booths and chairs on the bar-top. It’s simple, like the food.
Self-declared “famous since 1928” on the sign that hangs above the take-out pickup counter, Zack’s Hot Dogs serves breakfast from 6:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. and lunch and dinner until 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
The most expensive items on the menu — sausage and cheese with two eggs for breakfast or a double bacon cheeseburger for lunch — won’t require much cash, coming in at $4.24 and $3.94, respectively.
The menu is sizable, but rather than having cramped font on a laminated sheet in a typical diner-style fashion, customers can instead lift their gaze to read the blue lettering stating dish and price above the kitchen counter.
The chili dog is heavily seasoned but not spicy, but for an extra kick, each table is stocked with a bottle of Zack’s Secret Hot Sauce, which should be used with caution and an extra glass of water.
The grilled cheese is a diner standard, and Zack’s satisfies the cheesy craving. Two slices of white bread and a slice of American cheese is as simple as it gets, making it the perfect dish for picky eaters.
Ashleigh Haney, a Burlington resident, will celebrate two-and-a-half years as a server at Zack’s this coming August, prefers a different order.
“My favorite thing is probably a combination dog,” said Haney. “It’s a hot dog with cheese on it.”
Haney, who stands out from the restaurant-goers in a bright blue polo and baseball cap, is able to pick out her favorite dish after a lifetime of tasting through the menu.
“I’ve been coming here all my life, so I love the food because I’ve eaten here since I was a kid,” Haney said. “And now, I love working here because everybody here is a family. It’s a generational business, so I’ve known everybody since I was a kid. We’re really close.”
Naomi Stone has also been a Zack’s customer her whole life.
“They are very fast,” Stone said, her eyes wandering to where her family waited at their claimed booth. “The staff is very, very good. I get a hot dog, french fries and Cheerwine in a bottle.”
Stone recognizes many faces in the restaurant. Zack’s welcomes customers old and new.
“There’s a lot of regulars but you also have the ones that come in every now and then,” Stone said.
At the end of the meal, patrons head to the check out line to settle their bill.
The restaurant only accepts cash. But if it slips your mind, don’t let that stop you from tasting one of Zack’s famous hot dogs. There’s an ATM in the corner. You may be pegged as a first-timer, but some hot dogs are worth it.