The USDA's food pyramid traditionally puts bread on the bottom because some of the most savory suppers are best served on buns. Explore the marriage of meal and bun with today's Groupon: for $4, you get $8 worth of hot dogs, burgers, and shakes at Rawley's Drive Inn in Fairfield.
Rawley's Drive Inn's many accolades, including being featured on The Food Network's Best Thing I Ever Ate, and having its hot dogs lauded as Martha Stewart's favorite, fuel its mission to whip up delicious and hearty fast food. Since 1847, Rawley's has populated its menu with scrumptious selections such as hot dogs, burgers, sandwiches, and sides, and decorated its walls with the scrawlings of past guests, celebrities, and mathematician janitors. The talented chefs at the red roadside shack sling hot dogs plain ($2.65) or loaded with the works—mustard, relish, kraut, and bacon ($3)—and slather spice onto the Mel's Hellish Relish, adorned hot chihuahua dog ($3.40), and the mexican burger, snuggled with jalapeño, sweet inferno pickle, and several other bedfellows ($3.45). Sides of french fries ($2–$3.75), cheese fries ($2.65–$4.35), and onion rings ($2.65–$4.35) escort Rawley's star entrees down red-carpeted tongues via an entourage of utensils. Complement main courses with a rich chilly shake ($4.50) or malt ($4.75) in a spectrum of flavors such as mocha, strawberry, and vanilla.
Rawley's Drive Inn
Martha Stewart has lent her name to bath, bedding, and charger plates full of etiquette. But on her 2008 Martha's Favorite Hot Dogs list, she stamped her seal of approval onto the mustard, relish, kraut, and bacon that piles into the buttered bun of a "works" fried hot dog at Rawley's Drive Inn. According to owner Nick Frattaroli, it is now their most popular hot dog, joining the naturally encased ranks of several other specialties. One, the hot Chihuahua dog, is dosed with Mel's Hellish Relish, a recipe Nick would share "if [he] knew it"—he hasn't been able to pry a list of its sweet and spicy ingredients out of his secretive chef.
The "works" has drawn plenty of noncelebrities to this two-story, red roadside restaurant. Locals and repeat customers join diners from as far away as California and Texas who've seen Rawley's featured on Food Network's The Best Thing I Ever Ate. Inside, they're all treated to food that is made to order—including hand-cut fries and thick ice-cream shakes—and old-timey decor that reflects the building's roots in the 19th century. Guests place orders at a short counter before retreating to booths or high-top tables, both surrounded by wood walls that past patrons have thoroughly tattooed with carved initials and florid love sonnets to sausages.