Johnnie’s Dog House is perfect for student budgets

By Diana Campeggio
March 9, 2011

For a college student on a tight budget, Johnnie’s Dog House in Wayne is a great place to grab an inexpensive but still delicious meal. Their hot dogs are mouth-watering and the vintage setting gives the experience of an early 1900s hot dog stand.

The hot dogs at Johnnie’s are not your traditional summer barbeque staple but a canvas for a wide array of toppings that creates a remarkable eating experience. The hot dogs are juicy and grilled to perfection, and the collection of toppings seems endless.

The menu hot dogs are listed by cities, including the South Philly dog with grilled onions and cheddar cheese, the Boston Back Bay Beanie Weenie with baked beans and chopped onions and the Texas Ranger with barbeque sauce, bacon and grilled onions, only to name a few. Johnnie’s also offers plain ol’ dogs, as well as corn dogs.

Customers have the options of choosing a traditional beef hot dog, or turkey and veggie dog for those looking for a leaner option.

“Johnnie’s offers an affordable vegetarian meal on the Main Line,” Mary Jacobs, junior communication major, said. “Not much more this cheap environmentally conscious college student could ask for.”

But don’t ask how they make their hot dogs; their recipes are top secret.

For those looking for something a little more substantial than a traditional hot dog, Johnnie’s also has sausage and kielbasa, fried cod and pulled pork sandwiches, grilled cheese and chicken fingers. When Doug Pastor, the owner, bought the shop from the franchise four years ago, they also added burgers to the mix.

Along with the hot dogs, the grilled vegetables are grilled tender, but they still hold the crunch of fresh vegetables and are chopped into large pieces to top the dogs. They also serve crispy fried onion rings and french fries, as well as mac and cheese for sides. To drink, Johnnie’s provides a selection of Hanks bottled sodas, Arnold Palmers iced tea and fresh squeezed lemonade.

Keeping to the traditions of hot dog shacks from the past, Johnnies also offers ice cream floats and thick, creamy milkshakes in a variety of flavors from black and white to banana.

The prices at Johnnie’s are a great reason to stop by the shop. All of their hot dogs and burgers are under $5, with only a few of the sandwiches a few cents more. All of their sides and ice cream novelties are very reasonably priced as well.

The shop is located on Louella Court in Wayne at the end of a small shopping center. Though modest in size, the shop stands with a comfortable and vintage feel.

“It’s comforting because it’s small,” Janel Leader, sophomore criminology major, said. “You can sit down, have a good meal and have a conversation with whoever you’re with, without having to deal with a lot of noise.”

The interior of Johnnie’s has a simple charm of a hot dog stand from the early 1900s. The seats have vintage red patent leather with both table seating and a counter that looks onto Wayne. The walls are lined with black and white photos of hot dog carts from the past and families enjoying the simple meal in a bun.

Johnnie’s Dog House has been a part of the Wayne community for the past seven years and is now independently owned by Pastor, who is a local to the Main Line.

“I had an opportunity when I was laid off to be my own boss,” Pastor said. “I had eaten here a lot and opportunity came up, so I went for it.”

Pastor, with the help of only two other employees, keeps the shop running smoothly seven-days a week.

According to Pastor, the shop serves a variety of consumers, from families to college students from all of the surrounding colleges. Students from not only Eastern University and Cabrini frequent the shop, but students from Villanova University and even Harcum College make the trip for a good hot dog.

Johnnie’s offers a First Friday in Wayne special of plain ol’ dogs for a dollar and also offers free beer to those over 21 who eat after 4:30 p.m.



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Diana Campeggio

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