Before I left Winston-Salem, I wanted to follow up on a tip that I got to check out a fun old canopied drive-in, the first of three that I would visit on the second day of the trip. Kermit’s Hot Dog House opened more than 48 years ago, in January of ’66. Sadly, the original owner, Kermit Wade Williams, didn’t get the chance to see his restaurant really thrive. He died after only two years of running the place, leaving it in the hands of his brother, Arthur. He took on a partner, Paul D. Church, in the 1970s, and they’ve served breakfast and chili dogs to many thousands of locals and retro-curious tourists.
If anything, Kermit’s is every bit as popular a breakfast joint as Hill’s. The small dining room – they only offer curb service in the afternoons – was almost totally full with families and hyperactive kids. I had phoned ahead and they suggested that I’d probably want to arrive right at 10.30 if I wanted a hot dog just as the first ones were ready. They have a little time-consuming transition between breakfast and lunch prep. Unfortunately, they were still so busy that nobody really had time to chat about their restaurant and history.
After a short wait punctuated by lots of laughing, silly children driving their parents crazy by having too much fun, my server brought me the first of the day’s lunch orders. It was a very good hot dog topped with some really wonderful chili. It was spicy and flavorful and truly delicious. If this place was in Atlanta, it would honestly rival Brandi’s for my chili dog business. The dogs are priced just right at $2.20 apiece, and if I didn’t have a full day’s eating ahead of me, I’d have had a second and a third.
I liked the food a lot, and of course I love the building. It’s not in the prettiest side of town – to be honest, it reminded me of that stretch of Macon where the original Fincher’s is located – but this place is definitely a winner. I skedaddled, taking advantage of being ahead of schedule to hit the road quickly and find some place to stretch my legs a little more.
You can see all the restaurants that we have visited for our blog on this map, with links back to the original blog posts. It’s a terrific resource for anybody planning a road trip through the southeast!