Posted by: Kath Usitalo | July 13, 2010

Road Food Report: Drive-In For A Hot Dog

Root Beer in my rearview mirror

We’re about midway through “hot dog season,” which runs from Memorial Day through Labor Day, according to the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council. July is tops for the number consumed—150 million on July 4th alone—so it earns the title of National Hot Dog Month.

While in Montague, on the Lake Michigan shore just a little north of Muskegon, I did my part to honor the frank and pulled into the Dog n Suds Drive In, pressed the button on the menu outside the window of the Splattered Van, and ordered the Hot Dog Basket.

Service with a smile from Heather

Within minutes car hop Heather appeared with a tray to hook onto the window, loaded with the tasty tube steak, fries and Cole slaw. And of course, I couldn’t resist a tall, frosty glass mug of creamy root beer to wash it all down. Ahhhhh….the taste of summer.

I had stopped for a late lunch but returned in the evening just to take photos of the gorgeous neon signs, including one starring the classic mascot Rover. Dog n Suds was founded in Champaign, Illinois in 1953 and by the mid-1970’s had grown to nearly 600 locations in 38 states and in Canada.

The Montague Drive-In opened in 1963 and has been owned by the current family since 1965; they also own the location in nearby Norton Shores—the only two remaining in Michigan.

The second generation is carrying on the summertime tradition with curb service from April through September in Montague; the remodeled Norton Shores location added a dining room and is open year round.

Dog n Suds’ menu features more than dogs; some folks rave about the Texas Burger and the Lake Perch Basket looks tempting. And then there’s the Shrimp Snack (hmmmm….just what do shrimp snack on?).

But let’s not lose our focus: this is Hot Dog Month, afterall.

It’s time I start planning our annual cheesy weenie dinner — maybe for July 17, designated National Hot Dog Day. The National Hot Dog & Sausage Council’s website is counting down to the big event, and offers up lots of info like the history of hot dogs, how they’re made—even hot dog etiquette.

You can also download four placemats to print as a backdrop for your hot dog dinner. That mustard can get messy. As Rover, the Dog n Suds mascot would say, “Bone appetit!”

Visitor Info Click: Montague, White Lake Area

A summer tradition in Montague


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