The concept is based on a hot dog joint I grew up with in Buffalo, New York, called Ted’s. It’s been around since the ’20s. The No. 1 is based on a Ted’s hot dog with the works: pickle spear, hot relish, onion, and mustard.

“They use a Buffalo product called Weber’s Mustard. We import Weber’s Mustard, and we get the actual hot dogs Ted’s uses from a famous meatpacker in Buffalo called Sahlen’s. They’ve been around since 1849 making hot dogs, so there’s a lot of history buried in this brand. But we’ve tried to come up with a modern twist on a very old, traditional food.

The Players:

• Martin’s Potato Roll

• Sahlen’s Smokehouse Hot Dog

• Hot relish

• Diced onions

• Dill pickle spear

• Weber’s Mustard

“This is the first one we put on our menu; this was the one I really wanted to base the concept around.

“We use a high-quality potato roll for the bun, which we toast, so that kind of caramelizes the outside of the bun. We use grill forks and char-grill our natural-casing hot dogs. You have these textures happening where you have this crunchy snap and grill flavor from the hot dog, then it mixes with the acid and the sharpness from the pickle. You’ve got the heat from the spicy relish, which we use crushed peppers in so you have a heat level there. And you have a sweet crunch from the onion. So you have this crunchy, char-grill, doughy, savory kind of thing happening, and then you have the sharp mustard tang, as well.”

—Jonathan Luther

Proprietor, JJ’s Red Hots

Fast Casual, Menu Innovations, Story, JJ's Red Hots