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Ditch Dogs: Seeing is Believing

“It’s a hot dog with mac and cheese on it! I don’t believe it, and I’ve seen it with my own eyes!”
—GFS co-founder Danielle, upon witnessing a Ditch Dog for the first time

ditch dogs, ditch plains, new york
Yes, it is in fact a hot dog with mac and cheese on it. More specifically, it’s two hot dogs tucked into grilled rolls and amply covered with creamy homemade—not Kraft—mac and cheese atop a basket of homemade French fries, as presented by Ditch Plains.

When the West Village restaurant opened in 2006, Marc Murphy and Pamela Schein Murphy (chef/owners of downtown stalwart Landmarc) modeled the spot as an urban fish shack, with a simple, seafood-centric menu. For $11, you could get a basket of freshly fried clams with homemade tartar sauce (still on the menu, still excellent) or a michelada-style Spicy Corona for $7.

The Ditch Dog was an off-menu urban legend, the Animal-Style burger of Bedford Street. But how can you keep something as good as a hot dog with mac and cheese on it under wraps? People are gonna talk.

Five years later, the double Ds not only receive full pride of place on the menu, but have birthed an entire family of hot dogs covered in other things. Fans of the Texas Weiner might prefer to order the Sloppy Dogs with saucy sloppy joe filling, or one of each in a Ditch/Sloppy combo. There’s even a Ditch breakfast dog, for pete’s sake, topped with American cheese and an egg (oh, just go ahead and get it fried instead of scrambled).

But as a rising tide lifts all boats, the rising cost of success in New York lifts all menu prices. Beware—you can rack up a hefty tab here without even trying, despite the excellent wine list strategy that the Murphys have carried over from Landmarc (no choices by the glass; instead of a $14 goblet of Syrah, you can get an entire half bottle for the same price).

Game the menu by skipping the lobster roll—for $26, you should really just go wait in line for the best lobstah in the city at Pearl Oyster Bar—and most of the entrees in favor of splitting smaller items with a dining compatriot. Hearty salads (yes, I’m recommending salads) come in two sizes to gauge hunger levels when dividing things up; it’s also smart to make use of the menu items—mussels, the better-than-standard burger—that are already accompanied by those chunky golden fries. Go whole hog and ask for a cup of mayo or the homemade tartar sauce for dipping.

taffy, ditch plains, new york And most importantly, while it’s totally possible for one person to singlehandedly devour the basket of double Ditch Dogs (been there, done that, groaned all the way home), the two dogs split handily as an appetizer for four or a half-lunch for two people, with a side of fried pickles or the small spicy calamari salad to round out the meal.

A handful of salt water taffy always comes stuffed into a bistro tumbler with the check, so you will get a little free dessert every time. However, if the gluttony of beef, mac and cheese, and fried potatoes just wasn’t enough, I’ll share one more recommendation: an order of foil-wrapped s’mores in all their gooey glory to share before hitting the streets.

Ditch Plains, 29 Bedford St. at Downing, New York, NY. 212-633-0202.

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19 Comments

  1. OK, I have to admit: the very thought of mac & cheese on top of a hot dog kinda grosses me out. Buuuut I’m with you on the Ditch Plains love. You’re totally right about the salads–the chopped salad, which sounds like nothing much, is terrific (esp w/bacon). And the taffy is such a perfect ending.

  2. I love this post Case! I’ll try DP again because of you and your advice on how to game the menu : ) Thanks!

  3. 2 of the greatest foods in the world – hot dogs and mac & cheese. How could it not be tasty!!!

  4. Wow… I think it sounds good, but not sure my arteries can handle it! But some of those other menu items will pull me in!

  5. I don’t care how many of my arteries it furs up, I LOVE maca cheese. Never wd have thought of combining it with a dog, but what the hell, you only live once, I’d def’ly be up for trying these! Esp as their macaroni looks perfect – pale, soft and saucy, but not too saucy.

    1. Vera, I’m always a fan of the hot dog chunks in mac and cheese. Even now, as a 30-something-year-old, I’m throwing the Applegate farms dogs into Annie’s bunny pasta. It’s not so far away from Ball Park and Kraft, really.

    1. Kerry, a confession – I’ll put slaw on just about ANYTHING. I can only imagine how good it would be atop a Ditch Dog.

  6. You need to try a Cleveland favorite–the po girl. It’s a hot dog with pulled pork topped with French fries and bbq sauce. I wonder what they could do here to reinvent smores…

    1. Holy crap! I think I need to make a homemade po girl post-haste. Pork on a hot dog… incredible.

  7. Holy cow. It’s everything I love in one amazing thing. Maybe throw some garlic mashed potatoes in the middle. And nestle a slice of crispy bacon in with the dog.

  8. I might physically die (of a heart attack) if I ate this, but I just don’t see any other alternative. Would in their right mind could resist trying it?

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