Friday, September 30, 2011

Yum Yums | World Famous Red Hot Dogs of UNCG

Where do hot-dogs go when they die?
Yum Yum's Cheerwine sign.
"Why in the world are they red?"- I'm always asked. "It's a southern thing", I usually reply. Interestingly a professor at a Chicago university, recently did a taste test in New York of all places and found in a taste test, people preferred the southern red hot-dog to Oscar Meyer wieners. Let me repeat this strikingly crazy discovery, the red hot-dogs in North Carolina taste better, in most people's opinions than the infamous hot-dogs of New York and elsewhere. In fact, all hot-dogs used to be red, until a small fear of cancer drove it out of popularity except in the south, where we love our cancer hot-dogs bright red and covered in radioactive dye. Truth is, the south long switched to a alternate formula, so feel free to head on down to the ground-zero of hot-dogs: Yum Yums, and their world famous southern red hot-dogs.

$1.70 Red Hot-Dog, All-The-Way.
Mustard, Chili, Onions, and Slaw.
Before Rachel Ray thought it was cool to say "Yummy", in 1906 the Aydelette family turned their ice-cream cart business into a Greensboro legend by opening up The Yum Yum Better Ice Cream Company on the campus of UNCG; known better by students and Yum Yum cult members alike, (yes there is a Yum Yum fan club) simply as Yum Yums. On any given day hundreds of students can be seen sitting on the red brick wall, and its plastic tables out front, as it's likely the only place in town you can get a hot meal for $1.70. That's right, $1.70 for a loaded hot-dog with mustard, chili, onions, and slaw. Top it off with a Cheerwine for .85 cents and you've got a little southern comfort on a bun.


Perfect opportunity for a drive-thru
There's something familiar as you walk in the door of Yum Yums even if you've never been there. Every brick has its own story, and it's hard to fathom the number of people, and greatness of names that have graced the halls of this tiny corner building. Indeed, one could argue if the fabric of the city, Greensboro itself was held in place by one single thing, it's this: a century old restaurant where all roads lead to some sentimental flavors preserved in time with food; beckoning those surrounding it to come, to eat, to become as those of the past have, part of the collective, part of the culture. To become part of Greensboro.

Besides the price and the lightning fast service, the hot-dogs are something special. "An institution!", we habitually say. Yum Yums combines the steamed bun and dog covered in their own chili recipe, onion sauce, and assembled by an army of Yum Yum employees. It's reminiscent of a New York style hot-dog, but with it's own southern chili charm. Let's call it North meets South, because that's precisely what it is. In fact, it's in my opinion, that this is the best hot-dog in all of Greensboro.

Light seeketh the best hot-dog?
Yes, I've said it. I love Yum Yums, and I consider this quite a scary thought considering I may be spending the next two years on UNCG's campus. I can only imagine my friends trying to restrain me back as I reach out feverishly in my zombiefied mental state, attempting to spend my last bit of gas money home on a red hot-dog. Maybe I should consider moving on campus? Then again, Yum Yums has one major downfall: cash only. I very rarely carry cash, and while I understand the concept of a transaction fee being counterproductive to the price of a $1.70 hot-dog, I've also got to say, "It's 2011 people, catch up!"- I'll pay $1.99 for the hot-dog if I can max out my Visa like a good red-white-and-blue American should. I swear, somewhere on my student loan forms it said something about using the money for only: fees, books, and Yum Yum hot-dogs. I swear!


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