Immediately after eating Speed’s loaded hot dog, a whitehead appeared on my nose. Now I understand that correlation doesn’t equal causation, but  the smell of grilled pork that emanated from my pores for the rest of the afternoon provided converging evidence.  Why is this relevant? Well, you certainly won’t want to go for a run after downing this beauty, in fact you will probably want to take a nap or stare blankly into space for a bit. Your self-esteem could take a hit, you might need to buy new pants, strangers might stand a bit farther away from you in elevators,  but this hot dog is so good it is worth all the bodily malfunctions and social repercussions that might ensue.  The Wall Street Journal called Speed’s hot dogs the best in the country. They are as good as advertised. While $7 might seem a bit steep for a cart hot dog, the loaded dog (special sauce, mustard blend, onions) is a steal considering the massive size and how damn delicious it is. Service moves a little slow, I was 8th in line and waited around 10 minutes for mine. Cash only.

Speed’s is tucked away in Newmarket Square, but easy enough to find. Coming from Boston just take a left off Mass Ave onto Newmarket Square road and you will see it on your right shortly. For those in Boston for July 4th they are setting up shop on the corner of Beacon and Clarendon from 9am until all the dogs are gone.

Loaded

Loaded

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The Hen House’s signature dish is the 5-step program, where patrons choose their waffle (buttermilk, multigrain or cornbread), their butter (whipped, cajun, herb), their syrup (maple, clove honey, maple bbq), their chicken (tenders, whole pieces, wings), and their sauce (too many to list). Most people seem to go this route, scraping the chicken off the bone on top of the waffle and then smothering the melange with butter, syrup, and sauce. Considering that I do not like waffles, syrup, or any relative of bbq sauce, I am probably not the best person to write a blog post about eating at The Hen House. But here I am, and though I did not do the Program, I loved my chicken and corn bread. I got the combo meal with three pieces of chicken, 2 sides, and a drink, which cost $8 or so and was way more than I could eat. The chicken was crispy, not at all greasy, and flavorful. The cornbread was moist and delicious. My second side was collard greens, but I was too busy to notice them. I really ordered them because I felt guilty ordering only buttery cornbread and deep-fried chicken. But the guilt was unnecessary. I had gone into the meal resigned to feeling sick immediately after eating. Surprisingly, my compatriots and I felt totally fine after the meal. We even discovered, by way of a small sticker on the door out, that The Hen House is transfat free, if that’s the sort of thing you care about.

Carlo and the two friends we were dining with can vouch for the chicken and waffles. According to them, the waffles were light and crispy, though not as hot as one might like. And, with all the sweetness layered on top of the dish, the chicken needed a bit more salt. Carlo enjoyed his side of fried cabbage, as it was surprisingly comprised of equal parts bacon/assorted pork and cabbage.

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The atmosphere at the Hen House is similar to that of a sandwich shop. It’s not particularly comfortable, and I don’t recommend it for a night of romance. That said, the service was very friendly, if a little disorganized. The cashier had never heard of the root beer floats that appear on The Hen House’s online menu, but after thinking it over for a minute, he said he could make one for me anyway. It’s also a little slow for a place where you order at the counter. We waited at least 10 minutes for our food, but so long as you’re not in a hurry, this is actually a good thing because unlike most fried chicken you’re going to get in Boston, this stuff is actually being made to order. The Hen House may be difficult to get to without a car (with a car its very easy – right off 93 and with a parking lot at the adjacent liquor store), but if you can swing it, it’s well worth the trip.

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