Since this is CityBeat's final “Table Scraps” entry, it makes a certain amount of sense to revisit the first such story, just like I did with this week's theater piece here (also the paper's last under my name). The venue has changed locale and management since I wrote about it five years ago, but its fare hasn't lost a step since day one. Other than the San Diego Repertory Theatre plays and the total hottie that serves the food, it's my biggest draw to a shopping mall that arguably fueled the growth (for better or worse) of the Downtown you see today.
Horton Plaza's Hot Dog Station, operating from a cute little ground-level send-up of a train engine, is still the city's monument to that most legendary summertime delicacy and the condiments that define it. The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council says we consume 20 billion (yep, with a “b”) hot dogs a year, mostly in July and August— and judging from the way it does business, this eatery seems intent on pulling in all the profits by itself. An invariably steady stream of customers has discovered what I have, namely that the colossal Chicago Dog with everything ($4.50) is the most tantalizing landmark since the city's St. Valentine's Day Massacre. The corn dog holds its own, too, alongside an array of snacky stuff like Polish sausages, oversize pretzels, chips and sodas. Everything here will appeal to the glutton in you, at prices that will delight his inner cheapskate.
Hot Dog Station, at 1 Horton Plaza, across from Broadway Circle, used to abut the Rep's Lyceum theater spaces—it's moved very slightly to the east, and the aforementioned hottie recently told me (in a heartrending East European accent) that it's under new management as she served me a giant pretzel. But the venue is open seven days during normal business hours, usually closing at 7 p.m.; call ahead if you like at 619-236-9580. I'm delighted to report that this place is every bit the happening it was in the old days—this may be my last food piece, but my visits to Hot Dog Station are set for the foreseeable future.