In the days before a food holiday, our appetites are tempted with tons of recipes and the best restaurants offering a celebrated dish. Sometimes, it inspires grabbing a bite to eat at place we haven’t yet tried; which I enjoy as a way to break up going to the usual dining establishments. That’s why I decided to check out Jimmy John’s along Route 202N in West Chester, Pa., for National Hot Dog Day.
Upon entering, my eyes took in a train set circled around a miniature old-fashioned main street town, filled with details of everyday life. Tiny figurines of people sitting on porches, little motorcycle and car models placed nearby, a retro diner all made for a welcoming, nostalgic scene. Above its display case are several other train set models. Photos and other mementos, hanging from the top of the case, tell the story of the original owner. One more train follows a track overhead at the counter and continues around the immediate dining area, even going into a tunnel.
Menu boards had more than hot dogs (burgers and ice cream), but I chose the special frankfurter with chili and cheese; minus the bacon it usually includes. Thick franks sliced end to end, its pipin’ hot toppings, as the restaurant’s full name suggests, made for a delicious and satisfying dinner. The chili is a filling addition with great flavor and cheese oozes out with each bite; who could resist this combo?
After finishing my hot dog, I noticed more retro train-themed decor in another dining area just down a short hallway. There, visitors can find another display, smaller and with old west details inside. Near the door, a framed photo hanging on the wall showed the scene of one last “hook-up beam” for the Commodore Barry Bridge. The photo, taken in 1973, was an unexpected surprise piece of local history. My family has crossed the Commodore Barry Bridge many times to visit relatives in different parts of New Jersey.
With the mix of nostalgic items, unique train-themed displays, great food, friendly service and overall atmosphere, I enjoyed my first stop at Jimmy John’s. I’ll definitely go back, whether on a day of celebrating a classic food or on any other day.