It’s baseball season and that equals hot dogs. Charlie and I have had a strange relationship. It’s equivalent to that acquaintance that you don’t know, but you feel you know because you have heard about them through other friends and acquaintances. In a nutshell, that is the relationship that Charlie and I have. I’ve wanted to eat at Charlie’s forever. My first attempt, I couldn’t find the place. My second attempt, it was closed. Well, as the old saying goes, “The third time’s the charm.” Finally, without further ado, Charlie’s Hot Dog Grill and Bar.
How To Get There: Well, as you may know, its not the easiest place to find. However, it is not the most difficult either. It’s located in Hannam-dong, which is close to Hangangjin Station. Although you could get there via Hangangjin Station, the way I would get there is via Itaewon. Okay, first start by taking the subway to Itaewon Station (Line 6) and depart from Exit 3. Now you are going to walk the Itaewon strip. You will walk past On The Border on your left and Rocky Mountain Tavern. Your goal should be the Cheil Building. Now you are going to turn right. There are two possible paths. You need to stay on the left and head down the hill. This is going to be about a 500 meter downhill trek. There is the Thai Embassy on your left and Charlie’s Hot Dog Grill is across the street on your right.
Service and Atmosphere: Charlie’s won’t be the biggest restaurant you will ever walk into. It was a one man show today. The owner Michael was friendly and polite, serving up hot dogs at a steady pace. I was the only one in there, but in spite of that, he did not linger and served me promptly. Charlie’s isn’t like anything in Itaewon. The atmosphere is chill, but at the same time, at night looks it looks like it could come alive with the ghosts of Jimmy Hendrix and Jim Morrison entertaining the masses of Itaewon locals. A nice selection of classic rock filled the Hannam-dong afternoon, and for a moment, I felt as though I was back home with my dad in our backyard grilling up some dogs and listening to some tunes.
Food and Drink: It’s spring and that means baseball. Baseball equals beer. Beer equals hot dogs. I really wanted a beer, but alas, since I have tons of work to get done, it was a Coke kinda experience. Although they did have Sam Adams, which is always tempting. I ordered three hot dogs: two cheese dogs with ketchup and one chili cheese dog. Also, I ordered a side of coleslaw.
Cheese Hot Dogs with Ketchup 4500KRW (4,000KRW for the hot dog, 500KRW for the cheese): Michael cooked up the brauts perfectly and toasted the buns nicely. The brauts were Johnstone, a great selection. I buy Johnstone when I’m grilling at home, and really enjoy their flavor. The toasted buns were a nice little surprise that I wasn’t expecting. Little things like that really show how the owner goes the extra mile to serve up quality food. The hot dog was generously covered with shredded cheddar cheese, and the ketchup was substantial. A great hot dog, and definitely will be back again.
Chili Cheese Hot Dog 5000KRW (4000KRW for the hot dog, 500 for the chili and 500 for the cheese): As with the first two hot dogs, the bun was toasted to perfection and the braut was cooked wonderfully. The cheddar cheese and chili were plentiful. The chili was not too spicy, and had a tomato base. It would not be an ideal choice for me in regards to chili because I felt that it had a little too much tomato for my liking, but it was still suitable. As with the cheese dog, I would definitely order it again.
Coleslaw (1000KRW): I decided since I was putting hundreds of grams of saturated fat into my bloodstream that I would try to compensate some of that damage with a side of coleslaw (Silly I know). Anyway, the coleslaw was nothing to write home about. In fact, it wasn’t that good. There wasn’t much flavor, and the cabbage looked as though it had been in the fridge for a while. Charlie’s is clearly a hot dog place grill with no room for coleslaw or other sides. Honestly, I’m not going to bitch about it too much since it was only a dollar. That said, I won’t be ordering it again.
Value: The whole meal came to 17,500KRW and that included three hot dogs, two Cokes and a coleslaw. It was a pretty good deal, and it filled me up and satisfied the tastebuds. Part of me wishes it was a little closer to the strip, but another part of me really enjoyed it being off the strip. It was relaxing to sit outside, have a few dogs and watch the world go by. I would definitely recommend this place for anyone who is savoring a great hot dog.
Who Should Visit Charlie’s Hot Dog Grill: If you are looking for a great hot dog, and a pretty relaxing atmosphere (at least in the day), I would check this place out. Also, a great spot after the bar if you are willing to make the trek. Charlie’s is open until 2am!
Who Should Avoid Charlie’s Hot Dog Grill: Charlie’s is a master of his trait and nothing else. The menu is about hot dogs and beer. If you aren’t a fan, I would probably go elsewhere.