At the juncture of several desirable Philly neighborhoods–Society Hill, Queen Village, Washington Square West and Bella Vista–lies South Street. It is an artery that has gone through many incarnations in the past and these days it is in what might be called a “transitional phase.” The good news for locals is that there are positive signs–new businesses have opened, established businesses have remained, and the South Street/Headhouse District just named a new Executive Director, Michael Harris, who brings significant strategic planning, operations, organizational management and private and public sector experience to the position. (Look for future post on Mike’s exciting plans for the District.)
My latest, greatest recent discovery on South Street is Hot Diggity near 6th Street. This place has the best hot dogs I’ve ever eaten. The concept is simple: high quality, flavorful, perfectly spiced dogs with a slightly crispy exterior or “bite”; Liscio’s rolls; a variety of killer topping combos; hand cut fries with a selection of gourmet dipping sauces and artisan sodas. Oh, and it’s cheap. My son and I feasted there this weekend for under $15.00. My son played it super safe, going for a plain dog with ketchup. I was slightly more adventurous; the Bronx Bomber with sauerkraut, red onion sauce and mustard called my name. I was on the fence, because the Saigon Fusion, featuring housemade pickled cucumbers, shredded carrots, Sriracha Chili Sauce and fresh cilantro was a sorely tempting. But, my policy when trying a new place is to start with the classics, then branch out as indicated. (My day job as a food blogger has taught me that.)
We ran into some friends, pictured here, who offered rave reviews about both the Texas Hold ‘em–bacon wrapped, slathered in barbecue and hot sauce and topped with cheese and chopped onions–and the Cincinnati Skyline, bathed in chili and cheese then sprinkled with scallions.
On the lovely Sunday afternoon we visited, Hot Diggity enjoyed a steady stream of customers, some takeout, and others dine-in. We shared a table with two grandmotherly types, who were engaged in a detailed discussion about the virtues of the various Hot Diggity menu options; they were obviously regulars. Starting now, we will be, too.
Hot Diggity is indeed a welcome addition to the South Street scene; visitors and neighborhood residents alike are becoming devoted fans. Says Jonathan Fink Real Estate Consultant, “Any interesting, high quality restaurant, even a very casual establishment like Hot Diggity, can provide added value to a neighborhood. It brings people in, it adds to the character of the area, and as more of them open, it can create a positive snowball effect or critical mass. Many Philadelphia neighborhoods are seeing these types of businesses come in and flourish, and that is great for real estate value and for the surrounding community.”