Alex: In Historic Downtown Melbourne, Florida there is a place called Mustard’s Last Stand. Established in 1987, it is just dripping with highway Americana. License plates adorn the patio and the inside of the store, while a hotdog with big bushy facial hair and a cowboy hat rides a motorcycle alongside an ambulatory bottle of mustard on the back wall. I’m not quite sure which figure is the eponymous Mustard, but I don’t care because I know I’m in for a treat.
Inside there is a fair amount of seating, though a few big groups would put them at capacity. They also offer drive through service if you need to get your hotdog fix on the go. Speaking of hotdog fixes, I’ve never seen so much variety; their menu lists over fifty different dogs, including daily specials. From plain ‘dogs in a bun to veggie ‘dogs to ‘dogs covered in feta cheese, fried pickles, and tzatziki sauce they have something for every occasion. One time I looked at the menu and made it past the ‘dogs and noticed that they actually do serve other food, but I know my stomach will never make it that far.
The M.O.R.K. is the classic hotdog, at least in my mind. It’s a traditional poppy seed bun with an all beef ‘dog covered in diced onions, sweet relish, and just enough ketchup. It’s the perfect answer to that burning question: What am I going to eat today? It is also the best ‘dog to get if you can’t stop to eat it, many of the other hot ‘dogs tend to be knife and fork ordeals.
When you cover a hotdog with bacon, fried potato cakes, and spicy chili you call it the 49er. I don’t think the California gold rush miners chowed down on hotdogs covered in bacon, but if they did they would have cried out in culinary bliss. It’s messy and completely worth it. Make sure you have plenty to drink before you bite down; the chili has a hidden kick behind the flavor that will surprise you.
My favorite ‘dog, and also in my mind the most unusual, is their Cowboy dog. It’s a hotdog covered in bacon, wrapped in a flour tortilla and deep fried. And then, rather than calling it a day, they somehow improve upon perfection by coating it in chili and cheese. I’m not sure I really need to describe how it tastes, but it comes out better than the sum of its parts, which is a lot to be said for something that includes deep fried bacon.
No hot dog should have to stand alone, and that’s especially true at Mustard’s. They offer more than a dozen varieties of French fries. If you are already getting one of the meatier dogs, you probably want to steer clear of their Junkyard fries covered in chili, cheese, ranch, grilled onions and plenty of bacon. On the flip side, the Swiss fries with a coating of garlic and cheese, go fairly well with any ‘dog.
I’ll always try and take a moment whenever I’m in town to swing by Mustard’s. I suppose there might come a day when I have tried every single item on their menu. Today was not that day, and tomorrow isn’t looking very good either, but I am dedicated to the cause of tasting the infinite varieties of hotdogs for the good of mankind. And once you go there and take a bite, you’ll know why too.