REVIEW: Paul’s Place – Rocky Point
I ended up in Rocky Point a few months ago while on the search for the greatest hot dog in the state of North Carolina. I had been down in Wilmington for a wedding and was on the way back to Greensboro with Ron and Anna when we decided to pull off and grab some lunch. We had planned on getting some fast food since it was Easter weekend and we didn’t think any local places would be open. Surprisingly, the fast food restaurant we were trying to eat at was closed for the holiday but we drove a little further down the road and came across Paul’s Place and it was open!
My dad had told me that his favorite hot dog was Paul’s Place just outside of Wilmington but he had never given me the specific location or exit that it was off of. He told me that their best dog wasn’t the Carolina-style dog (chili, slaw, mustard, onions) but it was the one with their special relish on top. He and my mom said that they used to buy jars of the Paul’s Place relish as presents for their friends during the holidays because it was just that good.
Paul’s Place opened in 1928 and the Paul family has been serving their special dogs to patrons ever since.Paul’s Place serves their dogs on a steamed split bun. Their dogs are boiled in water and then simmered in the same pot until they are served. I ordered three dogs and a drink ($5.45) which are served with Paul’s version of “all the way” at no extra cost. According to InsterstateEateries.com, the Paul’s Place relish is “a holdover from the World War II era when beef was rationed.”
The relish on Paul’s Place signature hot dogs definitely gives a different taste to the hot dogs than we are used to in North Carolina. It replaces the spicy chili with a nice tang. However, I thought the change in taste is a good thing. Don’t get me wrong though. I love a good ol’ fashioned Carolina-style dog as much as any North Carolinian but I think change is good and this is a great change especially in the hot dog department.
You can order a Carolina-style dog for sixty cents more per dog but that bumps up the price of a single dog to $2.20 instead of $1.60. I debated on ordering one so I could compare the two but I decided to stick with the favorite from Paul’s. I will give the Carolina-style a go next time I am down that way. You can purchase jars of the Paul’s Place relish at the restaurant. I think you can also find it at various Piggly Wiggly stores around North Carolina although I am not sure which of those stores you can find it at.
Ron, Anna and I all enjoyed our Paul’s Place hot dogs and we all agreed that we would go back again the next time that we were down near Wilmington. I regret not picking up a jar of the relish because I have cooked hot dogs at home a few times and would have loved to been able to make one like Paul’s Place with some yellow mustard and onions. If you are cruising down to Wilmington or heading back home from the beach, you should stop in to Paul’s Place and scoop up a dog or two. I think you will like what you find there. Plus, they have great milkshakes if you are driving on a hot day!