I’m here to tell you it’s very cool. Cosmic, actually.
Stepping inside feels like a trip back in time, and that’s just the way owner Jack Hurley wants you to feel.
“We’ve tried to create a roadside joint which I went to as a kid,” he said. “We sell as much theater as we do food. You step in -- it’s quirky.”
The walls are brightly colored, a toy airplane hangs from the roof of the porch, and a rocket-shaped neon sign with the name of the place hangs inside.
And then you check out the list of hot dogs: There are 24 types, starting with the Cosmic Dog, which has Hurley’s sweet potato mustard and blue-cheese slaw.
Other cool dog names are Astro Dog, Galactic Dog, Krypto Krout dog. With chili, cheese, sauerkraut, relish and more, you can get the dog of your dreams. There’s even a tofu dog.
Hurley opened Cosmic Dogs on U.S. 17 in 2000, and he opened a second location, on Folly Road on James Island, in late May. You can’t miss the Folly Road location: It’s the corrugated metal building with two red rockets aimed off the front.
He believes in making everything from scratch – the chili, cole slaw, the blue cheese cole slaw and the sweet potato mustard. The French fries are fresh cut and fried in peanut oil that isn’t used for anything else. He serves Boars Head hot dogs and quality buns.
Jack’s Cosmic Dogs has root beer on draft and a selection of old-fashioned, long-neck soft drinks. There’s also soft-serve ice cream.
The tofu dogs have been more popular at the new location. Before he found suitable tofu wieners, he served a bunny in a bun – a grilled carrot, served in a bun and topped with slaw.
“Never underestimate the power of the vegetarian,” he said. If there are six people in the car and one is a vegetarian, if you don’t have something for the vegetarian, they won’t stop, he said.
Jack’s Cosmic Dogs has gotten a lot of national attention recently. Earlier this year, Alton Brown, on the Food Network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” called the hotdogs the best ever. Then in early July, the dogs were featured on “The View.”
Hurley, who once owned several restaurants in Vermont, said he plans to open eight more Jack’s Cosmic Dogs in the next four years.