Potts’ U closed in late 2016. A new specialty hot dog restaurant, Mad Dogs, opened in the space in early 2017.
Philadelphia has cheesesteaks. The Lehigh Valley has hot dogs.
And when it comes to the battle for supremacy, there are two names at the top of the list: Yocco’s and Potts’.
Yocco’s has been around longer, but the Potts family are no rookies. They opened their first location in 1971 and have expanded to include locations in Allentown, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Emmaus and Northampton.
In 2014, they arrived in Berks County, opening Potts’ U in the shadow of Kutztown University.
Potts’ U’s surroundings are very familiar. Until the summer of 2014, the building had been home to CC’s Wooden Grill, a place that I loved and blogged about two years ago.
Stepping back in, it was a bit surreal. Other than a fresh coat of yellow paint, the dining room hadn’t changed much.
I missed the smell of the wood chips from the smoker, but I appreciated the addition of the menu screen above the open kitchen.
One thing that you’ll find with Potts’ is that each location has its own unique menu, despite the fact that they are all still owned by the same family.
At Potts’ U in Kutztown, they decided to branch out. While hot dogs are still the star attraction, you’ll also find pulled pork barbecue, French fries, soup and the craziest addition of them all: empanadas.
I was so happy to see that Potts’ U offered a “sampler” special: one hot dog, one empanada, one side and a drink for less than $7.
If you order your hot dog with “The Works,” you get mustard, onions and chili sauce (ketchup, relish, sauerkraut and pickles are also available for free, with extra charges for cheese and bacon). I skipped on the mustard and just went with the onions and chili.
In 40 years of Potts’ restaurants, they have figured out how to make the perfect hot dog. It had that crispy outside that’s a sign of a well-done dog. The chili was delicious: meaty, a little salty and just a little sweet. And they put on just the right amount of raw onions to get that flavor I was looking for without overpowering the hot dog.
The real surprise was the empanada. They had two choices on the board for the day: taco and buffalo chicken. I went with the taco and really enjoyed it. It wasn’t overly stuffed with the ground beef, but it was filled nicely with a little zest and a great flavor overall.
And the thin-cut, fast-food style fries were a perfect way to finish off the tray.
Julie had the same idea as me, but she opted for just ketchup on her hot dog. She also switched it up on the empanada, going with the buffalo chicken, instead.
The buffalo sauce was strong, but not overly hot (her tolerance for heat is lower than mine, but she handled hers well). The chicken was chopped up very fine in the sauce, mostly serving as substance for the sauce to stick to.
We had arrived in the middle of a mini-rush for lunch so our food took a few minutes to come out (only one person was working, taking orders and building the hot dogs), but for a delicious meal at a price tag of just $15, it was easily worth the wait.
Potts’ U does the Potts family proud, and it has been a great addition to Kutztown’s restaurants scene. It’s great food with better prices and a location that’s ideal for students and residents alike.
Hopefully it’s a recipe for a long-lasting restaurant.