I’ve heard of Nu-Way Weiners (Warning: very obnoxious soundtrack on web site) for years. However, since Macon is the home of Fincher’s, I have never ventured to a Nu-Way to sample them. This trip I decided to make the sacrifice, and give it a shot.
Well first off, I am not guilty of a typo in the name of the restaurant. Yes, they spell it “Weiner”. I have heard rumors that that was a miss-spelling on an early sign, and just stuck, but not sure about that story.
If I told you there was a restaurant that:
- Was founded by Greek immigrants
- Had a thin, meaty chili sauce
- Put it on a hot dog with onions and mustard
- Was a favorite local lunch spot
You might assume I was taking about Empress or Skyline Chili in Cincinnati. Actually this is all true of Nu-Way Weiners in Macon, GA. The chili is very similar to Cincinnati style chili, but they were founded in 1916, 6 years before Empress started doing business. Some other differences:
- Ways: They don’t put their chili over spaghetti in 2, 3, or 4 ways, but they do refer to their hotdog with chili, onion, and mustard as “all the way”.
- Cheese: It seems an afterthought here, and if what I spied from a neighboring table is correct, involves a slice of cheese rather than a mound of shredded mild cheddar.
- The Slaw Dog: You can get a slaw dog that smothers the hotdog in cole slaw. Essentially, slaw seems the substitute for the cheese in a Cincinnati Cheese coney.
- The Dog: No short hot dog here, and the hot dog is red… not “reddish”, red.
For the son, we got a plain dog, so you can see what it looks like in its naked glory:
After I sliced it up for the little guy, you can see this is red all the way through:
I sampled the Combo #1 “all the way” (chili, onion, and mustard). It came with fries:
The other thing they make a lot of noise about is their “flaky ice”. Here is the cup:
The flaky ice is just like Frisch’s ice, but hey, they do have the best ice in Cincinnati.
Nu-Way has a fuller menu then most chili parlors in Cincinnati. I’m told the hamburger is quite good smothered in Chili sauce. You can check their full menu online, though you’ll have to download the PDF, a pet peeve of mine.
I really enjoyed my meal here. It has a classic retro lunch counter feel:
Of course I am a long-time Cincinnati-Chili fan, and I still think it is superior. The chili here seems subtler than Skyline, but has that same cinnamon overtones I have grown to crave. While I found the red color of the hot dog vaguely disconcerting, it was quite tasty. The fries were unremarkable, but serviceable, and they serve Coke (always a plus in my book). Here is a nice extreme closeup of the dog:
If you are heading south on I-75, and you already like Cincinnati chili, give it a try. There is one not far from the 475 bypass on Bloomfield road. If you have more time to stop, and crave some really good barbecue, I would still recommend Fincher’s as a place to stop.