We’ve been driving by Rascals for years now and never gave it much thought, I simply assumed it was an old restaurant that had long been closed in the West Side. But over the last couple of months I thought I was going crazy because every time I would drive by the restaurant I thought I was seeing signs of life. It turns out I wasn’t insane because new ownership has taken over Rascals On Niagara and have reopened the hot dog stand. We didn’t really find out it was open until a couple weeks ago, so we missed out on a couple months of prime summer hot dog eating.
The menu at Rascals has your standard hot dog joint staples. There are hot dogs, burgers, sandwiches, french fries and various ice cream treats. They also offer fish frys, ribs, white hots and polish sausage. Where Rascals really stands out is their sourcing, instead of serving Perry’s and Sahlen’s like every other place in WNY they are offering Hofmann (Syracuse) hot dogs/white hots and ice cream from Gifford’s (Maine). They also happen to serve a wide range of alcoholic beverages, something that caught me completely off guard. You’ll find beer, wine and even Four LOKOs. Seriously, check out their drink menu for yourself.
- Restaurant Type: Hot Dog Joint
- Cuisine: Hot Dog
- Location: West Side
- Prices: Almost Everything is ~$5
The restaurant has a good size dining room, so hopefully they have plans to remain open through the colder months. When we visited it was pretty quiet and we decided to sit outside and enjoy the weather. After looking over their large menu for a couple minutes, we decided to go traditional with our order. Alli decided to try one of their hot dogs while I ordered a burger (they even asked how I wanted it cooked, something most hotdogs stands don’t bother to do) and we also tried their ‘Cajun’ fries.
After the first bite, Alli could tell right away that she wasn’t eating a Sahlen’s hot dog. The flavor was different that WNYer s are used to and it had a different quality snap. We enjoy Sahlen’s just like everyone else in town, but its definitely nice to try something new every once in a while. The burger I ordered was pretty blah in comparison, I’m not exactly sure why they asked me how I wanted the burger cooked because it was incredibly thin and cooked well done. Next time I plan on ordering a white hot or polish sausage. The french fries were pretty good, very thin and freshly cut. They were fried up to just the right amount of crispiness. Sadly, the ‘Cajun’ addition was just some seasoning that was sprinkled on top of the fries (they also offer ‘Cajun’ corn).
We decided to check out their ice cream afterwards, especially since our friend Mike from Thirsty Dudes gave me the heads up on their ‘Campfire S’More’ flavor. The ice cream held up pretty well to Perry’s, Alli enjoyed her chocolate and I really liked the Campfire S’More. It had just enough marshmallow and chocolate, neither was too overwhelming. I’m sure kids would love it.
Rascals isn’t going to blow you away, but its a decent choice for a quick and easy meal within the city limits. The menu, alcohol selection and dining room are way nicer then I was expecting. If you don’t feel like driving North (Old Man River, Mississippi Mudds) or South (George’s, Taffy’s) for your hot dog fix, this is a good substitute. Just don’t get the hamburger.