Rawley’s is a Gold Coast snack shack with blue ribbon red hots. At noon, mobs of hungry Fairfield County citizens throng the short counter and handful of booths off to the side to ingest delectable dogs that are cooked in a deep fryer, then finished on a griddle so their skins turn crusty. The big, plump tube steaks are then bedded in buns that have been toasted on the same luscious griddle and they are dressed with your choice of condiments. The traditional Rawley’s "works" dog is smothered with mustard, relish, sauerkraut and a handful of crunchy cooked bacon shreds. A recent addition to the menu is Mel's Hellish Relish which, along with chili, creates an incendiary dog. Good thick-cut French fries are available on the side. To drink: milk shakes and malts.
Atmosphere at Rawley’s is nearly as delectable as the hot dogs. At the counter, you can count on repartee among customers, waitstaff and Nick Frattaroli (who bought the place from former proprietor Chico Bielik late in 2002). Adjacent to the counter is a small, wood-paneled room that is carved floor to ceiling with customers’ initials and sentimental odes to this, the granddaddy of Fairfield County hot dog joints.
- Michael Stern