There are places that bring back memories, good or bad. Allentown has, and had, a number of restaurants (okay, grease pits) that were known to and loved by most Allentonians. Sadly, most of these are gone now (Vince’s Cheesesteaks, anybody? J’s Hoagies? Take-A-Taco? Bueller?… Bueller?…)
One that’s still around, and as iconic as ever, is Yocco’s, the Hot Dog King. Owned by the Iacocca family (yeah, THAT Iacocca family), the locals had trouble pronouncing their name correctly, so they named their shops after the locals’ unintentional mangling of “Iacocca”. Now there’s a bit of useless trivia…
It looks like Yocco’s has a total of six location in the Lehigh Valley. The Original shop at 625 Liberty Street has short hours and doesn’t sell any food that requires the use of a deep-fryer, alas; still, you can get anything else on their menu, which includes various permutations on burgers, sausage sandwiches, a fairly authentic steak sandwich (remember, they’re just an hour north of Philly via the Northeast Extension), and of course their signature offering, the Yocco’s Hot Dog.
Yocco’s dogs were, and are, my favorite take on what Ohioans and other Midwesterners refer to as the Coney Dog. A Yocco’s Hot Dog consists of a Hatfield brand hot dog, grilled well-done on a flat-top grill, in a soft steamed hotdog roll with spicy brown mustard, chopped white onions, and a shmear of Yocco’s Chili Sauce. The cheese dog is the same, with a slice of white American cheese inserted beneath the dog where it melts nicely. B says, and I concur, that the regular (non-cheese) dog is the better of the two; we’ve been out here in the land of cheddar-topped cheese coneys, so American cheese on a coney dog seems… weird.
When I stopped at Yocco’s last time we were in Allentown, I got what many people refer to as Yocco’s Allentown Traditional Lunch. That gut bomb consists of three Yocco’s Hot Dogs (with or without cheese), an order of three golden crispy lightly-salted deep-fried pierogis, and a bottle of chocolate milk. Yum.
Speaking of yumminess, I’ve only ever gotten deep-fried pierogis as a side order with fast food in and around Allentown. Nowhere else seems to offer that. Given a choice between limp, bland French fries or crispy golden pierogis, I’ll take the pierogis every time.
If you’re ever passing through Allentown, check ‘em out. They’re definitely worth the stop.