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Stop for a quick bite at the Dog Shack

For years, we passed the iconic Curt’s Stop-In along Route 5 on our commute to Buffalo. Then, a few years back, Curt’s – which flourished during the Bethlehem Steel era – was replaced by the Dog Shack.

Strangely enough, three hot dog joints – the Dog Shack, Tony’s Bayview Drive-In and Red Top Hot Dogs – sit along that two-mile stretch of Route 5. The competition for dollars is truly dog-eat-dog.

The Dog Shack is quirky. And for those traveling from Woodlawn Beach, arriving in a wet bathing suit would be just fine – here, “shack” is an operative word.

There’s a diner-style counter with seating. Dog paw curtains grace the windows. Seating in the dining area is on what looks like puffy hotel lobby chairs circa 1985. Prices on the menu reminded us of that year, too. Pretty cheap.

Although the menu lists a charbroiled hot dog ($2.49), dogs are cooked on a grill. Not bad, just so you know. A Texas dog, cheese dog and the like are each $2.79. Footlongs are $3.99 ($4.99 for a Texas).

A regular hamburger is $2.59, with a variety of versions (mushroom, cheese, Texas, chili, bacon) topping out at $5.09 for a half-pound cheeseburger. Curly Q fry orders start at $3.05 for a half order, rising to $3.65 for a full. Add chili or chili and cheese to fries for an extra charge. For $5.35, add Texas sauce, chili and cheese.

Specials of the day included the Texas big dog combo of three Texas hots, a half order of curly fries and a drink for $11.99. A deep-fried bacon dog with Texas sauce, onion rings and a drink was $8.99. Two cheeseburgers with macaroni salad, potato salad and a drink was $9.59.

Since it was our first time, we stuck with the basics.

First up was the kraut dog ($2.79) with an order of onion rings ($3.65). Served on the same plate, the dog was nicely grilled, with a decent helping of kraut. The rings were crispy and hot. Salt perked them up even more.

We ordered the daily special – a cheeseburger with macaroni salad and potato salad ($7.59) – but the plate came out with a cheeseburger and Curly Q fries. We didn’t have the heart to tell the sweet man who took our order that the food was wrong.

The cheeseburger was standard, topped with provolone, as ordered. The curly Q’s that came with it were hot and fresh.

My Shack Dog ($3.09) came with Texas sauce, chili and cheese. The cheese was a small squiggle of what looked like melted Velveeta on top of Texas sauce and chili. With visions of ooey and gooey, I wished for more.

Shack Hot Fries were spiced with what I think was a cayenne/flaked red pepper spice mix, plus hot sauce. The fries were decent, but $4.55 seemed a little high, compared to the regular Curly Q price of $3.65, for what was essentially cayenne and hot sauce.

The birch beer float ($3.49) was really delicious, and had lots of ice cream. Shakes ($3.89) are also available, including chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, loganberry and peanut butter.

Daily specials like a footlong with a half order of fries ($8.59) and a steak hoagie with a half order of fries ($10.59) include a bottomless mug of soda or coffee.

The Dog Pile ($9.35) is a type of garbage plate, with mac and potato salad, fries and a hot dog or burger topped with Texas sauce or chili.

Kids’ meals include a drink and fries to accompany the usual suspects, like grilled cheese ($4.09) or a hot dog ($4.95).

The Dog Shack didn’t wow us, but didn’t disappoint, either. Pretty standard fare at a reasonable price. But, with Red Top and Tony’s nearby, it wouldn’t be our first choice.

The Dog Shack

3379 Lakeshore Road, Blasdell (Woodlawn, 352-4243, thedogshack1.com)

Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Closed Sunday.

Seating: Indoor tables and chairs, counter. Picnic tables outside.