Chili dogs and deep-fried pierogi: that’s your lunch. Where are you? If you answered Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley, count yourself among the LAF cognoscenti. What French fries are to most of the fast-food eating populace, fried pierogi are to the Lehigh Valley. And what Yocco’s is to Allentown, Pete’s is to Bethlehem.
Pete’s, which calls itself the hot dog king, has been a fixture on Bethlehem’s Southside since the heyday of the steel production that took place less than a mile down the road. Take that drive east today and you’ll discover that Bethlehem Steel is now a casino, complete with Emeril Lagasse eatery, but Pete’s is still slinging chili dogs and pierogi on Broadway.
The dogs are pork and beef Hatfield franks (same as the ones served at Yocco’s), well-browned on the flat top. You can enjoy a naked dog, of course, but there’s nothing intrinsically wonderful about a plain Hatfield frank. If you are coming to Pete’s, know that you are ordering the classic local combo of chili, brown mustard, and fresh chopped onion. Unlike what’s served at Yocco’s (which they do NOT call chili; it’s Yocco’s “sauce”), Pete’s chili will not seep into the bun. This stuff is thick and viscous enough to remain atop your dog. It has a touch of heat, but cumin is the operative flavor here.
For just a few bucks you can lunch on a couple of chili dogs and a set of three fried pierogi. Alas, A-Treat sodas, a locally bottled (in Allentown, since 1918) beverage formerly available at Pete’s, went out of business in 2015. If you really want to go local, do as the regulars do and get yourself a container of chocolate milk to drink with your dogs. And enjoy a soulful taste of the Lehigh Valley.400 Broadway Bethlehem PA 18015 610-866-6622