By Kathy Chouteau
The first thing to know if you’re heading to Caspers Famous Hot Dogs on Macdonald Ave. in Richmond is the right lingo when ordering: it’s “dogs” not “hot dogs.”
On a recent Saturday visit to the iconic Richmond institution, The Rich Life found the eatery bustling with lunchtime business and shining glorious in mid-century modern décor, complete with bright orange exterior, built-in cushioned swivel chairs and drop-down circular globe lights. From the moment our party stepped through the door, Caspers was an experience.
Caspers has been situated on its little corner across from Richmond’s Senior Center since 1947, and as evidenced by the patrons present during our visit, it has earned a dedicated local following across seven decades of serving up delicious dogs.
Restaurant workers Dana Chase, a 17-year Caspers veteran, and Eric Strong could be seen and overheard greeting several customers by name, asking them about their lives and delivering five-star service with a smile.
When asked what distinguishes Caspers’ dogs from its competitors, Strong quickly replied, “It’s the snap of the dogs.” Due to the fact that their meat never sits in water, Caspers’ dogs are known for their signature snap, evident from the first bite.
Later, Chase weighed in on the eatery’s “top dog” in terms of customer popularity, saying: “It’s the Cheese Dog with everything (mustard, relish, tomato and onion).” For the record, ketchup, mayo and deli mustard are available upon request.
That Saturday, I visited Caspers with my family: My seven-year-old son, Logan, ordered the Casper Junior Dog with mustard; my husband, Zach, ordered the Casper Dog Combo with mustard, which came with a choice of chips and a medium drink; and I ordered the Chili Cheese Dog Combo, which also came with chips and a medium drink.
Service was fast and friendly and everyone walked away fully satisfied with their meals—with Logan rating his dog a “ten out of ten.” Of note is that, until his first-ever Caspers visit that day, he had fully sworn off dogs of the edible variety, so the restaurant made a convert out of him.
My Chili Cheese Dog was also notably delicious, and the portion was so generous I had to eat parts of it with a fork/spoon combo utensil provided by Strong.
All-in-all, the eatery fully lived up to its online reputation as THE go-to spot in Richmond for dogs made your way with all the fixings. Its close proximity to both the Richmond Senior Center and the Richmond Civic Center have made Caspers a popular lunch spot for city leaders, politicians and other community members. After our visit, it’s easy to see why.
Want to visit this Richmond institution yourself? Caspers is located at 2530 Macdonald Ave. in Richmond and is open Monday through Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call 510.235.6492 or click here for more info. And say “hey” to Dana & Eric for us!