I remember the first time I walked down Fourth Ave. The streets were buzzing with newbies to Tucson just like myself. I was held captive by the beaming neon lights, the expressive street art and the talented street-side musicians lining the sidewalks. This street was full of hidden treasures and I wanted to uncover them all.
Since this initial experience, I have strolled through the shops and restaurants on Fourth Ave probably 1,000 times. However, it was not until this last Friday that I stumbled upon 4th Avenue Delicatessen.
It is incredibly easy to miss 4th Avenue Delicatessen, especially if you are not looking for it. It is a small shop with a fairly unassuming exterior. However, one thing that cannot be ignored is its smell. The scent of delicious meats waft out the door enticing visitors to take a break from window shopping and sit down for a quick meal.
For my first occasion at 4th Avenue Delicatessen, I ordered the T Dog. This hot dog is crammed with goodies on it. On top of this delicious Boar’s Head hot dog, there is bacon, pepper jack cheese, onions, jalapenos, all topped with spicy mayo. All of these condiments come together to create one delicious hot dog.
After eating my T Dog, I was satisfied for the evening. However, the following evening, I found myself craving another hot dog! While the first night I came as a hot dog, for the second night I left the Halloween party I was at and strutted into 4th Avenue Delicatessen as Cat Woman. Along with the change of costume, I also decided to order the Ghost Dog.
During the month of October, 4th Avenue Delicatessen serves this delicious specialty dog. It is essentially the same with its toppings, but instead of spicy mayo, it is topped with ghost pepper mayo. Spooky.
While I thought this hot dog would be overwhelmingly spicy, I was surprised by just how delicious it was. The mayo did not overpower any of the other flavors, but rather added just the extra hot kick that this hot dog needed to take it up a notch.
Here at Let’s Be Frank, I judge hot dogs on three things: service, presentation and taste.
For service, I give 4th Avenue Delicatessen a 10 out of 10. I was very impressed with how fast our food came out, especially considering the high demand from the number of customers. The cashier was also extremely helpful when it came to helping me choose what I should eat. I will admit, I was nervous to eat the Ghost Dog, for fear of crying on camera due to the heat. The staff was quick to suggest something that I would like, and is relatively similar to the Ghost Dog.
For presentation, the T Dog gets a 10 out of 10. For what could’ve potentially been an extremely messy hot dog with all of its condiments, the way that this hot dog was prepared was perfect. All of the extra bits were evenly distributed across the dog and right when I saw this masterpiece, I was eager to eat it.
Lastly, our most important category, taste. I give 4th Avenue Delicatessen a nine out of 10. When I took the first bite of the T Dog, my mouth was flooded with so many fresh and delicious flavors that complimented each other in every way. The jalapenos and mayo added just the right amount of heat, while the bacon and pepper jack created a savory blend. I am salivating just thinking about it.
One more thing that makes 4th Avenue Delicatessen so wonderful is its hours. On weekends, this deli keeps its doors open until 3 a.m. That means that when you are done dancing at Club Congress or just finishing up a late show at the Rialto, Fourth Ave. Delicatessen will still be open and ready to serve one of the most delicious Tucson hot dogs.
4th Avenue Delicatessen
425 N 4th Ave
Tucson, AZ 85705
Photos by Alexander Schaller