Friday, May 4, 2012

Red Hot Red Door Records

There’s no menu. A chalkboard hangs on a back wall behind the counter. It’s here that you’ll see a short list of sandwiches, dogs, toppings and specialties. If you’d like a beer, there’s a smaller board listing domestic, import and specialty brews. Or you can wash down a bag of chips with soft drinks chilling in the cooler.

Sit on a tall chrome stool at the ceramic-tiled bar. You can hear soft strains of oldies coming from a turntable just behind you. It’s perched on the end of long table covered with cardboard boxes filled with records. “LP’s” as they used to be called, long before 8-track tapes and cassettes or even iPods came onto the scene.

You can catch a glimpse of fresh hot dogs cooking on a grill. Their sizzling scent drifts around a curtain of vinyl records suspended on chains.

Someone from behind calls out “how ya doin’ today?”

Red Door Records is a friendly place. It attracts a cross-section of folks from the university, the town and travelers who wander in. Diners relax at the bistro tables or the long bar, clicking away on laptops, chatting or reading. Someone works a crossword puzzle over in the corner.

There’s always some fun activity underway--be it movie nite, music bingo, or a pop-culture trivia contest the 1st and 3rd Fridays of the month.  On this afternoon the staff was ramping up for International Record Store Day, planning designer T-shirts, live music and a hot dog eating contest.

Vinyl in a hot dog diner? Is it a record store or a restaurant? 
It’s both, and doing it well.

There’s no mistaking it’s a record shop with all the LPs cleverly hung, boxed or mounted on the walls. In a day when most turntables and record players are gathering dust in thrift shops, Jessica, Red Door Record’s proprietor, does a thriving business reselling these gems.

Even if you’re not looking to buy or sell records, it’s worth a visit. Coming from Chicago, we were in search of a good hot dog. Not an easy task here in the land of ribs, burgers and Southern-fried foods. We found it here!

“It had been my dream to open a used record store,” says Jessica. “But we needed something else to bring in the business.”

She points to an album cover mounted over the window. On its cover is a hot dog drizzled with mustard, nestled in a bun. “That was my inspiration for records and hot dogs.”
The restaurant is now offering craft, imported and domestic beer. Soon there will be booths to provide additional seating.

The menu is limited but well done and consistently good. Try a chicken salad sandwich, a (soy) veggie dog, or the best slaw dog you’ve ever tasted. There’s soda, tea, beer or bottled water if you’re thirsty.

Like the artwork on the walls? Make an offer, and you might walk out with some vintage records, a full stomach and something nice for your art collection.

Red Door Records is a fun place for great food, good oldies music and killer slaw dogs. Even Flat Stanley stopped in for lunch one afternoon. Eat, hang out, and pick up a copy of The Glass Onion to find out what’s happening in town. Want to find out what’s new at the store? You can follow them on MySpace and Facebook.

Red Door Records is located at 136 N. Ashley St. in Valdosta GA. Close to VSU campus. Doors open at 11:30 am every day except Sunday. Monday through Wednesday it closes at 6 pm, but stays open late Thursday, Friday and Saturday. 
Most of the menu items are under $4. 

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