Teo’s Hot Dogs, Pittsfield, MA

I cannot stress how much I wanted to love Teo’s. With the 28 glowing Yelp reviews, the praise from Roadfood, and the promises reeking of nostalgia and meat sauce, I figured that spending $15 on gas for a three hour trip wasn’t the worst I could do. And with photos like this, how could I not check it out? The frosted glass and wood-grained paper plates only added to my building gusto.
On the surface, it looked like a greasy, offbeat dive bar with wonderful local hot dogs. Teo’s is located in a neighborhood in the middle of the Berkshires similar to the one my mother grew up in, a blue-collar industrial town largely dominated by factories and farms. Drawn to such places and their respective eateries, I was immediately entranced by the comfortable, dank atmosphere of Teo’s with its grimy stained glass windows, lingering decades-old cigarette stench, and lottery machines in the corners of each dining room. This is a restaurant with obvious regulars. They sit at the bar and watch TV while eating their hot dogs, presumably on break from the local factory.
I ordered a classic combination per the recommendations of the internet- two hot dogs with everything, everything being meat sauce, mustard, and onions, and a root beer. I paid my $4.50 and sat down at a table. Waitresses brought steaming plates of hot dogs over to other patrons, and I waited. Ten minutes later, I noticed the waitress beckoning me from the corner of my eye, shouting, “Two everything. Two everything.” I came over and received a sad, greasy paper bag with two hot dogs crammed in wax paper and thrown in. When I told her that I wanted to eat in, she merely shoved the bag at me and raised her eyebrows. She was done helping, that much was true.
The hot dogs are around four inches long, hence my ordering two, and are gently nestled in New England-style hot dog buns about an inch longer than their contents. All the better to hold you with, my dear. The buns weren’t so much steamed as they were saturated and rendered mushy and pasty with the seepage from the sauce and mustard, and the outsides were smeared with a lethal combination of the two. Now, I understand that the whole experience of a dive is swift and unglamorous service, but this was unacceptable. Raising the little sausage to my lips, I felt as though I was embarking on some terrible, 2 girls 1 cup inspired version of Fear Factor. And to be honest, I might not have been able to tell the difference had these just been given to me on a plate.
The fully erect hot dog, positively referred to as “snappy,” seemed to be more in the realm of rubbery and turgid when I got it. The texture was purely Bubblicious, if Bubblicious came in a salty hot dog flavor. The casing was tough to rip through, so chewy that in the grip of my last bite, the hot dog gave up, squirted out the bun, and landed on the floor, leaving a dirty trail of condiments in its wake. Inside the casing is a chunky, beefy meat that tastes mainly of salt and fat. This hot dog is the epitome of the choking warning that every childhood and chain letter inevitably came with.
When ordering, I noticed a wide discrepancy of cooking levels on the hot dogs, ranging from pink and fleshy to burnt and crispy. I requested well-done and received undercooked. The insides were cool and tough, reminding me of my elementary school’s reviled boiled hot dogs as a child, though even those were preferable to these little suckers. I was not only tired and hungry from the car ride, but baffled as well. The teaspoon of meat sauce slopped onto my hot dogs was also salty, and with the one-noted flavors of the entire thing, the dominant taste was the mustard, and a weak, watery one at that. I’ve had better service and quality from a Bronx-based White Castle in the middle of the night. Although my portion was small, I was glad I had not ordered more as the resulting two left a slimy feeling in my mouth and an ache in my stomach later on.

Going to Teo’s, I felt pretty burnt, as I’d spent a good chunk of my day making the trip out and had been stiffed in the process. It was unfortunate to find that my money clearly wasn’t as good as that of the regulars. In an establishment such as this, I know I’m not the top dog, but the real charm in going to a restaurant is knowing that and still being treated as though you go there every day. Unless you can receive that, why bother going? At least it beats The Suburban.
Note to Eastern CT readers: Last week, a significant part of my grandmother’s property was broken into and trashed. I spent a good part of my childhood there and am greatly distressed. While I’d rather not reveal too much here, I’d love it if any locals could email me and give me any possible information they have on it to turn over to the police. Our family is quite upset and would appreciate any help.Teos Hotdogs Restaurant on Urbanspoon

7 thoughts on “Teo’s Hot Dogs, Pittsfield, MA”

  1. Teo’s will be around a lot longer than this blog. Had my first dog in ’76. I’ll have the last one the day I meet my maker.

  2. Anonymous, while that is a noble feat of tolerance on your part, I will personally take that as a challenge. Next up, Foodette in fifty years…your move, Teo’s.

  3. Teo’s is a pit for drunken locals that can’t afford anything better. Being a bunch of jerks and under-educated employees does not make Teo’s a niche place to be. Keep your junk dogs, ’70’s Webber Grill, paper plates, and attitude because no one cares about you eating there since your first trailer was leased at the park. Bottom line is this, Boston inspectors need to come out and inspect that rats nest and shut it down because the inspector out there probably sits to have a dog or two while there.

    Lastly, Anonymous, there is some truth to you having a dog the day you meet your maker. Those will eventually kill you.

  4. Hi I grew in the Berrkshires and am a chef in Portland Oregon I have to agree with your review but the hot dogs and teos take on a different type of ambience after a picture or two of beer and those nasty greesy little one note me alive but only after your good judgment is gone and yourtaste buds have been altered weird but true!!! They really become delicious. But for a real treat in the Berkshires try Trucs Orient express in West Stockbridge a little high end but well worth the trip one of the best Vietnamese restaurants on the planet if not the best

  5. I am 52 and now live in southern Connecticut. I visit geostationary 2 or 3 times a year and get a minimum xof 50 riots each ride home. No more than 25 have ever survived the two- and-a-half hour ride home. They go great with diet coke. The author of this blot made a fatal mistake in ordering root beer with her dogs.

  6. I ate there recently upon a visit to the Berkshires.I had eaten at Teos many times when I lived there. Let me say that these are NOT the same dogs that I’ve eaten many times.

  7. well i cant say the service was bad and the plates were glass and clean. it is a working mans, womans bar. the rolls were not steamed well, the dogs a bit cold, the toppings not spread well,but you dont need to write a book about a place that is just a dog place.If you really want a good dog you need to go back in time, as like pizza all the good pizza makers have sold to people who have some half baked idea of what the real thing should taste like.i was treated well will not go back i was not satified, but would like to go and drink there seem like nice people,maybe who dont know about good dogs.

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