The sign on the building is fading and an old hot dog mannequin with arms and a smiling face greet us. The Great American Hot Dog and Seafood restaurant sits at the end of a strip mall at 808 Greenville Hwy In Hendersonville.
You enter to red Formica tables and pleather chairs. The 1950s local joint atmosphere is further enhanced by the handwritten blackboard menu on the wall.
Owner, Tom Cote, is a New England native (guess the accent he asked me, of which I failed the first time). Not a New Yorker, but from Maine, he tells me the seafood is flown in fresh from his home state.
From one seafood-lover to another, he’s made all the right moves. The lobster roll had a butter grilled bun and lettuce with just the right amount of mayonnaise to lobster ratio. Hot fresh crinkle fries and cold coleslaw (slightly heavy on the onion) rounded out the meal and left my palate happy.
The whole belly fried clams were lightly battered and fried to perfection. We did fight over the last one atop the wax paper of our red plastic lunch basket. The portions were average-sized so you probably won’t go home with leftovers, but you will leave with a smile on your face.
‘Great American’ was previously voted the ‘Best of Hendersonville’ award in 2016 for Best All-Around Restaurant, Best Burger, Best French Fries, Best Fried Chicken, and Best Meal for the Money. Obviously, you can’t order wrong at this local favorite. The menu also features specialty hot dogs, burgers, sandwiches, and more!
Knowing where to get fresh seafood in a pinch without the airs of superiority, which the food could command, is reminiscent of the seafood shacks found across the street from my favorite beaches on Cape Cod. I could almost feel the sand still sticking between my flip flops and bare feet and the warmth on my face from too much sun.
Tom, you have a repeat customer and my respect as a fellow New Englander. Wicked good!