I may have been alive for 26 years, but I promise I’ve eaten Nu-Way for at least 20 of those. As a child, our summer-time tradition was swim lessons at the YMCA followed by Nu-Way.  We’d go through the drive-thru and make the journey home, the burgers and hot dogs soaking up the chili for an end product of mushy perfection.

In those days, we went to the one on Gray Highway. Later, I’d find myself inside the original Cotton Ave location. There was something comforting about the aged décor, the well-worn stools. It was as if you were in on a secret that you shared with every other person that had looked at those speckled countertops.  Sadly, there is no more secret. The fire took it all, we were told that they will be finished with the rebuild in spring of 2016. It remains to be seen if the magic lives in those original fixtures or in the location itself.

This particular review centers on another Nu-Way tradition that my husband and I have: Nu-Way on Zebulon followed by a movie.  On a rainy Friday night we step into the familiar red and yellow filled room. We order our usual, two chili cheese dogs all the way, two slaw dogs and fries . It’s the perfect mix, one warm and goey, the other crisp and cool. I’m assuming you’ve had  a Nu-Way all the way dog  but in case you haven’t , an all the way chili cheese dog has nu-ways signature chili which consists of a fine meat only chili placed atop the signature red weiner. A slice of cheese cradles the hotdog and mustard and onions are layered in between.  While fries are not a nu-way specialty I am firmly of the opinion that their fries are some of the best around. Huge Styrofoam sups filled with soda and their signature flaky ice round out a not so healthy but nonetheless delicious meal.

As we sat in the corner booth we ogled the aged classifieds page that was hung on the wall behind us. In between bites we looked at the values placed on the cars, but eventually found our way around to the reason for the treatment of honor for this old piece of newspaper. The reason:  a small story about a dog that frequented Cotton Ave almost every afternoon. He was well known for his acrobatics that almost always resulted in being thrown a morsel of hotdog. In fact, this talented pup was the inspiration for the begging dog depicted on the nu-way branding.

With a new factoid in our brains and full bellies we then departed for our film portion of the evening. If there’s one takeaway from this review then it’s this, food is tradition.  I don’t think I’m alone in feeling that even after the fire, Nu-Way’s tradition is sure to endure for generations to come.