Until Stan's Char-Broiled Hot Dogs opened, when the craving for a hot dog hit, a trip to a downtown cart or a fast-food joint was the only course of action. When Stan's set up shop in Vista Village, sitting down for a dog no longer meant finding a few inches of curb. But owner Stan Linkowski doesn't rely on hot dogs alone to draw diners. The menu also includes onion rings so worth the trip that the eatery could just as easily be called Stan's Onion Rings.
The thin and consistently sized rings have a texture more breaded than battered, with none of that thick, doughy covering often found at other joints. Linkowski refused to divulge the batter recipe, saying only that his wife developed it. He also added that the rings, which are surprisingly evenly sliced, are cut by hand. The thin slices of onion are totally biteable, and although some of the breading crumbles off, the rings tend to stay mostly wrapped up in their crunchy little jackets. Fry sauce is an optimal option, but Linkowski's special Bronco Sauce, a brown, tangy dip--the recipe for which is kept firmly under wraps--is a nice foil to the sweet onions. Speaking of sweet, the onion rings are even better complemented by a big ol' cone of frozen vanilla or chocolate custard (or both together). Its heavy, buttery creaminess is a precursor to a quick post-lunch snoozer.