When Powell Hamlin’s father bought the Dew Drop Inn, the previous owner had only one demand: “Don’t change nothing.”
Hamlin, who now owns the restaurant, is adhering to that advice. Mobile’s oldest restaurant has lasted for nearly a century with that philosophy, keeping a menu and a recipe file that has stood the test of time.
That includes the Dew Drop Inn Hot Dog, which comes with chili, sauerkraut, mustard, ketchup and a pickle slice. It’s special enough to earn a spot on the Alabama Tourism Department’s list of 100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama.
While Dew Drop Inn doesn’t seek change, that doesn’t mean change doesn’t affect the restaurant. The COVID-19 pandemic forced Dew Drop Inn to pivot, as it did other restaurants. Hamlin said his employees and customers have made it possible for the restaurant to survive.