The Best Hot Dog in Every State
Whether you're vacationing in the next state or planning a cross-country drive, this is must-know info for every hot dog-lover.
Alabama: Gus’s Hot Dogs, Birmingham
Grab some napkins because things are about to get messy. Gus’s does it in the best way possible, though, thanks to the heaping ground beef, onions, sauerkraut and “special sauce” atop a Zeigler wiener at this long-time Birmingham tradition. The recipe for that sauce is a secret—just like these secret menu items at your favorite fast food restaurants.
Alaska: International House of Hot Dogs, Anchorage
Forget about pancakes, When it comes to sausages, all you need to remember is IHOHD (International House of Hot Dogs, of course). While you’re in the northern-most state in the United States, swap the regular frank for a super rich reindeer sausage known as the McKinley Dog. Drizzle their homemade chipotle sauce over your entire plate—locals swear by it!
Arizona: El Guero Canelo, Tucson
The reason the Mexican restaurant El Guero Canelo recently got a James Beard Foundation Award was for their Sonoran-style hot dogs. Wrapped in bacon then embellished with beans, onion, tomato, mustard, mayo, and a spicy jalapeno sauce, they’re the perfect marriage of American and Southwestern fare.
Arkansas: Scoop Dog, Little Rock
At Scoop Dog, the menu boasts pure beef hot dogs in the styles of six different cities, such as Chicago, Detroit, and Atlanta. Pair yours with a scoop of the shack’s icy-cold custard for dessert. If you want to recreate the edible experience at home, snag a pack of these Schmaltz all beef hot dogs.
California: Dirt Dog, Los Angeles
Imagine an all-beef Nathan’s hot dog wrapped in thick bacon resting inside a fresh-baked bun from local Melrose Bakery smeared with green chili. Sounds good, but that’s not all: Each dog is served “dirty dog” style, meaning they’re cooked in a Thousand Island sauce and trimmed with classic condiments (ketchup, mustard, mayo) and bacon crumbles.
Colorado: Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs, Denver
Following a feature on Food Network’s The Best Thing I Ever Ate, Coloradoans have flocked to Biker Jim’s for a bite of one of their unique wieners. There are 15 different types of sausages, from elk to jack-a-lope (a mythical creature) to rattlesnake, each made with meat free of chemicals and hormones. If you think those options are strange (although everyone swears they’re delicious), check out this list of some of the most bizarre foods people eat around the world. And if you can’t make it to Denver, you can always order some elk summer sausage.
Connecticut: Blackie’s Hot Dog Stand, Cheshire
Family-owned since 1928, Blackie’s is a Connecticut mainstay for the best frankfurters around. Their hot dogs, custom made by local Martin Rosol’s Meats, are so good in fact that they don’t even serve fries with them. Their reasoning? Have another dog instead. Tip: If you love their relish (which most people do) buy a jar to take home. Try these other ways to jazz up a plain hot dog, too.
Delaware: Johnnie’s Dog House and Chicken Shack, Wilmington
Bring a big appetite to Johnnie’s Dog House and Chicken Shack, home of the Delaware Destroyer: A sub roll packed with two hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, onions, beef chili, and hot sauce. Or try the Texas Tommy, a gut-busting bacon-wrapped hot dog that’s deep-fried and covered in cheese. You might need these quick kitchen cures for indigestion when you’re done—or some Extra-Strength Alka Seltzer.
Florida: Voodoo Dog, Tallahassee
What you put on a hot dog can make or break your meal—and at Voodoo Dog, their garnishes definitely make it. All-beef franks are nestled inside super soft buns and then topped with creative combos of toppings like a fried egg and cheddar cheese or hummus and cucumber. Don’t knock it ’til you try it—here are more weird food pairings that real chefs secretly love.
Georgia: Delia’s Chicken Sausage Stand, Atlanta
We all know that hot dogs aren’t exactly health food. For a better-for-you version that tastes just as juicy and delicious, head to Delia’s for an all-natural chicken sausage. Each link is crafted from scratch using local, hormone-free chicken thighs and a special spice seasoning. The result? A sausage that’s lower in fat yet satisfies your craving. You can also prepare your own at home with Aidell’s chicken sausage.
Hawaii: Puka Dog, Koloa
What exactly is a Hawaiian-style hot dog? At Puka Dog, it starts with a “puka” (a hole baked into a fluffy bun) which holds the hot dog and is then filled with a garlic lemon sauce and lilikoi passion fruit mustard. Aloha new favorite dish! Vegetarians can make a version of the puka dog at home with these meat-free hot dogs.
Idaho: Franko’s Dog House, Post Falls
This is one dog house you want to be sent to. The pure beef frankfurters are jumbo-sized and juicy, meaning you won’t need two for a filling lunch but you’ll want two. Check their website for the rotating specialty hot dog of the month or mix things up by choosing an elk, bison or turkey dog instead. Whatever you do, do NOT put this condiment on top.
Illinois: BIG & little’s, Chicago
Fancy franks do exist—and they’re on the menu at this Chicago establishment which has been featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. The simple sandwich—loaded up Chicago style of course with sport peppers, onions, pickles, tomatoes, relish, mustard, and celery salt—is served with fries topped with foie gras.
Indiana: King David Dogs, Indianapolis
Grilled to perfection and stuffed inside a plush poppy seed bun, the wieners at this Indianapolis institution are still made using the original recipe from the 1940s. Garnish your dog—they’re thick and heavy with a hint of garlic goodness—with a choice of 18 different toppings for an unforgettable mouthful. If you want to grill your own all-beef bites, pick up these highly-rated franks.
Iowa: Bigg Daddy’s Dogs, Cedar Rapids
Quarter, half, or full pound? No matter how hungry you are, there’s a hot dog at Bigg Daddy’s that’ll satisfy your appetite. Because of its popularity, this frankfurter-featuring food cart sells more than just its high-quality Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs these days. They’ve also added a nine-inch bratwurst to the menu that’s equally flavorful and juicy.
Kansas: Top Dog, Topeka
The only spot in the city specializing in hot dogs, Top Dog is, well, top notch at delivering delicious dogs. Keep it simple with a plain wiener or, if you’re feeling adventurous, order one of the out-of-the-box options like the Elvis, topped with creamy peanut butter, bananas, and crushed corn flakes. It’s a sweet and salty combo that somehow works—just like these other savory-yet-sugary snacks.
Kentucky: Lonnie’s Best Taste of Chicago, Louisville
You don’t have to travel all the way to the Windy City for a Chicago style dog, thanks to Lonnie’s. Using all beef Vienna kosher hot dogs, Lonnie (who actually used to own a shop in Chicago so he knows what he’s doing) tops each dog with a handmade relish that’s been dyed bright green, spicy sport peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, mustard, and chopped onions. Want to try sport peppers on your dogs? You can find them here.
Louisiana: Cochon Butcher, New Orleans
Leave it to a James Beard award-winning chefs Donald Link and Stephen Stryjewski to elevate a dish as simple and classic as the hot dog: At Cochon Butcher in New Orleans where hot dogs and sausages are prepared by hand in-house using fresh local meat and then encased in a chewy pretzel bun. Love artisan eats like these but can’t make it down South? These are all the gourmet goodies you can buy at Costco.
Maine: Wasses Hot Dogs, Rockland
Step off the beaten path up north with a stop at Wasses. The roadside stand might not look like much but it’s been keeping central Maine well-fed for years with its delectable dogs snuggled in toasty warm buns. The secret to their flavor? The franks are grilled in peanut oil alongside fragrant onions on a griddle. Ask for the Wasses Special for a hot dog covered in mustard, relish, and fried onions.
Maryland: G&A Restaurant, Baltimore
When G&A first opened its doors back in 1927, a hot dog was only 15 cents. While prices may have changed (now they’re around two dollars), the wieners have remained the same—absolutely mouthwatering. Watch the owner—the original founder’s grandson—pile a dozen dogs on his forearm and top them all with “the works” (mustard, raw onion, and chili).
Massachusetts: Fred’s Franks, Boston
“I’ll take a shnurble.” The orders you overhear at Fred’s Franks may sound like jibberish but a shnurble is actually the most popular thing on the menu. This incredible creation consists of an all-beef hot dog from Pearl Meats (in Roxbury), chourico (a Portuguese sausage), mayo, shredded cabbage, and a hot sauce known as “Sirachababa sauce.” You’ll need two hands to hold this monster!
Michigan: UFO Factory, Detroit
Build your own wonderful wiener at this Detroit destination. First, choose your dog—organic grass-fed beef or Field Roast vegan. Then, pick your toppings: You could go Mexican with nacho cheese sauce, jalapeno, avocado, and cilantro, or go Vietnamese with the classic banh mi garnishes of pickled veggies and spicy mayo. The result? A meal that’s, well, out of this world.
Minnesota: Tilt Pinball Bar, Minneapolis
Pinball with a side of beer and dogs is the status quo at Tilt. Whether you go with the all beef (made with meat from Peterson Craft Meats), the pork, or the vegan Siracha dog, the trendy bar offers 11 different styles including unusual toppings like kimchi, potato salad, black olive mayo, and even macaroni and cheese. It’ll pair perfectly with one of these 19 beers you need to try ASAP.
Mississippi: Swan Dogs, Gautier
This Gulf Coast eatery started with a 100 percent beef hot dog and has now added a second signature item: the Cajun Dog, a spicy Cajun sausage grilled and jazzed up with sauteed green peppers and onions. Looking for more Southern soul food? This is the best comfort food in each state across the country.
Missouri: Woofie’s Hot Dogs, St. Louis
If you’re a true frank fan, you’ll be “woofing” down at this St. Louis spot. Woofie’s is best known for its Big Herm, a monstrous 1/3 pound beef wiener in a warm poppy seed bun served Chicago-style (green relish, mustard, sport peppers, and chopped onions). It’s a no-frills meal but it’ll have you feeling like you’re in the Windy City itself.
Montana: Mo’ Dogs, Missoula
Mo’ dogs, please. That’s what most customers are saying after their first frank at the only restaurant specializing in hot dogs and sausages in the city. You’ll have your pick of the litter, too, when it comes to meats (which are all locally sourced and the highest quality): There’s the old-fashioned frankfurter, the German bratwurst, the Polish kielbasa, and more. Don’t miss the best state fair or festival in every state.
Nebraska: Fauxmaha Hot Dogs, Omaha
As the name suggests, Fauxmaha makes these hot dogs are 100 percent meat-free making them a tasty choice for vegetarians, vegans, and carnivores alike. Made from seitan (wheat gluten), they look like real brats and even have the same crunch from a natural casing. Add barbecue sauce, Sriracha, or even coconut bacon and you’ve got yourself a filling plant-based plate. Considering giving up meat? Follow these simple steps to getting started. And if you’re looking for good veggie burgers, these come highly recommended.
Nevada: Buldogis, Las Vegas
The name Buldogis is a play on the Korean word, bulgogi, which literally means “fire meat.” Not because it’s spicy, but because it’s been cooked over an open flame. Bite into one of these quarter pound beef “buldogis” and you’ll be treated to an explosion of flavors thanks to toppings like homemade kimchi, garlic aioli, green onions, and nori flakes. If you’re craving Asian food but want something lighter, order one of these healthier takeout options.
New Hampshire: Puppy Love Hot Dogs, Concord
Every New Hampshire resident knows to look for the bright red food truck during the summer—that’s where they’ll find equally hot franks from Puppy Love. The steamed, skinless dogs are a nostalgic dish best served on a warm bun with one of eight classic condiments. Whatever you order, you can bet the owner will remember what you got the next time—that’s just one of the perks of a family-owned small town shop.
New Jersey: Callahan’s, Norwood
What sets this fast food favorite apart from other greasy spoons? Callahan’s commitment to high-quality ingredients. Whether you choose the original nine-inch dog or “go big or go home” with the foot-long super dog, the pork and beef blend makes for a juicy, meaty frank unlike any other.
New Mexico: Urban Hotdog Company, Albuquerque
The menu at Urban Hotdog Company is so stacked with delicious dogs, we don’t even know where to start. Two customer favorites are the Fully Loaded (a beef frank wrapped in sliced potato, deep-fried, and garnished with classic baked potato toppings) or the Caprese (a bratwurst boasting tomatoes, basil, and a balsamic glaze). On the side, ask for Dog Bites, pieces of hot dog coated in bread crumbs and fried. Take a look at the strangest food laws in every state.
New York: Crif Dogs, New York City
Being named NYC’s No. 1 Wiener is no small feat. But it’s one that Crif Dogs has earned with its naturally-smoked pork and beef franks. Order yours any way you’d like but, since you’re in the city known for its bagels, you should go with the Jon-Jon Deragon, a hot dog smeared with cream cheese and sprinkled with the toppings on an everything bagel plus scallions.
North Carolina: Sup Dogs, Chapel Hill
Open until 3 a.m. on the weekends, Sup Dogs caters to the late night craving crowd. Sink your teeth into some of the most creative specialty dogs (made with all beef, no filler) like the Western, which features chili, a beer-battered onion ring, Monterey Jack cheese, and BBQ sauce. Or the Hawaiian—yes, it has pineapple. You might want to limit your after-midnight hot dog runs, though—according to this research, it’s not the healthiest idea.
North Dakota: DogMahal DogHaus, Grand Forks
Indulgent macaroni and cheese, Flaming Hot Cheetos, greasy chili—all these delicious comfort foods turn up on wieners at DogMahal. They serve up massive portions so come ready to eat. Bring utensils and plenty of napkins—especially for the Fireballs of Freedom, which is loaded with saucy meatballs. Bonus: DogMahal is attached to a record store so you can listen to some tunes while you chow down.
Ohio: O’Betty’s Red Hot, Athens
There’s something about the satisfying crunch followed by a chewy filling that makes a good hot dog. O’Betty’s knows this, which is why they use quality beef stuffed inside a natural casing served on a toasted bun for extra texture. The crowd favorite? The Dixie Dog, a meaty frank covered in chili sauce, chopped onions, mustard, and sharp cheddar cheese. Try your own red hots—Zweigle’s are a good place to start.
Oklahoma; Mutts Amazing Hot Dogs, Oklahoma City
Just like a mutt, this Oklahoma eatery has a mix of all types of franks, sausages, and even vegetarians wieners. No matter what you want, they’re sure to have it—from a chicken-fried chicken sausage served hot-wing style to the bacon-wrapped Poncho Dog rolled up in a tortilla. The “Special Breeds” menu deserves a second look, too (yes, there’s a bison dog on there!). Here are 31 delicious grilling ideas for home.
Oregon: Donnie Vegas, Portland
What do you get when you combine an oversized stadium-style bun and pure Washington Angus beef? One of Donnie’s famous hot dog sandwiches. Your options for sides are as different as their dog dishes: You can have Fritos, mixed nuts, or gummy bears. All of their eccentric combos are cheap, too—the most you’ll pay is about $4. Find out how to save money while eating out.
Pennsylvania: Destination Dogs, Philadelphia
Destination Dogs truly is a destination for dog lovers. Each wiener on their menu is inspired by a different city or country. For example, the Australian Underdog is a kangaroo sausage with fried onions and vegemite aioli and the Louisiana Andouille Armstrong has shrimp and alligator sausage with a drizzle of jalapeño remoulade, cabbage, and tomatoes. Check out the most iconic diner in every state.
Rhode Island: Olneyville New York System, Cranston
Building the perfect hot dog seems simple—but not to Olneyville’s chefs who follow a special process to deliver the best wieners in the Northeast for over 50 years. They even list the steps on their website—it begins with natural-casing beef franks slipped into a standard roll and ends with their special sauce. Another trick of the trade? Steam buns in the microwave before eating.
South Carolina: Jack’s Cosmic Dogs, Mt Pleasant
“The best hot dog you’ve ever had.” That’s what Jack’s claims—and Food Network’s Alton Brown agrees, saying their signature Cosmic Dog is one of the best things he’s ever eaten, full stop. It’s topped with creamy blue cheese slaw and sweet potato mustard and goes great with one of their old-fashioned milkshakes.
South Dakota: Hungry Dog, Mitchell
Only in the Midwest can you find a hot dog as wild and wacky as the Wrangler Tangler. It’s a massive footlong frank served with crunchy straw onions, a flavorful Creole remoulade, and bacon bits. Everything on the menu at Hungry Dog is not only delicious, but it’s also fresh and made in-house. And the friendly staff and fast service make it even better!
Tennessee: The Donut and Dog, Nashville
Dogs and donuts: An unlikely combo but one that surprisingly works at this unique Nashville breakfast spot. Start with an all beef hot dog encased in bacon and finish with a fresh-baked pastry for the perfect sweet and savory meal. Here are 5 other over-the-top ways to eat donut.
Texas: Angry Dog, Dallas
Everyone knows the best dogs are found at dive bars. That’s why fans of frankfurters should stop at Angry Dog in Dallas where the signature dish consists of a grilled Kosher hot dog drowning in chunky chili, onions, and shredded cheddar cheese. Wash it down with one of their over 100 craft bottled beers.
Utah: Dog Haus, Sandy
Order ahead online and have your savory sausage ready for you as soon as you pull up to Dog Haus. Your wurst (made from meat with no hormones or antibiotics) will be nestled inside three side-by-side Hawaiian rolls—a touch that adds a surprisingly sweet flavor to each bite—and served with a mess of crispy tater tots.
Vermont: Al’s French Frys, Burlington
They might be known for their golden french fries but locals swear by the hot dogs at Al’s, too. The fast-food restaurant is nothing fancy but the juicy wieners they grill up are well worth a visit. Ask for your sausage on a stick, coated in cornmeal batter and deep fried. Dip it in mustard for authentic fair-food flavor. Here are more favorite foods you’ll find at the local state fair this summer.
Virginia: City Dogs, Richmond
Any of the 13 different dogs on the menu here—each inspired by a different city or country—can be substituted for soy dogs, so even vegetarians will leave satisfied. We recommend the City Dogs‘ Richmond Original, a beef frank topped with yellow mustard, chili, and raw onions.
Washington: Diggity Dog, Seattle
Seattlites get their hot dogs daily at this out-of-the-way joint. A juicy frank stuffed in a cream cheese slathered bun and topped with grilled onions, it’s a must-try for any foodies visiting the Pacific Northwest —and Diggity Dog is one of the only places to find an authentic one.
West Virginia: Hillbilly Hot Dogs, Lesage
You have a tough time finding a more extensive franks menu than the one at Hillbilly Hot Dogs—your options of delicious dogs and toppings seem endless! You can’t go wrong with whatever wiener you pick, but their signature is the West Virginia Dog, smothered in chili sauce, coleslaw, mustard, and chopped onions. Kids will love the Ketchup Puppy, a mini dog in a bun with a smear of ketchup.
Wisconsin: Martino’s, Milwaukee
It’s not a true Chicago-style hot dog without a crunchy pickle spear perched on top. Martino’s has known that—and been serving it—for over 30 years where the Vienna franks are smothered in all the accouterments (yellow mustard, relish, chopped white onion, and sliced tomato). They’re so good that they’ve been called “Nirvana in a bun.”
Wyoming: Weenie Wrangler, Cheyenne
This cute little cart, sitting outside the local Home Depot, is the place to be for lunch on a Saturday afternoon. Voted “Best Dogs in Wyoming,” Weenie Wrangler serves up eccentric eats like the elk jalapeno frank and the “meat lovers madness” topped with pulled pork, bacon, and barbecue sauce… all at super low prices. Now, find out the one food you have to try from every state.
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