Celebrate National Hot Dog Month with These 7 Top Dogs Across the Nation

Food Lists Hot Dogs

Whether you’re a meat and potatoes kinda person or consider yourself a culinary connoisseur, there are few foods more satisfying than a big ol’ juicy hot dog. Part of its appeal is that it has thousands of iterations and every city seems to have its own unique take on the perfect frank. In honor of National Hot Dog day, here are some of America’s best places to bite down on a dog.

1. Biker Jim’s, Denver, Colo.

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This is where you go when you want to indulge both your love for hogs (the 2-wheeled kind) and dogs. The selection of meat is incredible and includes not only beef, but also veal, elk, buffalo, duck, reindeer, pheasant and even rattlesnake. Don’t let the biker vibe fool you, Biker Jim is a pussycat when it comes to talking about his passion for dogs; his website even waxes rhapsodic about the “…sexy scent of grilled sausages and sizzling caramelized onions swirled through the Rocky Mountain air.”

2. Lafayette Coney Island, Detroit, Mich.

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Leave it to no-nonsense Motor City to have one of the best old-school hot dogs in the country. Detroit is renowned for its Coney Island dogs and Lafayette is where locals head when the call for a Coney strikes. This no-frills, cash-only diner remains the city’s most popular hot dog hole-in-the-wall and Lafayette’s Coney ain’t no frou-frou foodie snack, it’s straight up beef swimming in a soupy chili, with raw onions and a hit of mustard on a steamed bun.

3. Gene and Jude’s, River Grove Ill.

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What’s a city without its own unique hot dog style and Chicago’s is one of the most famous. While variants abound, the staple usually involves a Vienna beef wiener, onions, pickle in some form, mustard and a poppy seed bun. Though located outside of Chicago, Gene and Jude’s offers one of the most beloved versions of the Chicago dog, which includes a heaping portion of fries right on top. But no ketchup; it’s a thing. Seriously, don’t ask for ketchup.

4. Happy Dog, Cleveland Ill.

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What is it about the mid-west and fantastic franks? Happy Dog wins the award for most creative concoctions, with toppings like SpaghettiOs, peanut butter and Froot Loops. Whatever you’ve ever dreamed of eating on a dog, they have it here. The atmosphere adds to the fare; Happy Dog has jovial staff, live music and an excellent selection of beers on tap to help you wash down your wiener.

5. Crif Dogs, New York, N.Y.

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The house-made wieners at Crif are the foundation of a beautiful meal. Always fresh and tasty, you could almost convince yourself that these meat sticks are actually good for you. Throw caution (and your diet) to the wind and go for a Spicy Red Neck with a bacon-wrapped frank, jalapenos, chili and coleslaw (it’s got salad so it’s gotta be healthy, right?). The night-owl hours (open until 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. on Friday and Saturdays) make it a favorite with the post-bar crowd.

6. Frank, San Antonio, Texas

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You could say hot dogs are a religion at Frank’s; after all, they serve them in a renovated church. Just the scent of one of their juicy, house-made, artisanal sausages has been known to turn even the most steadfast vegetarian to carnivorous desires. Embrace the South by going for a Creole Gator dog with smoked alligator and crawfish or try the Jackalope, a true one-of-a-kind creation with a rabbit-pork-antelope sausage topped with cranberry compote.

7. Ted’s Hot Dogs, Buffalo, N.Y.

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Is there a meat out there that doesn’t taste better chargrilled? Celebrating 90 years in 2017, Ted’s is a Buffalo institution. Cooked over hardwood charcoal, the inviting smell of charbroiled franks is enough to get everyone within a 2-mile radius to start salivating. Be sure to top your dog with bacon cause, yep, they charbroil that too! Add a loganberry real ice cream shake and a side of hand-battered onion rings and you’re in heaven.

Photo by Stefan Muth, CC BY-SA 2.0

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