The Best Hot Dog in Every State
If you have opinions about kielbasa vs. frankfurters, you'll want to keep this rundown of the best hot dog restaurants in every state on hand.
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The tastiest hot dogs in the United States
Think for a moment about the huge number of food cultures contained within the United States. Whether spicy, cheesy, crunchy, or covered with sauce, they draw from myriad ethnic cuisines and ingredients, and they’re all delicious. Now think about one of America’s favorite foods, the hot dog. The debate as to whether or not a hot dog is a sandwich goes on, but there is no doubt that the humble frank is endlessly customizable, fitting seamlessly into different food traditions across all 50 states. Sure, you can investigate the different state foods, or the best burger, or wonder what a hot dog is made of, but a survey of the best hot dogs is a survey of American cuisine. From sweet relish to spicy onions, here is the best hot dog restaurant in every state.
Alabama: Gus’s Hot Dogs
Grab some napkins, because things are about to get messy. But Gus’s does it in the best way possible, thanks to the heaping ground beef, onions, sauerkraut, and “special sauce” atop a Special Dog at this long-time Birmingham standby. Note, the recipe for that sauce is a secret.
Alaska: International House of Hot Dogs
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 northernmost state in the United States, swap the regular frank for a super-rich reindeer sausage known as the McKinley Dog. And be sure to drizzle their homemade chipotle sauce over your entire plate—the locals of Anchorage swear by it! Better look up these commonly mispronounced food words before you go, though.
Arizona: El Guero Canelo
The reason the Mexican restaurant El Guero Canelo in Tucson recently earned a James Beard Foundation Award was their Sonoran-style hot dogs, making them the best hot dog restaurant around. Wrapped in bacon then embellished with beans, onion, tomato, mustard, mayo, and a spicy jalapeño sauce, they’re the perfect marriage of American and Southwestern fare. Here’s something else we wish was a perfect marriage: Why are there 10 hot dogs in a pack, but only eight buns?
Arkansas: The Original ScoopDog
At ScoopDog in Little Rock, the menu boasts hot dogs in the styles of six different cities, including Chicago, Detroit, and Atlanta. You may be used to hot dogs and mustard, but at ScoopDog it’s all about the hot dogs and custard (although not at the same time). The custard is made fresh onsite, while the hot dogs are 100 percent beef Red Hot Chicago Dogs. All this dessert talk has us thinking about the difference between sorbet vs. sherbet.
California: Dirt Dog
Yes, these are the most famous dogs in Los Angeles and all of California, but hear us out: Every hot dog served at Dirt Dog is wrapped in bacon. Imagine an all-beef Nathan’s hot dog 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. Paired with a nice cold brew coffee and the warm California sunshine? Perfection.
Colorado: Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs
Following a feature on Food Network’s The Best Thing I Ever Ate, Coloradans have flocked to Biker Jim’s in Denver for a bite of one of their unique wieners. There are 13 different types of sausage, from elk to jackalope (a mythical creature), chicken peach chipotle, and rattlesnake and rabbit, each made with meat free of chemicals and hormones. If you think those options are strange (although everyone swears they’re delicious), check out these bizarre foods people eat around the world.
Connecticut: Blackie’s Hot Dog Stand
Family-owned since 1928, Blackie’s is a Cheshire, Connecticut, mainstay, always on the list of best hot dog restaurants, with the best frankfurters around. Their hot dogs, custom made by local Martin Rosol’s Meats, are so good 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. Do you know if tomato is a fruit or a vegetable?
Delaware: Johnnie’s Dog House and Chicken Shack
Bring a big appetite to Johnnie’s Dog House in Wilmington, because this classic roadside restaurant is the home of the Delaware Destroyer, a hoagie roll packed with two hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, onions, beef chili, and hot sauce. Or try the Texas Tommy, a gut-busting hot dog wrapped in deep-fried bacon and covered in cheese. It’s even tastier than McDonald’s chicken nuggets.
Florida: Voodoo Dog
What you put on a hot dog can make or break your meal—and at Tallahassee’s Voodoo Dog, their garnishes definitely make it. All-beef franks are nestled inside super-soft buns and topped with creative combos like a fried egg and cheddar cheese, or hummus, cucumber, and cumin. Don’t knock it till you try it—there are even more weird food pairings that real chefs secretly love.
Georgia: Jimmie’s Hot Dogs
If you want an absolutely classic hot dog experience, Jimmie’s Hot Dogs in Albany is the place to go. The dogs aren’t fancy, but the prices won’t break the bank, and your chili, chili cheese, chili slaw, or plain dog will be the same as the hot dog your grandfather purchased in the middle of the century. The place is such an institution, Jimmie probably knows who invented ice cream.
Hawaii: Puka Dog
What exactly is a Hawaiian-style hot dog? At Puka Dog on the island of Kauai, 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. It’s Anthony Bourdain approved too. Aloha, our new favorite dish! Seeing as we’re in Hawaii, check out these amazing banana uses.
Idaho: Scotty’s Hot Dogs
This is one dog house you won’t want to miss—but the trick is finding it! Scotty’s Hot Dogs is actually a food truck, so you’ll have to check their Facebook page to determine their location around Boise. According to the locals, the hunt is absolutely worth it. Apparently, it’s all about the secret Scotty’s sauce, a homemade sweet BBQ flavor. By the way, here’s the answer to a common pet question: can dogs eat hot dogs?
Illinois: Jimmy’s Red Hots
Chicago is undoubtedly the sausage capital of America, and if Abe Froman (the Sausage King of Chicago) were here with us today, he would definitely say that no list of the best hot dog restaurants is complete without Jimmy’s. All the hot dogs are served with fries, and never with ketchup. This is the dictionary definition of a Chicago hot dog. Now learn the dictionary definition of a macchiato too.
Indiana: King David Dogs
You’ve heard of a quarter-pounder burger, but what about a quarter-pounder pure beef hot dog? 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 at one of the best hot dog restaurants in the country. Wasabi is another unforgettable mouthful, but what is wasabi, exactly?
Iowa: The Flying Wienie
This local Cedar Rapids joint dates back to 1999, and customers have been raving about its Chicago dog ever since. It makes sense, as the owners are originally from the Chicago area. As well as the aforementioned dog (topped with mustard, dill pickles, onion, tomatoes, relish, sports peppers, and celery salt), the Wienie also offers handmade Italian and Polish sausage, Brats, and chili cheese dogs. Or if you’re really hungry, order the double play—that’s two dogs with your choice of toppings. Ready for takeoff!
Kansas: Wiener Kitchen
The Wiener Kitchen in Overland Park, run by husband-and-wife team Dave Derr and Jessica Rush, is a unique hot dog experience, with each artisan sausage lovingly handmade with the best local ingredients. Open for breakfast and lunch, Wiener Kitchen offers such unusual and tasty delights as the chicken apple (a chicken weiner, strawberry jam, basil mayonnaise, and toasted pecans), the jalapeño cheddar kielbasa (with coleslaw and spicy honey-mustard barbecue sauce), and our favorite new thing, the breakfast hot dog. A bacon sausage, topped with an egg and smothered in country-style gravy? Count us in. Burn it off afterward with a trip to the orchard: Here is the best place to go apple picking in every state.
Kentucky: Lonnie’s Best Taste of Chicago
You don’t have to travel all the way from Louisville to the Windy City for a Chicago-style dog, thanks to Lonnie—who actually used to own a shop in Chicago, so he knows what he’s doing. Using all-beef Vienna kosher hot dogs, he tops each dog with a handmade relish that’s been dyed bright green, plus spicy sport peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, mustard, and chopped onions.
Louisiana: Cochon Butcher
Leave it to 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, their Cajun Pork Dog (“cochon” means pig in French) is prepared using their housemade dog, topped with sauerkraut and black-eyed pea chili, then encased in a chewy pretzel bun. They also have a selection of divine sausages to take away, all made in-house from local meats. Maybe the famed chefs could settle the question of white vs. brown eggs once and for all.
Maine: Wasses Hot Dogs
Step off the beaten path up north in Rockland for 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: a hot dog covered in mustard, relish, and fried onions.
Maryland: G&A Restaurant
When G&A of Baltimore first opened its doors back in 1927, a hot dog was only 15 cents. While prices may have changed (now they’re around four dollars), and the restaurant has moved to a new location on the outskirts of the city, the wieners have remained the same—absolutely mouthwatering. Order a classic Coney Island hot dog with the works (mustard, raw onion, and chili), sit back, and enjoy. Or consider the question of whether eggplant is a fruit or a vegetable, whatever works.
Massachusetts: Fred’s Franks
“I’ll take a shnurble.” The orders you overhear at Fred’s Franks in Wakefield may sound like gibberish, 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 “Srirachababa sauce.” You’ll need two hands to hold this monster! Just be glad it’s not green.
Michigan: Laika Dog at UFO Factory
This adorable Detroit hot dog restaurant is part of the UFO Factory music venue. Even better, you can build your own wonderful wiener. First, choose your dog—organic grass-fed beef or Field Roast vegan. Then, pick your toppings: You could go Mexican, with nacho cheese sauce, jalapeño, avocado, and cilantro, or Vietnamese, with the classic banh mi garnishes of pickled veggies and spicy mayo. The result? A meal that’s, well, out of this world. Food this good needs the perfect liquid accompaniment: Are you a bubble tea convert?
Minnesota: The Wienery
If you’re an avid Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives fan, you may remember The Wienery. It’s been a West Bank institution for more than 30 years, serving delicious Chicago-style dogs to the masses of Minneapolis at very reasonable prices. They even serve a Minneapolis dog—a Chicago dog (relish, onion, tomato, sport pep, pickle, and celery salt) covered in slaw, with extra celery salt. No doubt the extra salt is for the snow.
Mississippi: Small Time Hot Dogs
Their name may be Small Time, but to their fans in Winona, these dogs are big-time delicious. With regional classics like the Raging Cajun dog (Cajun crawfish sauce on an all-beer Polish sausage) and the Southern Dog (coleslaw, BBQ sauce, and hickory-smoked pulled pork), this food truck is topping lists of the best hot dog restaurants all over the place. Now, do you know who invented the hamburger?
Missouri: Woofie’s Hot Dogs
If you’re a true frank fan, you’ll love “woofing” down at this St. Louis spot. Woofie’s is best known for its Big Herm, a monstrous third-of-a-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: Mr. Hot Dogs
Mr. Hot Dogs is actually Mr. Hot Dog: it’s a one-man show here in Butte, but the menu is deceptively huge, and the dogs are even huger. Every dog is 100 percent Montana beef, and organic ingredients are used whenever possible. Try the Nachos Average Dog, with salsa, nachos, cheese, three sport peppers, and corn chips. If you’re lucky, Mr. Hot Dog himself will even spin you a yarn while he prepares your dog. Now that’s service. Maybe he’ll tell you the story of who invented pizza.
As befits the best hot dog restaurant in Nebraska, FlyDogz serves unapologetically gourmet hot dogs in Lincoln. As well as the traditional offerings (think Chicago-style and chili-cheese dogs), they also offer a range of strange options for the adventurous palate. The Pop Fly comes with grape and strawberry jelly, crunchy peanut butter, bacon, and diced jalapeños, while the Snider Cookout is a full meal featuring mac and cheese, baked beans, potato salad, and Doritos.
Nevada: Buldogis Gourmet Hot Dogs
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 a quarter-pound beef “buldogi” at this Vegas joint and you’ll be treated to an explosion of flavors, thanks to toppings like homemade kimchi, garlic aioli, green onions, and nori flakes. Relax and soothe your tastebuds afterward with a nice cup of chai tea.
New Hampshire: Puppy Love Hot Dogs
Every Concord resident knows to look for the bright-red food truck during the summer—because that’s where they’ll find 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
What sets this fast-food favorite apart from other greasy spoons? As the best hot dog restaurant in New Jersey, Callahan’s is committed to high-quality ingredients. Whether you choose the original nine-inch dog or “go big or go home” with the foot-long super dog, at this Norwood hot dog spot the pork-and-beef blend makes for a juicy, meaty frank unlike any other. If you’re wondering what exactly processed meat is, maybe read up after your meal.
New Mexico: Urban Hotdog Company
The menu at Urban Hotdog in Albuquerque 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) and the Caprese (a bratwurst boasting tomatoes, basil, and a balsamic glaze). On the side, ask for Dog Bites, pieces of hot dog coated in panko bread crumbs and fried.
New York: Crif Dogs
Being named NYC’s No. 1 wiener is no small feat, with such a lot of competition for the best hot dog restaurant in the city. 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 bagels, you might want to go with the Everything Dog, a hot dog smeared with cream cheese, scallions, and everything-bagel seasonings. Food curious? These are the strangest food laws in every state.
North Carolina: Sup Dogs
Open till 3 a.m. on weekends, Sup Dogs in Chapel Hill 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, featuring chili, a beer-battered onion ring, Monterey Jack cheese, and BBQ sauce. Or the Hawaiian—yes, it has pineapple.
North Dakota: DogMahal DogHaus
Indulgent macaroni and cheese, Flaming Hot Cheetos, greasy chili—all these delicious comfort foods turn up on wieners at DogMahal, which is what makes it the best hot dog restaurant in North Dakota. Located in Grand Forks, they serve up massive portions, so come ready to eat, and grab 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. Now, we bet you don’t know these mind-blowing McDonald’s facts.
Ohio: O’Betty’s Red Hot
There’s something about a satisfying crunch followed by a chewy filling that makes a good hot dog. O’Betty’s in Athens 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. The decor in the restaurant is also well worth seeing—trust us.
Oklahoma: Diamond Dawgs
Conveniently situated near the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Diamond Dawgs has been feeding hungry sports fans for quite some time. Try the All-American, a Polish sausage smothered in mac and cheese. Even if you’re out of college, a Diamond Dawg will take you back to those halcyon days. Ahh, youth and hot dogs, when you could spend hours debating questions like Coke Zero vs. Diet Coke.
Oregon: Donnie Vegas
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, along with options for sides that are as unique as their dogs: Fritos, mixed nuts, and gummy bears. All the eccentric combos at this Portland spot are budget-happy too—you’ll rarely hit the $10 mark.
Pennsylvania: Destination Dogs
Destination Dogs truly is a destination for dog lovers, aka the best hot dog restaurant in Philly. Each wiener on their menu is inspired by a different city or country. For example, the Charles Dog Gaulle features a duck sausage, duck confit, shaved foie gras, cornichons, red onions, Dijon mustard, and scallions, while the Louisiana Andouille Armstrong has shrimp and alligator sausage with a drizzle of jalapeño remoulade, cabbage, and tomatoes. Still hungry? Check out the best diner in every state.
Rhode Island: Olneyville N.Y. System
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 more than 50 years. The Cranston hot dog restaurant 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 serving.
South Carolina: Jack’s Cosmic Dogs
“The best hot dog you’ve ever had.” That’s what Jack’s in Mt. Pleasant 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. Sounds like the best hot dog restaurant in South Carolina to us! It’s topped with creamy blue cheese slaw and sweet potato mustard and goes great with one of their old-fashioned milkshakes. Now check out these simple tricks to save money in restaurants.
South Dakota: Hungry Dog
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 in Mitchell 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: I Dream of Weenie
It’s a pun, yes, but it’s a delicious one. This sweet roadside dog shack slings wieners out of a yellow VW bus, delighting Nashvillians with delicious dogs like the Rebel Yelp (mustard, Tennessee hot chow-chow, jalapeños, and chopped red onions) and Flamin’ Frank (mustard, chili, cheese, hot salsa, jalapeños, and chopped red onions). Delicious. Do you know the origins of these favorite foods?
Texas: Angry Dog
Everyone knows the best dogs are found at dive bars. That’s why fans of frankfurters looking for the best hot dog restaurant 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 more than 100 craft bottled beers.
Utah: Dog Haus
Order ahead online and have your savory sausage ready for you as soon as you pull up to Dog Haus in Sandy. 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. If you like those sweet flavors, you’ve probably wondered what white chocolate is.
Vermont: Al’s French Frys
Al’s might be known for their golden french fries, but Burlington locals swear by their hot dogs too. This fast-food restaurant is nothing fancy, but as the best hot dog spot in Vermont, they grill up juicy wieners that 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.
Virginia: City Dogs
Any of the 13 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 their Richmond Original, a beef frank topped with yellow mustard, chili, and raw onions. There’s nothing like a dog from one of the best hot dog restaurants for that perfect umami flavor.
Washington: Matt’s Famous Chili Dogs
Seattleites get their hot dogs daily at this out-of-the-way joint, where you can try the Seattle Dog, with grilled onions and cream cheese. Many regular customers trace their first Matt’s hot dog back to the 1990s, and the restaurant still has that grunge aesthetic that made Seattle the hippest place to be back then. Times haven’t changed that much—Seattle is still one of the coolest cities in the country, and the prices at Matt’s are still super reasonable.
West Virginia: Hillbilly Hot Dogs
You’ll have a tough time finding a more extensive franks menu than the one at Hillbilly Hot Dogs in Lesage, where the options of delicious dogs and toppings seem endless! You can’t go wrong with whichever 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. And they’ll love these surprising food facts too.
It’s not a true Chicago-style hot dog without a crunchy pickle spear perched on top. Martino’s in Milwaukee has known that—and been serving it—for more than 30 years. Their Vienna franks are smothered in all the accoutrements (yellow mustard, relish, chopped white onion, and sliced tomato), and they’re so good they’ve been called “Nirvana in a bun.”
Wyoming: Weenie Wrangler Hot Dog Stand
This cute little cart, sitting outside the local Home Depot in Cheyenne, is the best hot dog restaurant for lunch on a Saturday afternoon. Voted “Best Dogs in Wyoming,” Weenie Wrangler serves up eccentric eats like the elk jalapeño frank and the “meat lover’s 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.