The 16 Best Hot Dogs In Atlanta

Your guide to perfectly grilled classics, generously topped franks, and other great hot dogs you should know.
chili hot dog with pickle and coleslaw

photo credit: Sarah Newman

We don’t have a distinctly Atlanta hot dog yet (let’s be real, it would definitely come topped with lemon pepper wings). But we still have some pretty tasty offerings where we’d feel comfortable taking our judgey Chicago friends or those NYCers who hate everything outside of their borough. So next time you’re tempted to fill your hot dog void with a mediocre option from The Varsity or even (insert gasp here) IKEA, use this guide instead.

The Spots

photo credit: Sarah Newman


Downtown Atlanta

$$$$Perfect For:Serious Take-Out OperationLunchDining Solo
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Reuben’s Deli is primarily known for their sandwiches, which earn a spot on our best sandwich guide. But their lesser known talent is in the hot dog department, and that’s another big reason to make your way here. These Downtown Atlanta dogs fill an entire takeout container by themselves, so bring a friend and some napkins to tackle these giants. There are only three options, but we usually go with the Atlanta Dog. Melted cheese and an avalanche of tangy slaw and hearty chili sits on top of a beef wiener. And the bun is bathed in butter and toasted—it somehow never gets soggy despite the mound of juicy toppings.

photo credit: Amy Sinclair

$$$$Perfect For:LunchLate Night Eats

Pepper’s tagline is “wiener slingers,” and that’s a pretty good summation of this pop-up, which serves some of the city's most creative, tasty hot dogs. Their Damn Dog is one of our favorites in the city, and the reason we now sneak a container of truffle aioli into ballparks. In addition to their delicious aioli, the dog (with your choice of beef, vegetarian, or chicken sausage) is covered with melted mozzarella cheese, caramelized onion, and jalapeños for a nice kick, with a potato bun to hold it all together. All the ingredients combine to form an ooey-gooey mish-mash of flavors that make a regular hot dog feel like it should have its own trust fund.

Manuel’s Tavern has been a haven for the who's-who of Atlanta politicians as well as a reliable neighborhood joint in Poncey-Highland for decades. It’s the kind of place that encourages people from all walks of life to sit down with a beer and stay awhile, which is perfect because after consuming the Dogzilla you’ll want to stay seated for a few hours. This half-pound hot dog means business (like demolishing your hunger pangs the way Godzilla attacked Tokyo). Have a fork and knife ready since it takes up half a plate with enough melty cheese to turn your table into a crime scene if you're not careful. And we recommend adding chili, slaw, and kraut for the full effect. But if you can manage to eat it with your hands, we salute you.

After hours on Fridays and Saturdays, Banshee in EAV transforms into a late-night hang out spot with a DJ, dancing, and the Screamin’ Weenies food truck on the back patio. We’ll stalk their IG to scout out what the Banshee Dog of the week will be. But there’s always five delicious and creative options to sink our teeth into like their Nam Khao Tod dog and one topped with kumquats. And don't overlook more traditional choices like the Chicago Dog with that classic neon green relish that might glow in the dark depending on what number drink you’re on.

Red’s Beer Garden in Benteen Park has hundreds of beers to choose from in their self-serve refrigerators. Plus, there’s a spacious and laid-back courtyard with picnic tables and string lights that make us feel like it’s summer year-round. And because backyard hot dogs always make us think of those sweltering dog days, we're particularly drawn to their spicy jalapeño and hot-sauce drenched Franks on Franks (extra points for being punny), which will make you sweat a little. Our other pick is the Red’s Favorite, which is topped with a pimento cheese, bacon, and fig jam combo that makes our Southern hearts and taste buds sing. With seemingly endless beer options, weekly activities, and the ability to sub their all-beef frank for a Beyond sausage, the garden is a win-win for all our social scenarios.

For more than 40 years, these Chicago transplants have been slinging their Vienna beef hot dogs and a handful of sandwiches from their location in Avondale Estates. The interior of the casual counter-service restaurant is laden with memorabilia from every Chicago sports team, so we really feel like we’re getting a Chi-Town experience every time we go. Before you get too bewitched with that Jordan poster (though we get it, that’s one beautiful wingspan), make sure to place your order for the Chicago dog with the usual fixings (big slices of tomatoes, huge peppers, you know the drill) and wash it down with a chocolate milkshake. All we need is a Ditka lookalike and recreation of The Bean outside, and our trip to Chi-lanta would be complete.

We already know what you’re thinking. How can we recommend any other food item at The Local besides their famous wings? But this beloved dive bar in O4W proves they aren’t a one-trick pony with their surprisingly awesome hot dog selections (and yes, they offer both all-beef and veggie dogs). After a few rounds of beer and darts, dive into our favorite—the Dirty Dog topped with sriracha aioli, tangy slaw, and a spicy jerk seasoning. To-go orders aren’t a thing at the Local, so we recommend going on a Monday for karaoke night, so you can enjoy it while basking in a drunken and emotional rendition of “You Oughta Know.” And by now, you really oughta know to order the wings, too.

This casual counter-service spot in Summerhill offers nine hot dog builds, each served on brioche buns baked fresh daily from Alon’s Bakery. Sure, upgrade your all-beef frank to a jalapeño cheddarwurst or chicken sausage, but just skip the Pete’s Special Dog build, which ironically contains nothing special unless you count the sour, smoky original meat sauce (even thinking about it now makes us slightly queasy). The standout is the Green Thumb with arugula, avocado, and a pickled pepper relish that tastes so incredibly fresh you'll do a double take to make sure you aren’t eating a salad instead. Sitting beneath their covered patio, with a hot dog in one hand and a milkshake in the other, makes us feel nostalgic for a small town life that we’ve never actually had.

Woody’s has been a staple in Midtown since 1975. The tiny white building sits catty-corner from Piedmont Park and serves up some of the best Philly steak subs in Atlanta. We know it’s hard to justify going to Woody’s and not getting a cheesesteak, but you’d miss out if you didn’t order their surprisingly giant hot dog, too. Of the four options (all are tasty), we like the Phat Dog, a traditional grilled sausage with ketchup, mustard, relish, and onion. And since they're open super late on weekends, this meaty handheld is a bit of a savior when you need a quick, filling meal on the move.

The usual Buckhead glitz is glaringly absent from The Elbow Room’s bright red booths and tacky copper tiling on the walls. But the kitchen is open until 3am, the food is stellar, and the quirks are endearing, so we kind of love it here. Their general pub and pizzeria menu is extensive, but the surprise hit is the all-beef foot-long hot dog. Cover in any of the near-20 topping options—we're fans of the fried egg and fried onion straws. Hell, you're already eating a foot-long dog anyway, so why bother with the Emily Post modesty now?

You probably know Little’s as one of the best places to grab a burger and some toothpaste at the same time. But next time you hit this convenience store in Cabbagetown, try one of Little’s dogs in a potato roll (the superior dog-holding vehicle). The all-beef or veggie dogs come topped with a variety of the usual condiments, but we like their sweet slaw or spicy chili best. True to the establishment’s name, these franks aren’t massive, so we usually order two or grab a burger on the side.

A mainstay on Ponce since 1996, this dive bar right next to the Plaza Theatre has become an institution for cheap beers and good food. Dinky chandeliers hanging above the high top tables are more about funny aesthetics than practical lighting since the dimness helps to hide the very lived-in feeling of the bar. People are usually spilling outside of the tiny interior to the sidewalk. And with a space so small, serving food seems like it would be too chaotic. But thank heavens you don’t need a lot of arm space to eat The Righteous Room’s hot dog, which we usually order slathered with cheese, onions, and chili. The bun comes lightly buttered and toasted, and the chili has powerful meaty flavors that take things to the next level.

The name Patty and Frank’s tells you everything you need to know about this counter-service food stall in Chattahoochee Food Works—all they serve are burgers and Piedmontese beef hot dogs. Each of the four wiener options are winners—even The Classic, which sounds like a regular ketchup ‘n mustard dog from your childhood, but it’s a tad fancier with a tangy citrus-cabbage slaw and mint garnish. Whichever dog you go with, wash it down with their made-from-scratch mint basil lemonade that will give you a taste of summer no matter what season Atlanta is reppin’ that day.

The main draw of Beat The Bomb (an escape room on steroids) is not the food. But there isn’t another place in the A where we can devour a dog while watching unlucky people get blasted with giant paint cannons. And the dogs here are credible, particularly the Seoul with spicy kimchi or the Texas Dawg that comes topped with Fritos, queso, and jalapeños. Plus, our vegetarian friends can make it a Beyond Meat sausage for no extra charge. After you beat your hunger, throw on a hazmat suit and take on the paint bomb.

When you’re downtown, hit The Original Hot Dog Factory for their unmatched selection of more than 25 varieties—plus a build-your-own option. When we want to pretend we’re on an episode of Hot Ones, we snag the Fire Dog with jalapeños, sport peppers, and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos all doused with hot sauce. But the classics are solid, too. There are mostly GSU students inside at the bar or outside on the turfed patio, but we don’t mind a little Panther pride nor that the dogs are slightly overcooked since they are covered with enough toppings to make you forget the inconvenience. 

A takeout spot in a shopping strip across from Greenbriar Mall, Stuffy Dawg works as a decent option for folks who’ve been running around all day and forgot to grab dinner. While you may pause at some of the hot dogs’ playful toppings (shrimp alfredo, buffalo barbecue), you'll applaud the fresh ingredients and the kitchen’s grilling techniques. Elaborate burgers are done with similarly fun fixings, but oddly, you don’t quite taste the same chargrilled love as the dogs.

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