Where To Eat Hot Dogs In NYC guide image

NYCGuide

Where To Eat Hot Dogs In NYC

Classic franks, Chicago dogs, late-night bacon-wrapped wieners, and more.

Are hot dogs having a moment right now? Sort of. But then hot dogs are always having a moment. Plentiful, relatively cheap, and easy to eat as you jaywalk or wait for a bus, they’re an essential part of New York City cuisine. There are a bunch of classic spots around the city where you can get a frank in a bun (and you’ll see a few on this guide), but there are also some newer places pushing the tube-shaped-meat art form forward. Go eat a hot dog topped with pickled carrots. Or try a dry-aged dog that costs $29 and is good enough to make you think “Wow, that’s worth $29.”

THE SPOTS

Dog Day Afternoon

Chicago Dogs are officially part of New York City’s hot dog ecosystem, and the ones at Dog Day Afternoon in Windsor Terrace are some of the best. This kitschy little shop keeps a Vienna Beef diagram next to the register, so you can cross-check your dog and make sure it matches up. The poppyseed bun is especially soft and flavorful, and the combination of a Chicago dog with an orange whip on the sidewalk outside the restaurant is one of our favorite meals on a warm day. 

If it’s 1am and you’re wandering around Bushwick looking for something to put in your stomach, pop into Santa Salsa. This place looks like a dive bar and serves a menu of elaborate Venezuelan street food like platters of meat-topped fries, and burgers with things like ham, egg, and avocado. Much of the food comes topped with potato chips, including pretty much all of the signature hot dogs. Try the perro con todo, a beef frankfurter on a soft, squishy bun, topped with cabbage, onions, cheese, and a considerable amount of mayo-heavy sauce.

There are multiple pastrami counters at Katz’s, and they always have long lines. But if you look in the corner opposite the entrance, you’ll see a grill station where you can just walk up and grab a hot dog. The frankfurters here are all-beef and kosher, with natural casing that makes them nice and snappy, and you can get one for about $5. That’s a fifth of the price of a Katz’s pastrami sandwich, so if you recently gave all money to your landlord, consider going this route. Sauerkraut is optional, but highly recommended.

A longstanding German butcher and grocery store on the Upper East Side, Schaller & Weber sells some of the best sausages in town. It’s a great place to grab supplies for your next BBQ, and they have a takeout window next door called Schaller’s Stube where you can pick up a currywurst or buffalo chicken brat. The sausages are firm, juicy, and impeccably seasoned, and all of them come on chewy pretzel buns. In terms of hot dogs, you have a few options—like a BBQ version and a twist on reuben—but we’re partial to the mildly spicy red hot frank with cajun slaw and a touch of hot honey.

The Chicago dogs at Bobbi’s Italian Beef are solid, but the real reason to come to this Cobble Hill spot is the chili cheese dog. Like the Chicago dog, it’s made with Vienna Beef, and it’s messy and well-spiced with cumin. If you want something a little more spicy, the jalapeño cheddar-stuffed dog is a good choice. There are big, roomy booths, and they’re usually playing a good nostalgia movie on the TV. Get a few different dogs and an Italian beef sandwich for a weeknight hang with friends. 

Crif Dogs is a late-night classic. The hot dogs here all seem like they were designed by a 12-year-old who wants to become Guy Fieri one day, but they make perfect sense when you show up after a night out at some East Village bars. Want a hot dog with cream cheese and everything bagel seasoning? How about one with a fried egg and american cheese? There are no wrong answers here, although the headliner is the bacon-wrapped dog with chili, coleslaw, and pickled jalapenos. It’s a messy dog for messy nights.

Eddie Salguero has been making hot dogs for a few decades now. These days, you’ll find him at the corner of 9th and 33rd standing behind a cart decorated with signs advertising specials like the zing dog with chili, onions, sauerkraut, and mustard. Eddie will probably try to pitch you the zing dog, and you should listen to him. The chili is thick and meaty, the onions are slightly sweet, and the dog is a classic Sabrett. All of the hot dogs at Eddie’s cost less than $5, so pick up a few on your next lunch break.

The hot dog at this Midtown restaurant is $29, and yet we still recommend it. It’s made in-house with dry-aged beef, and comes with a cup of brisket chili that we'd happily eat a bowlful of, as well as an artist’s palette of condiments like pimento cheese and kimchi relish. This is more of a knife and fork job than a hot dog you pick up and eat with your hands, but that’s okay, since it allows you to get your condiment-to-hot-dog ratio exactly right for each bite. 

Papaya King is closed at the moment. For the next best thing, head to Gray’s Papaya. Truthfully, the Sabrett dogs here taste like they do at most other places, but the food is only part of the appeal. The main reason you come to Gray’s is to bathe in 1970s nostalgia while you lean against a counter and eat a sub-$10 meal that consists of a few tubes of pork on soft buns overflowing with sauerkraut. It’s not officially summer until you get some foil-wrapped food at this UWS institution.

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photo credit: Emily Schindler

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