Summer means baseball and hot dogs. But you don’t have to hit your local stadium to get a taste of frankfurter excellence.
These hot dog joints – the greatest of all time (or GOATs) in the sausage world, if you will – have been drawing crowds for decades, and in some cases, more than a century.
Whether you call them wieners, rippers, red hots, franks or dogs, these joints don’t mess with success. Original “secret” recipes are still being served at all of them. How’s that for a home run?
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Cheshire, Conn., opened in 1928
Fans beeline to this Cheshire hot dog joint for its unique hot pepper relish – a secret family recipe that has made it to the International Space Station! The peppers are picked locally and then bottled fresh and served as a topper for one of Blackie’s naturally cased pork and beef hot dogs, made exclusively for them by a local butcher. Its iconic red building has been maintained by the current generation, as are a few quirks: Blackie’s does not serve french fries – just potato chips – and is closed on Fridays.
Natick, Mass., opened in 1890
Opened in 1890 and now run by the fourth generation of the same family, this classic 10-stool diner is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The menu is full of diner staples, but diehards come for the natural-cased franks, which are steamed and then served in a bun from Casey’s original 132-year-old copper bun steamer. Have yours “all-around,” which is served with mustard, relish and onions. Add a root beer float and you can’t get any more old-school than that.
Fort Lee, N.J., opened in 1932
The Garden State is known for its rippers – pork and beef hot dogs, deep-fried until they rip open. The late chef and author Anthony Bourdain got his rippers at this bustling spot, popular with locals and adventurous foodies alike, many of whom learned about Hiram’s from an episode of Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown.” The dogs are large and plump, served on a toasted roll and delivered in a cardboard box. Order one well done, topped with cheese or smothered in chili with a side of excellent onion rings and a cold birch beer on tap. Cash only.
Providence and Cranston, R.I., opened in 1946
Rhode Islanders are fierce about their wieners (don’t call them hot dogs or ask for ketchup!). One of the best-known in the state is served at this family-owned spot, named a James Beard American Classic in 2014. Purists order theirs “all the way,” a beef, pork and veal wiener served off the grill in a steamed bun with mustard, onions, celery salt and Olneyville’s signature meat sauce. (You can buy the spice packet and make your own at home.) Wash ‘em down with another Rhode Island mainstay: coffee milk, a blend of coffee syrup and milk.
Mamaroneck, N.Y., opened in 1919
Fans line up in all seasons under the distinctive green pagoda at this nationally recognized 104-year-old hot spot, now run by the fourth generation of the Warrington family. They’re waiting for Walter’s beef, veal and pork dogs, split down the middle and grilled in a secret sauce, then served on a toasted bun. Get it plain or topped with the signature mustard – a blend of mustard seeds, spices and relish. But don’t get just one! Walter’s also sells ready-to-cook hot dogs and mustard on Goldbelly.
More of the Best Hot Dogs To Try
- Heid’s of Liverpool – Heid’s has been serving up Hofmann hot dogs in Central New York since 1917 with an array of toppings including relish, chili, and even mushrooms. Bring home a jar of their proprietary Heid’s mustard.
- Hot Dog Johnny’s – In business since 1948, this iconic roadside stop in Belvidere, N.J., serves up dogs fried in peanut oil that fans pair with a frosty mug of birch beer. Look for the giant hot dog on the roof.
- Baba’s The Original New York System – It’s a toss-up on who has the better Rhode Island wiener, Olneyville or Baba’s, so let’s just say it’s eater’s choice. Opened in 1927, Baba’s is one of the state’s oldest wiener joints.
Who do you think makes the greatest hot dog of all time? Share your favorite hot dog joints in the comments.
Featured image: Hiram’s Roadstand