Best Hot Dog Stands
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Famous Franks: 29 Best Hot Dog Stands Across America

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Best Hot Dog Stands
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Frankly Delicious

Franks, wieners, weenies, red hots — whatever they're called and however they're topped, hot dogs are a perennial favorite of Americans. Tubed meat is a classic budget staple even when dining out, since a hot dog is often one of the least-expensive options on the menu. In celebration of National Hot Dog Day, on July 22, 2020, Cheapism scoured reviews and rankings by expert food writers and countless hungry customers to find the best hot dog joints that offer a basic dog for $5 or less in most cases.

Note: While many restaurants are closed to dine-in customers due to the pandemic, most offer takeout and/or delivery options. Be sure to call ahead to confirm.

Related: The True Origins of 19 Classic "American" Foods

El Guero Canelo, Tucson, Arizona
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El Guero Canelo | Tucson, Arizona

El Guero Canelo has one location in Phoenix and four in Tucson, serving traditional Mexican cuisine along with a Sonoran-style hot dog ($3.50) — a hot dog wrapped in bacon, grilled, and topped with pinto beans, tomatoes, onions, jalapeño salsa, mustard, and mayo. It's served stuffed inside a bun so even the ends are covered in bread.

Related: 23 Traditional Hispanic Foods Most Americans Don't Know About (but Should)

The Wieners Circle, Chicago
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The Wieners Circle | Chicago

This landmark in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood is as famous for its surly atmosphere as it is for its Char Dog, Char Cheddar Dog, and Char Polish, all under $5. It's been featured on the radio and TV versions of "This American Life," on the Travel Channel's "Extreme Fast Food," and other TV shows. The Wieners Circle's clientele can include many drunken diners — it stays open until 4 a.m. most days and until 5 a.m. on weekend, and whenever you go you can leave your credit cards at home; this no-nonsense establishment is cash only.

Related: 30 Eateries That Are Famous for One Amazing Dish

Nathan's Famous, New York, New York
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Nathan's Famous | Brooklyn, New York

Nathan's is a 102-year-old hot dog shop that's hit it big, with franchise locations across the country. The company's hot dogs and other foods can also be found in grocery stores nationwide. Wait with the crowds at the original in Coney Island to grab a plain hot dog, or a dog covered in cheese for under $5.

See where Nathan's hot dogs rank in our hot dog taste test

Top Dog, Berkeley, California
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Top Dog | Berkeley, California

Top Dog opened in 1966 and has been serving the Bay Area ever since. It offers up a selection of German, Polish, Italian, American, Portuguese, and veggie sausages and hot dogs for $3.75 to $4 each. Grilled and served on a toasted French roll, a Top Dog hot dog isn't fancy, but it is a local favorite.

American Coney Island and Lafayette Coney Island, Detroit
Lafayette Coney Island/Yelp
Blackie's Hot Dog Stand, Cheshire, Connecticut
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Blackie's Hot Dog Stand | Cheshire, Connecticut

Blackie's opened in 1928 and has kept things simple since. The menu has just the basics: hot dogs, hamburgers, a few drinks, and ice cream cones or shakes. Locals love it, especially the homemade hot relish, and cheap meal enthusiasts will find it hard to argue with $2.50 hot dogs and $4 shakes.

Pink's, Los Angeles
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Pink's | Los Angeles

Pink's started as a hot dog cart in West Hollywood nearly 80 years ago. Over time, a storefront replaced the cart; Pink's also makes appearances at county fairs and amusement parks across the country. There are several options to choose from within a $5 budget, including a chili dog, Guadalajara dog (relish, onions, tomatoes, and sour cream), and New York Dog (with onions). Standard dogs are 6 inches long, but stretch dogs, in 9- or 12-inch lengths, are available, along with burgers and plenty of sides.

Related: Hollywood: Then and Now

Arbetter Hot Dogs
Arbetter's Hot Dogs/Yelp

Arbetter's Hot Dogs | Miami

Founded in 1959, Arbetter's has become a Miami institution over the decades, thanks mainly to its popular chili dog. Now, Arbetter's menu includes hot dogs (starting at $2.49) and chili-cheese fries ($4.29). Ask about the deep-fried beef "Rippers" too.

Biker Jim's, Denver
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Biker Jim's | Denver

Biker Jim's breaks our $5 target — it's all-beef hot dog is $6.50 — but its exotic menu makes it a must. Diners can splurge a little and grab one of the hot dogs that have made the shop famous: For $7.50, try wild boar, elk jalapeño cheddar, ostrich, southwest buffalo, or a rattlesnake and pheasant combo.

Related: 27 Restaurants for Wild Game Across America

Olneyville N.Y. System, Providence, Rhode Island
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Olneyville N.Y. System | Providence, Rhode Island

This hot dog shop may have a clunky name, but it won a James Beard Foundation award in 2014 for its classic American food. The Providence location is the original and dates back to the early '50s, but Olneyville N.Y. System has a second location in Cranston. Order the hot wieners, served with onions, mustard, and meat sauce, and pair with coffee-milk, a glass of milk flavored with sweet coffee syrup that's a local favorite.

The Steamie Weenie
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The Steamie Weenie | Henderson, Nevada

Located in a retail complex south of downtown Las Vegas, The Steamie Weenie offers traditional hot dogs alongside some wilder options, such as dogs topped with macaroni and cheese, watermelon barbecue sauce, grilled pineapple relish, or wasabi mayonnaise. Hot dogs range from $5.25 to $6.25, but the standard dog is $4.25, and you can build your own from there.

Cori's DogHouse, Nashville, Tennessee
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Cori's Doghouse | Nashville, Tennessee

Close to Centennial Park and Vanderbilt University, Cori's DogHouse features an expansive menu. More than 30 different signature hot dogs are offered, distinguished by region of inspiration. Opened in 2009, Cori's has quickly become a local favorite, offering beef dogs for $4.59 and sausages for $4.79.

Ben's Chili Bowl, Washington
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Ben's Chili Bowl | Washington, D.C.

A well-known counter restaurant in northwest D.C., Ben's Chili Bowl is a late-night hot spot (made a bit more famous when Barack Obama stopped by in 2009 just days before his presidential inauguration). The go-to item here is the "half-smoke" — a quarter-pound pork and beef smoked sausage topped with mustard, onions, and chili ($7) — though more health-conscious diners might prefer the jumbo quarter-pound turkey dog ($7) with similar toppings, or the veggie dog ($6).

Related: 60 Iconic U.S. Restaurants to Try Before You Die

The Evil Wiener
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Evil Wiener | Austin, Texas

Founded by a restaurant chef who couldn't get the name "evil wiener" out of his head, this popular Austin food truck starts with a basic dog for $5 and offers a few $6 speciality hot dogs such as a Tex-Mex with jalapeño relish; one that's bacon-wrapped; and the Colonel Klink, topped with sauerkraut and spicy mustard. Check out Evil Wiener's calendar to see where the truck is heading next.

Rutt's Hut, Clifton, New Jersey
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Rutt's Hut | Clifton, New Jersey

Rutt's Hut is known for its mustard and as the home of "the Ripper." The dogs' casing is cracked and split open when the shop deep fries the dogs, making it look as though they're ripped. Rippers start at $2.35 (with cheese, $2.80). Side orders such as fries, potato salad, vegetables, or sauerkraut start at $2.20.

Dick's Hot Dog Stand, Wilson, North Carolina
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Dick's Hot Dog Stand | Wilson, North Carolina

Dick's Hot Dog Stand has been in the family since 1921, and is run by the founder's son and grandson. Unlike some stands that have just a few items on the menu, Dick's makes sandwiches, gyros, and omelets. Newcomers, however, may want to start with the classic super dog, a quarter-pound hot dog topped with mustard, onions, and homemade chili ($2.95).

Related: 13 Regional Chili Recipes to Feed to the Family

Happy Dog, Cleveland
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Happy Dog | Cleveland

Happy Dog, at its original location on Detroit Avenue (a second location at the historic Euclid Tavern opened in 2014) isn't particularly fancy — more like a dive bar, actually. But that never mattered to the patrons waiting to pack the place again. Its $6 to $8 dogs stretch past our budget, but include as many toppings as you can stack on top, and there are 50 from which to choose, including oddities such as fried eggs and cereal. Tater tots, also available with toppings, start at $4.75.

Steve's Hot Dogs On The Hill
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Steve's Hot Dogs | St. Louis

Steve Ewing, frontman of the band The Urge, opened this popular hot dog spot in 2011 after deciding he needed a daytime gig to complement his music career. The locations — in St. Louis' famous Italian neighborhood The Hill and in nearby Tower Grove — serve up 14 hot dogs (starting at $6.50) and several specialty burgers.

Rawley's Drive-In
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Rawley's Drive-In | Fairfield, Connecticut

Since 1947, Rawley's has been serving up simple yet delicious hot dogs known for their crispy skin, a result the restaurant attributes to using "the best Natural Casing Hummel Bros. Frankfurters." A plain hot dog starts at $3.50, but it's probably worth spending 50 cents more for "The Works," which includes mustard, relish, sauerkraut, and chunks of bacon.

Tommy's Original World Famous Hamburgers, Los Angeles
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Original Tommy's Hamburgers | Los Angeles

Tommy's may have hamburger in its name, but don't let that fool you. What makes the burgers great is the same thing that makes the dogs great: the chili— and the fact that the place is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Chili dogs start at just $4.05. Add 55 cents for cheese.

Capital Lunch, New Britain, Connecticut
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Capitol Lunch | New Britain, Connecticut

Hot dogs typically aren't expensive, but at $2.29 for a dog with mustard, onions, and "famous sauce," Capitol Lunch may strike some as downright cheap. Cheese, sauerkraut, and extra sauce are 60 cents each. But it's not the prices that make the shop a local landmark. It's the dogs from Martin Rosol (a local meat shop), the homemade meat sauce, the friendly service, and the nostalgia.

Dirty Frank's Hot Dog Palace, Columbus, Ohio
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Dirty Frank's Hot Dog Palace | Columbus, Ohio

Open from lunchtime till past midnight, Dirty Frank's starts with either a basic Vienna all-beef hot dog or a Tofurkey veggie dog on a steamed poppy-seed bun. A basic hot dog is $3.25, but you can get it wrapped in bacon for 75 cents, or make it jumbo, bratwurst, or Polish sausage for $1.25. Then you have more than two dozen toppings and sauces to choose from, or another two dozen-plus recommended variations.

Related: 24 Condiments From Around the World to Add Zing to Any Meal

Dog House Drive-In, Albuquerque, New Mexico
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Dog House Drive-In | Albuquerque, New Mexico

A hot dog shack that fans of "Breaking Bad" may recognize, the Dog House Drive-In keeps things simple and cheap. Foot-long hot dogs with cheese are $3.90, corn dogs are $1.55, and shakes start at $2.80. The grilled dogs are split, and topped with cheese, chili, and onions before being served on a fresh bun.

Related: 30 Classic Drive-In Restaurants Serving Customers During the Pandemic

Gene and Jude's, Chicago
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Gene and Jude's | River Grove, Illinois

In this Windy City suburb, Gene and Jude's makes the bare essentials — hot dogs and fries — and makes them well. A dog with fries costs $3.19 while a double dog with fries is $3.99, and comes with a choice of mustard, relish, onions, and sport peppers. But don't bother looking for ketchup. As is Chicago's tradition when it comes to hot dogs, Gene and Jude's doesn't offer it — and hasn't since opening more than 60 years ago.

Super Duper Weenie, Fairfield, Connecticut
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Super Duper Weenie | Fairfield, Connecticut

Super Duper Weenie has its own costumed superhero mascot and serves seven specialty dogs (starting at $5.25). Each is decked out with a regional taste, such as the Chicagoan, Cincinnatian, or New Yorker. Reviewers delight in the flavors, prices, and service. A basic dog is $3.85.

Crif Dogs, New York City
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Crif Dogs | New York City

Crif Dogs serves all-beef, beef and pork, or veggie dogs topped with an assortment of condiments and sauces — and lays claim to being "New York's No. 1 Weiner." Its eponymous Crif Dog and New Yorker dogs check in at $4.50 and $4, respectively, while other signature concoctions are in the $5.50 to $6.50 range, including the John-John Deragon, a pork and beef hot dog topped with cream cheese, scallions, and everything bagel seeds. Make a note for when it matters again: The phone booth inside this hot dog hotspot is actually the door to speakeasy bar called PDT.

Related: 23 Tasty Places to Eat for Cheap in NYC

Superdawg Drive-In, Chicago
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Superdawg Drive-In | Chicago

Dating back to the late 1940s, the Superdawg Drive-In is known for the welcoming mascots atop its building and its signature dish, the Superdawg, a 100% beef hot dog on a poppy seed bun served with golden mustard, tangy piccalilli, kosher dill pickle, chopped Spanish onions, and a hot pepper. At $6.40, the Superdawg is a bit above our price point, but this local landmark is worth every extra penny with its carhops, neon lights, and enduring menu.

Roake's, Portland, Oregon
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Roake's | Portland, Oregon

Roake's has had several names over the years and two locations in Oregon: one in Milwaukie, which has been a local hotspot since 1937, and a newer location in Portland. The menu offers a variety of dogs, burgers, and deep-fried sides, and most items are under $5, including a foot-long with all the toppings.

The Vanguard, Milwaukee
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The Vanguard | Milwaukee

The Vanguard serves its share of hipster sausages, but it also has a classic pork and beef hot dog that can be dressed to suit your taste. Starting at $5, it's served on a warm roll with a choice of onions, sauerkraut, hot giardiniera, sport pepper, and relish. For an extra buck or two, style your dog based on six different locales: Milwaukee, Seattle, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Tijuana, or Buffalo. Pork brats and vegan chorizo or Italian-style sausages are $5 each before toppings.

Related: Where to Find the Most Extreme Hot Dogs Across the Country