Best Hot Dog Stands
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Famous Franks: 30 Best Hot Dog Stands Across America

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Best Hot Dog Stands
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Frankly Delicious

Franks, wieners, weenies, or red hots — whatever they're called and however they're topped, hot dogs are a perennial favorite of Americans. They're also a classic staple for those on a budget — even when dining out. Hot dogs are often one of the least-expensive options on the menu. In celebration of tubed meats, 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.

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 locations 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 that even the ends are covered in bread.

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 both 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 owing to its extremely late hours. It stays open until 4 a.m. most days and until 5 a.m. on weekends. Whenever you go, you can leave your credit cards at home as this no-nonsense establishment is cash only.

Nathan's Famous in 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.

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
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American Coney Island and Lafayette Coney Island | Detroit

Coney Island dogs in Michigan are topped with chili, cheese, and onions. American Coney Island and Lafayette Coney Island are two of the best known purveyors of this local classic. They're long-standing rivals sit next to each other in downtown Detroit. Which is best? With prices of just a few bucks apiece, grab one from each shop and conduct your own taste test.

Related: 19 Legendary Restaurant Rivalries That Divide America

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 and 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 (with or without sauerkraut), a chili cheese dog, and a Guadalajara dog. Standard dogs are 6 inches long, but stretch dogs, in 9- or 12-inch lengths, are also available, along with burgers and plenty of sides.

Arbetter Hot Dogs
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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 10 hot dogs (starting at $2.39), several deep-fried beef "Rippers" (starting at $2.99), and chili-cheese fries ($3.99).

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

A little above our $5 target, Biker Jim's serves a $6 all-beef hotdog. But that's just for openers. Its menu of exotic dogs makes it a "must" for our list. Diners can splurge a little more and grab one of the hot dogs that have made the shop famous. For $7.50, try Alaskan reindeer, wild boar, elk jalapeño cheddar, duck cilantro, southwest buffalo, or a rattlesnake and pheasant combo.

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 also 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 is a popular spot that 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, or you can create your own for $4.25 plus the cost of ingredients.

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 popular late-night hotspot (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 ($6.99) – though more health-conscious diners might prefer the jumbo quarter-pound turkey dog ($6.99) with similar toppings, or the veggie dog ($5.99).

Essie's Original Hot Dog Shop, Pittsburgh
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Essie's Original Hot Dog Shop | Pittsburgh

Known as the "O" by locals, Essie's Original Hot Dog Shop sells hot dogs for $4.26, which may seem pricey. But toppings, including mustard, relish, onions, mayonnaise, pickles, chili, sauerkraut, and ketchup, are free. A Hot Dog Parmesan is $4.99. Hungry diners can save by purchasing a second hot dog for 25 percent off every day from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

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 offers six speciality hot dogs, two of which are topped with barbecue: The Cowgirl (Texas-style brisket, BBQ sauce, pickles, onions, and shredded lettuce) and the Carolina Hot Dog (smoked pulled pork and Carolina-style slaw). All dogs cost $6.00. 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 $2.20, with cheese an additional 45 cents. Side orders of fries, potato salad, vegetables, or sauerkraut are $1.70 to $2.20 each.

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 currently run by the founder's son and grandson. Unlike some stands that have just a few items on the menu, Dick's also 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).

Happy Dog, Cleveland
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Happy Dog | Cleveland

Past patrons of Happy Dog's original location on Detroit Avenue (a second location at the historic Euclid Tavern opened in 2014) say it isn't a particularly fancy place — more like a dive bar, actually. But that doesn't keep them from coming back for more. The dogs are $6 to $8 each, stretching past our budget, but Happy Dog deserves mention because the price includes 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.

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. There are locations – one in St. Louis' famous Italian neighborhood The Hill and the other in nearby Tower Grove – and both serve up 12 hot dogs (from $3.75 to $6.99) and several specialty burgers (from $4.99 to $9.99).

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 $3.80. Add 50 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 $2.75 while the menu's most expensive dog ($6) is wrapped in bacon and topped with beef brisket, cheddar cheese, onion rings, and barbecue sauce. Choose from another one of the many menu options, or make your own by choosing from a variety of more than 25 toppings and sauces.

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 $2.60. The grilled dogs are split, and topped with cheese, chili, and onions before being served on a fresh bun.

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 $3.09 while a double dog with fries is $3.89, 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, although they note parking can sometimes be a challenge. 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 both check in at less than $5, 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. As a side note, if you visit at night, you may notice that people seem to disappear from the restaurant. The phone booth inside this hot dog hotspot is actually the door to speakeasy bar PDT.

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 percent 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.