Ten Best Hot Dog Spots in Broward and Palm Beach Counties

Fort Lauderdale food truck Jersey Dawg is the only place of its kind to serve authentic rippers in South Florida.
Fort Lauderdale food truck Jersey Dawg is the only place of its kind to serve authentic rippers in South Florida.
Courtesy of Jersey Dawg

The hot dog — AKA frankfurter, frank, weenie, wiener, dog, or red hot — is an American summertime staple. The one food that's almost more American than hamburgers and French fries, a hot dog is a slim sausage made of beef and pork (or all beef) that's cooked up and topped off so many different ways, there seems to be a signature dog for every city across the country — and a few other countries besides. 

According to a handy Food Republic info chart, there are indeed plenty of dogs out there: around 40 different ways people around the world chow down, hot dog style. From the Philippines' bright-red dog served bunless with rice, a fried egg, and banana ketchup to Sweden, where they serve their dogs wrapped in a roll of mashed potatoes, shrimp salad, and fried onions, the options are endless. And while those dogs might seem a little extreme, a more Americanized variety can be found right here in South Florida.

July is National Hot Dog Month, and according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, Americans will consume a record number of these infamous tubes of meat before summer comes to an end: about 7 billion between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

So there' s no better time to go out there and try all that doggone goodness Broward and Palm Beach counties have to offer.

Ten Best Hot Dog Spots in Broward and Palm Beach Counties
Courtesy of Los Verdes

10. Los Verdes
4491 N. University Dr., Lauderhill; 954-306-3014; losverdes.com.
If you've heard whispers of a hot dog so enormous — and with such a rainbow of toppings — you might not be able to finish it in one sitting, you're probably thinking of Venezuelan and Colombian-style perros, both of which you can find in abundance in South Florida. Some of the best are served in Palm Beach County at Perrada del Gordo, where the West Palm Beach and Boca Raton restaurants pump out hundreds daily. But Browardites might want to try Los Verdes in Lauderhill, a new-age Latin American joint hidden deep in the city's suburban sprawl in an area best known for its vast array of cultural fare. The hot dogs it serves are Colombian street food at its finest, its "super perros" to Colombians what McDonald's hamburgers are to Americans. There are so many seemingly disparate ingredients slopped on that you can't help but stare as one passes you by, a fat perro nestled under a thick blanket of sweet and sour pineapple, creamy, mayo-based pink sauce, mayo, and a gaggle of optional ingredients, including (but not limited to) sour cream, bacon, onion, mozzarella cheese, garlic sauce, and ketchup. And just when you think this heart-stopper couldn't get more deadly or indulgent, the coup de grâce arrives with a layering of crumbled potato chips, their flaky, salty crispiness adding the sort of textural variation that becomes a necessity after you've had your first one.

A veggie-stuffed hot dog from Frankie Dogs Gourmet
A veggie-stuffed hot dog from Frankie Dogs Gourmet
Courtesy of Frankie Dogs Gourmet

9. Frankie Dogs Gourmet (Food Truck)
Visit frankiedogs.com.
As they say, necessity is the mother of invention. Unhappy with the lack of vegetarian and vegan options available at most food truck round-ups, Frankie Dogs Gourmet owner and founder Chris Torlone decided to start a gourmet veggie dog stand himself. Named after his charismatic canine, the cart set up shop in 2012, a simple tabletop setup that eventually upgraded to a traditional cart. Today, Frankie's is best-known for its healthier hot dog options — as well as all-beef hot dogs for traditional meat lovers — served with a number of delectable homemade sides, including Torlone's divine vegetarian chili made with meat-free "meat" crumbles, black beans, and pinto beans. Our favorite dog is the Frankenstein, with hummus, avocado, sriracha, onions, and secret Frankie sauce smothered over a dog of your choice. Find him regularly outside Laser Wolf, Funky Buddha Brewery in Oakland Park, and during Weenie Wednesday at LauderAle Brewery in Fort Lauderdale.

The Chicago-style hot dog reigns supreme at Hot Dog Heaven in Sunrise.
The Chicago-style hot dog reigns supreme at Hot Dog Heaven in Sunrise.
Courtesy of Hot Dog Heaven

8. Hot Dog Heaven
101 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954-523-7100; hotdogheaven.com.
For over 30 years, this hot dog stand has offered some of the most satiating Chicago-style dogs and sausages in the area. Founded by former Chicagoan Barry Star, Hot Dog Heaven serves a classic Windy City-style dog complete with all the fixings, from the all-beef dog seasoned with a secret blend of spices and hickory smoked for extra flavor to the steamed poppy seed bun with yellow mustard, bright-green relish, freshly chopped onion, juicy red tomato wedges, half-sour pickle spears, a dash of celery salt, and a couple of spicy sport peppers for a little extra zing. This unique hot dog is a work of art, made with a "salad on top" — a memorable interplay of hot and cold, crisp and soft, sharp and smooth. Since 1987, Hot Dog Heaven has been dishing out its all-natural Vienna Beef dogs, poppy seed buns, and specialty toppings shipped straight from Chicago, so you can be sure it has that authentic Chicago taste. 

Jersey-style ripper dogs from Howie's Top Dog in Davie.
Jersey-style ripper dogs from Howie's Top Dog in Davie.
Courtesy of Howie's Top Dog

7. Howie's Top Dog
5021 S. State Rd. 7, Davie; 954-792-8686; howiestopdog.com.
This Chicago-style eatery serves all the classic all-beef hot dogs — seven different types available in singles or double-style, to be exact. There's traditional Chicago fare like the famous Chicago dog and the less well-known Char dog, what is essentially the same as the classic seven-topping version, except that a grilled or "charred" hot dog is used instead of a steamed one. When given a choice, order the char for the added layer of flavor from the grill. If Chi-Town dogs aren't your favorite, you can always opt for the Ripper, a New Jersey-style one (typically made with a Thumann's beef and pork dog, although not here) deep-fried until it literally rips open. Add your own toppings, from neon-green relish and diced white onion to plain old yellow mustard, each a refreshing garnish for these crispy, deep-fried dogs.
The Chili-N-Cheese and jumbo-size corn dogs aren't too bad, either.

The New York pushcart dog from Coney Island Joe's in Hollywood.
The New York pushcart dog from Coney Island Joe's in Hollywood.
Photo by Nicole Danna

6. Coney Island Joe's
6401 Sheridan St., Hollywood; 954-966-8800.
Coney Island Joe's is owned and operated by a man named Elliot Garber who makes some of the best New York-style Coney Island hot dogs on this side of the country. The place is named after the original Coney Island Joe's that opened in Brooklyn in 1952. Today, Garber is quick to point out that his dogs aren't just New York-style hot dogs. They're authentic New York-style hot dogs that "pop" when you take a bite. Garber has been making and serving each and every dog himself since he opened the place 15 years ago, all 300-400 dogs each day, seven days a week. The menu offers a number of versions, from a plain grilled dog with ketchup and mustard to a true New York pushcart water dog topped with yellow mustard, sauerkraut, and chopped onions. Sure, the giant yellow-and-blue tent isn't really a restaurant — more of a giant hot dog stand exposed to the elements and looking a little ragged. But that's a real New York City pushcart in there, and those are real Sabrett hot dogs he's cooking, shipped straight from New York. What this place lacks in ambiance, it makes up for with plenty of New York pride; customers come as far as Riviera Beach and Homestead for a taste of nostalgic New York. When you get there, just say thank you to Garber. He saved you a 1,400-mile trip.

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