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.
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
9. Frankie Dogs Gourmet (Food Truck)
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.
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,
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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
The Chili-N-Cheese and jumbo-size corn dogs aren't too bad, either.
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.
5. Jersey Dawg (Food Truck)
When you're talking hot dogs, nothing quite beats a Jersey ripper. And Rob Goodman's Fort Lauderdale-based Jersey Dawg food truck is known for delivering the real deal to patrons hankering for a taste of this northern New Jersey specialty. For the past two years, he's been serving these deep-fried hot dogs at the corner of Powerline Road and Cypress Creek Road every weekday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., where patrons line up for a taste of the real deal and ingredients delivered straight from the sacred state of New
4. Gourmet Killer Dogs
4057 W. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach; 917-656-3664; facebook.com.
When Kathryn Cohen's eatery opened off West Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach, it immediately became a hit with the locals. The place is exactly what it sounds
720 Park Ave., Lake Park; 561-707-4471; facebook.com.
Just like mangoes, hot dogs are summer food. Putting the two together just seems natural — at least for Diner Dogs owner Anthony Arnold. Throw it all in a gyro-bread wrap, and the meal somehow becomes intergalactic, out-of-this-world delicious. Now based in Lake Park, the former Jupiter-based Diner Dog food cart operates several days a week at the Brewhouse Gallery, where Arnold offers a menu of specialty dogs. Each is made using skinless Sabrett hot dogs wrapped not with regular, poppy seed, or potato buns, but instead with fresh-baked, garlic-buttered pita flatbread. The Mango Monroe dog is one of the most popular according to Arnold, his fresh mango salsa paired with diced onion, feta cheese, and cilantro. Others have funky names like the Teriyaki T-Bird (pineapple, onion, bacon, cilantro, and barbecue and teriyaki sauce); BBQ Bowzer (jalapeños, fried onion strings, cheddar cheese, barbecue sauce, and sour cream); and the Sinatra Slaw Dog (horseradish sauce, caramelized onion, sweet coleslaw, fried onion strings, and barbecue sauce). Bonus: All dogs are served "double dog" style, meaning you get two hot dogs in one pita.
6020 N. Federal Hwy., Boca Rato; 561-988-5959; hotdogopolis.com.
A few years back, three friends — Harvey Loewenstein, Jay Wertheim, and Judy Zimmer — decided to open a place where hot dogs would be the main menu attraction. The frank-loving owners opened HotDog-Opolis in Boca Raton off Federal Highway, a small place that serves some of the most original hot dogs and sausages for a bargain (a second location opened in west Boca Raton in 2015). In a city already full of inexpensive eateries with plenty of diners, delis, and bagel shops, this is one restaurant where you can find some amazing fusion dogs and dishes for an equally amazing deal. Here, you'll get more than a basic, boring hot dog. The daily chalkboard specials cover a range of specialty dogs such as the Korean, with kimchee, red onion, and Asian mustard, or the gyro, a lamb hot dog topped with tzatziki, feta cheese, onion, oregano, and garlic. There's also a well-stocked variety of specialty sausages, from duck and pheasant to wild boar, venison, elk, and buffalo. Of course, we can't say no to the classic Chi-town dog, a Vienna footlong that's been "dragged through the garden."
1. PS561 (Food Truck)
A few years ago, Aaron Merullo decided to roll out with a Palm Beach County-based food truck specializing in his favorite fare: the hot dog. New England transplants, the couple named and designed their truck PS561 in homage to the