Although hot dogs (aka frankfurters) likely first came on the scene in some version in 13th century Germany, many still associate them with New York City summers. Just days ahead of Memorial Day, we’re honoring this classic summer food. These days we’ve entered into a golden age of putting tubular meat in buns, and the restaurants below serve some of the city’s best, most creative versions. By Jessica Allen.
This standalone restaurant and food market favorite puts Asian-inspired toppings on its chicken, veggie, and beef dogs. Not only are the owners commenting on the diversity of the city, but they’re also producing some gosh darn good eats. Pictured at right: the Mash — a chicken hot dog smothered in sweet and spicy ketchup, jalapeno mustard, and crushed salt-and-pepper potato chips. Get a side of Korean yam fries with kimchi aioli and a fresh-squeezed limeade, and you’ve got yourself an ideal meal.
The beef-and-pork “Crif dog” comes smoked and deep-fried to order, while the grilled “New Yorker” is all beef. After you’ve decided between the two, you have to think about customizations: the Temptee Dog is smothered in cream cheese, while the Spicy Redneck wraps your dog in bacon, then covers it with cole slaw, chili, and jalapenos. If you’d rather create your very own, you can add such toppings as avocado, ham, baked beans, pineapple, and lettuce. FYI: “Crif” is the sound of one of the original owner’s names (Chris) being said while eating a hot dog.
Los Perros Locos
Los Perros Locos specializes in Colombian hot dogs, i.e., taking “all of the delicious guilty pleasures you loved as a little niño or niña and rolling them all into a toasted bun with an all-beef frank.” El Perro Perdido, for example, takes a dog, smothers it in melted Swiss, strawberry Ancho jam, and smoked ham, then sticks it into a bun made from deep-fried French toast.
Bark Hot Dogs
This Park Slope eatery makes “just good food,” including veggie dogs, beef/pork dogs, chorizo dogs, chicken tenders, chicken wings, burgers, milkshakes, and fries. (There’s a kale salad too, in a nod to one of the latest healthy eating trends.) Bark offers American comfort food run through an artisanal lens, standard fast food fare elevated with seasonal, organic, and local ingredients, street food cleaned up and made better. Perhaps our favorite, the NYC dog (pictured) comes with sweet-and-sour onions and yellow mustard.