By Mike Urban
Apr 24 2017
New England hot dogs are easily identifiable in split top buns.Photo Credit : Aimee Seavey
Home of the two-footer hot dog, Doogie’s is more than just a novelty shop. The grilled pork-and-beef wieners here, which come from nearby Rosol’s Meats, are genuinely tasty, regardless of their length. In addition to the two-footer with the works (chili, cheese, onions, and roasted peppers — big enough for two people), try the “College” — a 16-incher with chili, bacon, sauerkraut, jalapeños, cheddar, and American cheese on a garlic roll. (860) 666-3647; doogieshotdogs.com
This classic Maine roadside shack has no phone, no lobster roll, and no spare headroom, with its six-foot-high ceiling in the cramped order/dining area. But it has a couple of extraordinary steamed hot dogs that are well worth checking out. The customers’ favorite (and with good reason) is the House Special, which is adorned with Flo’s special relish, mayo (yes, mayo), and celery salt. The “Loaded” dog comes with mustard, green relish, Flo’s relish, chopped onions, and celery salt. Because it’s Maine, you have to order a Moxie, too. floshotdogs.com
SEE MORE: Flo’s Hot Dogs | Local Flavor
In hot dog–crazy Fall River, Nick’s stands head and shoulders above the competition. Purveyors of locally famous Coney Island–style hot dogs, this 1920s-era shop has held fast to its traditions. The recipe for the meat sauce, which is slathered onto the dogs, was created by founder Nick Pappas nearly a century ago and remains a secret. Add a squiggle of mustard and a sprinkling of chopped raw onion, and the Nick’s dog is complete. At least two wieners are recommended for a full meal, along with a side of hand-cut fries and a tall mug of ice-cold coffee milk. Be sure to enjoy your meal while sitting at one of the school desks from the 1800s that line the back wall of the restaurant. (508) 677-3890; nicksconey.com
Super Duper is top when it comes to hot dogs in New England. The meaty franks here are split and grilled, then served in as many as eight different ways. The New Englander (sauerkraut, bacon, mustard, homemade sweet relish, and chopped raw onion) is the dog of choice, served on a soft, home-baked bun. Other weenies on the menu (New Yorker, Chicagoan, Californian, Dixie, Cincinnatian, and Georgia red hot) cover much of the rest of the American hot dog landscape. Be sure to throw in an order of fresh-cut french fries, made from Super Duper’s specially procured potatoes. (203) 334-3647; superduperweenie.com
This barn-like stand has been around in one form or another in the same spot since 1928. The hot dogs are boiled in oil until the casings split, giving the wieners (from Martin Rosol’s Meats in nearby New Britain) a taste and texture somewhere between grilled and steamed. All dogs are served plain on soft buns; customers then apply spicy brown mustard and peppery homemade relish to each pup. Birch beer on tap is the preferred beverage, and there are no fries, just chips. Nota bene: Blackie’s is closed on Fridays, in keeping with the once-cardinal Catholic rule of no meat on that day. (203) 699-1819; blackieshotdogs.com
Olneyville is the premier spot for “New York System” hot wieners in Rhode Island. So named as part of a marketing gimmick in the early 1900s, these dogs are best when ordered “all the way” — mustard, a spicy meat sauce, finely chopped raw onion, and a dash of celery salt. Be sure to order more than one, and wash them down with the Rhode Island beverage of choice: coffee milk — a glass of plain milk with a generous shot of coffee syrup mixed in. Watch the cooks line wieners in buns up their arms while dressing them with condiments en masse. It’s quite a show! (401) 621-9500; olneyvillenewyorksystem.com
With the look and feel of a 1960s coffee shop, Wein-O-Rama has a variety of breakfast and lunch items on the menu. But WOR’s raison d’être is its New York System hot wieners, which they cook by the dozens in plain sight on the upfront griddle throughout the day. Order two or more with “the works” — mustard, spicy meat sauce, onions, and celery salt on steamed buns. A “small” coffee milk here is big enough to bathe in. (401) 943-4990
This super friendly hot dog emporium in the old mill town of Lewiston has the warm look and feel of a diner on the inside, and the finest hot dogs in central Maine. Home of the “red snapper” hot dog, Simones’ wieners are bright red, plump, and steamed to perfection. Try the kraut dog, loaded with homemade sauerkraut and mustard, or the chili cheese dog, smothered in a meaty chili sauce and graced with a generous helping of melted cheese. Wednesdays are $1 hot-dog days, the owners’ way of saying thanks to their many loyal customers. (207) 782-8431; simoneshotdogstand.com
A tiny hot dog empire has sprouted in mid-coast Maine: Wasses Hot Dogs has four retail outlets and counting. The original Wasses, just off Main Street in Rockland, began business under the ownership of Keith Wass in 1972. The Wasses method of cooking is to fry the hot dogs on a griddle in a shimmering pool of hot peanut oil. The unbreaded “fried onions,” cooked in the same manner, are a must-have on each Wasses wiener.Try the hot dog with the works or the “Texan,” which is smothered with bacon, fried onions, ketchup, and baked beans.
This cramped, dimly lit spot in northwestern Massachusetts has been slinging weenies since 1917. Current owner Jeff Levanos is the third generation of the Levanos family to hold dominion over Jack’s. Hot dogs here are best ordered two at a time, along with Jack’s famous hand-cut fries. Try the dog with the works and the chili-cheese dog, which features a slice of white American cheese in lieu of gloopy cheese sauce. (413) 664-9006; jackshotdogstand.com
Located in a small Worcester diner car on the edge of a narrow canal, Tex Barry’s is a southern Massachusetts institution when it comes to hot dogs and hospitality. The diner has been around since 1924, serving Coney Island hot dogs, cooked on a foil-covered griddle and packed into perfectly steamed side-split buns. The tangy hamburger sauce is a must, along with a smear of mustard and a topping of chopped raw onion. The diner’s compact interior engenders conversations between everyone in the place, and the convivial atmosphere adds greatly to the hot dog experience. (508) 222-9787
New England diners are usually good bets for tasty hot dogs, and Gilley’s is no exception. Housed in a 1940s Worcester diner car tucked away on a side-street in downtown Portsmouth, Gilley’s prides itself on its small but alluring hot dog menu. You may choose between plain, chili, kraut, chili-cheese, or “loaded,” with ketchup, mustard, relish, and onions. Gilley’s hot dogs are made from beef, pork, and veal, and they come from Shields Provisions, a nearby family-run business. Good news for the late-night crowd: Gilley’s is open until 2 a.m. (608) 431-6343; gilleyspmlunch.comWhere are your favorite hot dogs in New England?