Hot dogs are synonymous with the ballpark, hot Summer days, and grilling season. Did you know Los Angeles actually has more hot dogs sold per capita than NYC? Crazy, I know, but hot dogs are also having a moment in the Twin Cities food scene. There is nothing like the snap of an excellent Polish sausage piled high with dijon mustard and pickled jalapeños. Sprinkle on crushed salt and vinegar potato chips and crack a cold one. That’s a perfect hot dog day. Whether you are grilling at the cabin or on the couch at home and get that hot dog craving, here are some spots to check out for the best Twin Cities hot dogs.
Hamburgesa El Gordo – Minneapolis, West St Paul, East St Paul, Selby/Dale St Paul
This hamburger joint has also gone to the dogs with their hot dogs wrapped in bacon and topped with delicious fillings like the Elote Dogo. This hot dog is their take on an ear or roasted elote corn, but it’s a hot dog wrapped in jalapeños and covered in mayo with corn, Mexican cheese, sour cream, and cilantro. It’s a mouthful of deliciousness. Another of their dogs worth checking out is the Dogo Norteno, a hot dog wrapped in bacon and topped with avocado, grilled onions, peppers, cilantro, tomatoes, mustard, ketchup, and mayo. At $3.99 a dog, it is easy to have two here.
Butcher’s Tale – Minneapolis
The all-beef foot-long at Butcher’s Tale is my idea of hog heaven. The former butcher from Butcher and the Boar, Peter Botcher, is back with his award-winning dogs and sausages. You can pull up a stool in the beer garden and get a foot-long beef frank with pickled hot chow chow, mustard, mayo, shoestring potatoes, and pickled jalapeño with fries for $13. Don’t miss the pork and smoked cheddar wurst, either.
The Depot – Minneapolis
First Avenue is known for live music, but their Depot Restaurant and bar next door are known for their Diamond Dog. The Diamond Dog is a quarter pounder all-beef hot dog wrapped in pepper bacon, deep-fried and served in a pretzel bun with house-cut fries for $12. This dog is crispy and ideally at home in that yeasty pretzel bun. It’s a knockout next time you go to a show.
Uncle Franky’s – North East Minneapolis
Uncle Franky’s in Northeast is the king of the dogs. The Coney Island Dog that is — no beans fill this meaty dogs bun, just meat, and meat with mustard and chopped raw onions on a pillowy poppy seed bun. Are you a vegetarian but love the poppy seed bun and all the traditional hot dog toppings? Then get yourself the “Carrot Dog” at Uncle Franky’s. Any dog on the menu can be subbed with a cooked carrot. Sounds weird, but it works.
Eli’s – Downtown Minneapolis
Eli’s is one of my favorite neighborhood bars, and they have a great Chicago style Vienna beef hot dog (you get two dogs per order $12). If you are a fancy foodie, check out the Truffle Dog with Provolone cheese, mushroom-leek confit, and truffle salt. I like the low-brow sloppy joe dog with American cheese piled high on your all-beef hot dog, and you get two – make sure to ask for extra napkins in advance.
Chicago Taste Authority – Hiawatha Avenue South Minneapolis
If a Chicago dog with a beef hot dog, mustard, relish, onions, tomatoes, sport pepper, and seasoned celery salt in a poppy seed bun is your jam, get to Chris and Rob’s Chicago Taste Authority in South Minneapolis. What’s a sport pepper? I am glad you asked. It’s a tiny 1.5-inch long green pepper that gets pickled in vinegar, and so they are essentially pickled peppers. At Chris and Rob’s they will double-dog dare you by piling two dogs in a bun Chicago style for a buck more. These guys know Chicago dogs and order more all-beef hot dogs (1500 a week) than anyone else in Minnesota. Chris and Rob do it right on Hiawatha Avenue.