Where to Find the Best Hot Dogs in New York City

Nathans hot dog
Nathan's hot dog | © m01229 / Flickr
Julia Goicochea

In New York City, even in the heart of winter, you can still enjoy a taste of summer. Here, hot dogs aren’t relegated to backyard barbecues alone but are as ubiquitous as celebrities and subway “train traffic.” From classic no-frills franks to curious concoctions (think curry ketchup and everything bagel spices), here are the best places for hot dogs in New York.

Loved by over 40s

Crif Dogs

Restaurant, American

Since this St. Marks staple opened a second outpost in Williamsburg, stoner-approved snacks are more accessible than ever. Known for its adventurous items, Crif Dogs tops its handmade dogs with everything from sour cream to everything bagel spices. Feeling—ahem—inspired, yourself? Crif also allows eaters to customize their own creations, ensuring crushed cravings, every time.

Nathan’s Famous

Restaurant, American

Nathan’s Famous has its own hotdog eating contest
© Lazyllama / Alamy Stock Photo

Enjoy a taste of Old New York at Nathan’s Famous, a historical hot dog joint satisfying locals for over a century. An oldie but goodie, this Coney Island icon keeps it classic, serving world-famous beef dogs topped with your choice of chili, cheese, or all the fixings.

Papaya King

Restaurant, American

Even the staunchest New Yorker will happily break their “no chains” rule when it comes to Papaya King. With its down-to-earth dog and tropical drink combos, along with its selection of sides featuring knishes and pickles, this local chain has defined New York City cuisine since opening in 1932. Endorsements by the likes of Julia Child and Martha Stewart solidify Papaya King’s role as New York royalty.

Reservoir Dogs

Cafe, American

Run, don’t walk, to this Crown Heights hole in the wall, where the humble hot dog is transformed into gourmet grub. Taking a modern approach to old-school snacking, Reservoir Dogs tops items such as vegetarian franks and duck-fennel sausages with ingredient-focused fixings, including applesauce and whipped cream cheese. Tip: thanks to the spot’s “Morning Wood,” which combines bacon and a savory breakfast sausage link, you can now eat hot dogs for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Gray’s Papaya

Restaurant, American

Grays Papaya
© TheeErin / Flickr

Tourists have the lights of Broadway; locals have the neon glow of the 24-hour Gray’s Papaya. The signature thin, juicy dogs at this classic stand, opened in the early 1970s, are considered among the best in the city. Order the Recession Special, on “special” offer since the 1970s, to feel like a million bucks. They have various locations.

Katz’s Delicatessen

Deli, Restaurant, Sandwich Shop, American

So, you’ve plowed through the pastrami and conquered the knish—now what? The tastiest treat on Katz’s Delicatessen’s menu is one you may have overlooked. Katz’s naturally encased all-beef frankfurter comes bursting with juices, charred to a crisp and smothered in sauerkraut and mustard. Yes, it’s messy to eat, and yes, it’s one of the best in the city.

Schaller’s Stube Sausage Bar

Restaurant, American

Old New York meets New American cuisine at Schaller’s Stube Sausage Bar, a contemporary offshoot of the century-old business (and your grandmother’s go-to butcher) Schaller & Weber. Here, high-quality wursts, sausages, and franks come tucked inside Balthazar brioche buns and topped with globally inspired fixings, such as curry powder, Australian beet ketchup, and more.

Feltman’s Kitchen

Restaurant, American, German

Feltman’s Kitchen may have an advantage when it comes to cooking up flawless franks: the inventor of the hot dog back in 1867 was a Coney Island-based German immigrant by the name of, you guessed it, Charles Feltman. Today, 150 years after the fact, Feltman’s descendants keep his legacy alive—and the customers coming—with all-natural, traditionally spiced dogs topped with everything from classic kraut to vodka sauce and Parmesan.

Brooklyn Diner

Diner, American

Come hungry—or with a friend—to Brooklyn Diner, home to the largest hot dog in New York City. At its two locations (ironically both situated in Manhattan), this all-American diner serves its signature “15-Bite All-Beef Frankfurter,” measuring at a whopping 15 inches and weighing nearly a pound.

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