10 Best Hot Dog Joints in America

Raise your hand if you're ready to take a trip to hot dog heaven! This summertime staple, this beloved ballpark bite, this all-American classic, is cherished in the U.S. In fact, the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council estimates Americans consume 20 billion hot dogs a year. If you're a fan of the frank and you're looking for the very best places to enjoy them, get ready. From humble hot dog stands to grand hot dog palaces, here are the 10 best hot dog joints in America. 

Gene & Jude’s, River Grove, IL

Open since 1946, Gene & Jude's was created after Gene took a trip to Wrigley Field in 1945 and was dissatisfied with the food. Looking down at his hot dog, he couldn't help but feel that something was missing. He knew he could take things to the next level. Gene first opened a tiny unassuming hot dog stand in Chicago in 1946. The rest is history. The stand later became Gene & Jude's and has been a huge hit with locals and travelers ever since. Gene & Jude's can best be described as a "no nonsense" kind of place. From Reader's Digest to the Wall Street Journal, Gene & Jude's has received numerous accolades for their delicious and simple hot dogs. 

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Dirty Frank’s Hot Dog Palace, Columbus, OH

Dirty Frank's makes their hot dogs with fresh Vienna beef and even has both vegan and vegetarian options! Customers rave about the chili dog which is pretty much a must-order to get the full experience. Order a hot dog with a side of deliciously crispy tator tots, which you can also top with cheese and bacon bits. The eclectic and vibrant interior with all kinds of fun kitschy décor provides the perfect backdrop for enjoying your frank. 

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Rutt’s Hut, Clifton, NJ

If you're in Clifton, New Jersey, stop into Rutt's Hut. "Home of the Ripper!" What's the Ripper, you ask? It's what Rutt's Hut is famous for: Their unique deep-fried hot dogs. When the hot dogs are fried the casing will split open, thus the name "Ripper." First opened as a roadside stand in 1928, Rutt's Hut has evolved into a local legend. With praise from the Food Network, Travel Channel, and even listed in the book, "1,000 Places to See in the USA," Rutt's Hut is a can't miss if you're a hot dog lover. 

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Lafayette Coney Island, Detroit, MI

A little history: “Coney Island” is more than just the name of that famous Brooklyn neighborhood (home to Nathan’s famous hot dogs and the well-known July 4 hot dog eating contest). In Michigan, a Coney Island is a type of restaurant that predominantly serves Coney Island-style hot dogs. The first Coney Island restaurant in Michigan was opened by a Macedonian immigrant in 1914, inspired by the cuisine of Coney Island that many immigrants ate when they arrived in Ellis Island. Today, Michigan has a variety of Coney Island restaurants—and some stand out from the rest. Lafayette Coney Island is among the most famous. Try their chili dogs—they have some of the best in the city and arguably the state. The Coneys here are described as having the perfect “snap.”

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Ted’s Hot Dogs, Western New York and Arizona

Opened in the late twenties when a hot dog and a drink went for a mere 22 cents, Ted's Hot Dogs was created on the hard work of Greek immigrant Theodore Spiro Liaros, otherwise known as Ted. In the coming decades, what started as a small and shaky shack transformed into a booming business with support from generations of customers. Ted's now has nine locations throughout Western New York and a location in Arizona. Its ownership has upheld the long-standing devotion to high-quality ingredients, delicious food, and a friendly welcoming atmosphere.   

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Hillbilly Hot Dogs, Lesage, WV

According to their website, "it's been 17 years since a West Virginia hillbilly and a California city girl" fell in love, chased their dreams, and opened up a cute little weenie stand along the Ohio River in Lesage, West Virginia. While they have since outgrown that space, Hillbilly Hot Dogs has continued to be a fan favorite. If you're up for a little competition, try to down their "Homewrecker" hot dog in under 12 minutes and you'll win a free t-shirt. The Homewrecker is a 15-inch, one-pound all-beef hot dog topped with jalapenos, peppers and onions, nacho cheese, habanero, chili sauce, mustard, slaw, lettuce, tomato, and shredded cheese. Are you up for the challenge? 

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Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs, Denver, CO

Repo man turned hot dog connoisseur Jim Pittenger opened up Biker Jim's as a series of food carts in 2005. The business has since transformed into a brick-and-mortar storefront situated in the Ballpark neighborhood of Denver. And since its earliest days, it's been drawing big crowds of hungry hot dog lovers. Featured in Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations," the Food Network's "The Best Thing I Ever Ate," and the Travel Channel's "Bizarre Foods" with Andrew Zimmern, Biker Jim's has made a serious name for itself in the world of franks. If you're adventurous, try the Alaskan reindeer hot dog, which is described as "smoky, juicy, and delicious," according to their website. 

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Olneyville New York System, Cranston and Providence, RI

Olneyville's history dates all the way back to the late 1930s. Since then its established itself in Providence and has added an additional location in Cranston, Rhode Island. When you visit, try their famous meat sauce—which is raved about by both locals and vacationers. It's so famous in fact that the once-secret recipe is now available to customers to make themselves. Olneyville sells the all-natural blend of spices with step-by-step instructions so you can make this special sauce right at home. If you're craving a hearty meal, nothing satisfies quite like a New York System hot wiener (not spicy!) topped with their special meat sauce and chili. Make sure to order their delicious fries, too. 

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Dune Dog Cafe, Jupiter and Stuart, FL

This open-air café has been open since 1994. Step inside to a laid-back island atmosphere with kitschy beach décor like a bright blue-green painted interior and fishing nets hung on the walls. The service is always friendly and the hot dogs are always to die for here. The Chicago Dog is a favorite, which is topped with diced tomatoes, onions, pickles, and celery salt. Give their Killer Chili Dog a try too which is loaded up with their legendary homemade chili. Order their award-winning New England clam chowder for an extra treat. If you can't make it to their Jupiter location, they have another spot in Stuart, Florida. 

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Dat Dog, Lafayette and New Orleans, LA

The New York Times, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, Travel Channel, and the Food Network have all given high praises for New Orleans' Dat Dog. Now with additional locations in Lafayette, Louisiana, and College Station, Texas, Dat Dog has been serving up premium all-beef hot dogs since it was founded as a 475-square-foot hot dog stand in 2011. Load up your hot dogs with incredible toppings ranging from Chicago sweet relish to Creole mustard to pico de gallo. Dat Dog also makes some of the best vegan and vegetarian hot dog options around with items like their vegan Italian dog and their vegan bratwurst. If you're still hungry, order their bacon ranch cheese fries as a side to really indulge yourself! 

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