Photo: Flickr Creative Commons
Another day of the week, another food holiday. Today is National Hot Dog Day, whoop whoop. To paraphrase Anthony Bourdain, there’s nothing better than “meat in tube form,” so plan the rest of your eating today around the most processed food sold on the street: le hot dog. Here’s where to find the best hot dogs in NYC today.
Madison Square Park, E. 23rd St. and Madison Ave. (more locations here)
Danny Meyer might be famous for that secret sauce ShackBurger but the New York-based burger joint started as a hot dog cart in Madison Square Park 14 years ago. The menu expanded, the franchise grew, and the hamburger may have eclipsed the hot dog as the fast casual’s signature dish, but today you should definitely head to your closest Shake Shack and get a split and griddle-crisp beef dog.
What to get: Shack-cago Dog topped with relish, onion, cucumber, pickle, tomato, pepper, celery salt and mustard. With a side of fries, of course.
184 8th Ave between 19th and 20th Sts.
Maybe it’s something about the Fourth of July and barbecues, but summer is the season for hot dogs. With that in mind, Donatella Arpaia and Pasquale Cozzolino opened Swanky Dog, a pop up hot dog shop hidden behind their Chelsea pizzeria Prova in late June. Open for the summer season only, the speakeasy parlor is accessible through the back of Prova from 5 to 11 PM, and if you’re gunning for a late-night bite, you’ll have to find the unmarked entrance after midnight. The dogs are custom blended and there’s a burger option and hand-cut fries.
What to get: The Fiesta Dog, a hot beef and jalapeno blended frankfurter with chipotle sauce, American cheese, onion, and roasted pepper relish. And don’t forget the Cannoli Dog to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Photo: Swanky Dog, Cannoli Dogs
113 Saint Marks Place between 1st Ave. and Ave. A; 555 Driggs Ave. at N. 7th St.
Crif Dogs is kind of an NYC institution. Though the East Village and Williamsburg locations are perfectly situated for late-night eats, you might enjoy the far-from-basic dogs at a sober hour. This is where you go you to induce a heart attack while eating the most creative and caloric tubed meat combos in the city.
What to get: Of the bacon-wrapped options, we suggest the BLT, topped with lettuce, tomato, and mayo. Other standouts include the Philly Tubesteak (a Philly cheesesteak in hot dog form) and the Morning Jersey, a Taylor ham-wrapped dog with melted cheese and a fried egg.
Photo: Crif Dogs, bacon-wrapped dog (credit: Alexis Lamster)
2090 Broadway at 72nd St.
This wouldn’t be a legitimate “best hot dog in New York” list without a shout out to the OG hot doggery, Gray’s Papaya. Open 24 hours on the Upper West Side, and not to be confused with like-minded competitors Papaya King and Papaya Dog, Gray’s Papaya is where you go for plain, simple and high-quality frankfurters. It’s been featured in many a movie and TV show, like You’ve Got Mail and Sex and the City.
What to get: The Recession Special, two dogs and a 14-ounce drink for $4.95.
Bark Hot Dogs
155 Bleeker St. at Thompson St.; 474 Bergen St. near Flatbush Ave.
Bark is the closest thing to a fancy hot dog restaurant in the city. Frankfurter classics are served slightly upscale in two subway-tiled outposts — one in Park Slope and one in Greenwich Village. Their menu caters to the food trends of the moment with a kale salad and Brussels sprouts side dish.
What to get: The Bacon-Cheddar dog with pickled red onions, the Chili-Cheese dog, and a side of onion rings.