Our list runs the gamut from ancient stands that have been serving the same exact product day in and day out for decades to gastropubs putting their unique stamp on the hot dog to a place where people wait in line for more than an hour for one topped with foie gras. There’s one constant thread between them, though: they’re the country’s best.
50) Gray’s Papaya, New York City: New York-Style
The classic New York hot dog comes in many forms, but they’re almost always made by one company: Sabrett. Gray’s Papaya is now down to just one New York location, on the Upper West Side, and this colorful purveyor of old-school New York character grills their natural-casing Sabrett dogs on a flat top, nestles them inside a lightly toasted bun, and tops them with mustard, sauerkraut, or the classic "onions in sauce," also made by Sabrett. Lean up against the ledge, wash down a couple with some papaya drink, and be on your merry way, full, content, and out only a few bucks.
49) Moe’s Hot Dog House, Philadelphia: Moe’s Dog
At this South Philly gem, hot dogs are “done juuuust right!,” according to the motto on the creative and ample menu. At Moe’s hot dogs are all-beef variations produced by Levis (established locally in 1895), and they’re joined on the menu by some outstanding breakfast sandwiches, hand-carved roast beef, and classic Philly fare including cheese steaks, scrapple, and pork rolls. They’ll deep-fry your dog if you ask (to three degrees of doneness), and their corn dog is awesome, but the quality of the dog is so high that you should just go with the standard griddled dog. A kosher hot dog’s best friends are sauerkraut and spicy mustard, and the folks behind Moe’s know that: they’ve made that style their flagship offering, called the Moe’s Dog. Save the one topped with macaroni and cheese for your second visit.
Dan Myers is the Eat/Dine Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @sirmyers . Additional reporting by Arthur Bovino and Colman Andrews.