Food & Drink

An Illustrated Guide to NYC's Most Important Hot Dogs

Published On 07/07/2016 Published On 07/07/2016
Jason Hoffman & Oren Aks/Thrillist
Jason Hoffman & Oren Aks/Thrillist
Jason Hoffman & Oren Aks/Thrillist
Jason Hoffman & Oren Aks/Thrillist
Jason Hoffman & Oren Aks/Thrillist
Jason Hoffman & Oren Aks/Thrillist
Jason Hoffman & Oren Aks/Thrillist
Jason Hoffman & Oren Aks/Thrillist
Jason Hoffman & Oren Aks/Thrillist
Jason Hoffman & Oren Aks/Thrillist
Jason Hoffman & Oren Aks/Thrillist
Jason Hoffman & Oren Aks/Thrillist
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1. Crif Dogs 555 Driggs Ave, New York, NY 11211

The Williamsburg outpost of Crig Dogs serves the same over-the-top hot dogs as the East Village original. The huge menu varies between the namesake Crif Dog, a naturally smoked beef and pork dog, and more loaded ones like the Philly Tubesteak, which is essentially a Philly cheesesteak minus the steak, plus the tubed meat. There are burgers, beer, and milkshakes, too. The space is tight with limited seating, but its location right next to the Bedford L makes it too good to pass up on your way home at 2am.

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2. DBGB 299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003 (East Village)

Daniel Boulud's Bowery restaurant maintains a fine balance between French brasserie and laid-back tavern, all while keeping its downtown cool. Because it wouldn't be a real Boulud joint without his signature European-inflected cuisine, the menu includes a fine selection of sausages and typical bistro dishes like steak tartare and steak frites. There are also hot dogs and burgers -- you won't find the iconic foie gras and truffle burger that Boulud is known for (that's reserved for the more upscale DB Bistro Moderne), but the pulled pork-topped Piggie and the confit pork belly Frenchie will do just fine.

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3. Ditch Plains 29 Bedford St, New York, NY 10014 (Upper West Side)

Named after the Montauk surfing beach, this West Village restaurant is as close to the Hamptons as you'll find below 14th Street. Ditch Plains' focus is fittingly on fish and oysters, but its menu is a celebration of all Americana food, especially the kind that reminds you of summer. You'll find fish shack staples like lobster rolls and beer-battered fish and chips, plus a grilled hot dog topped with mac & cheese and fish, pork, and chicken tacos. Not too mention, Ditch Plains' brunch service proves that Bloody Marys and pancakes are always a good idea.

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4. Gray's Papaya 2090 Broadway, New York, NY 10023 (Upper West Side)

This New York City staple, open since the 70s, slings franks like it's nobody's business. It's opened a few outposts across the city throughout the years, but the Upper West Side joint is the longest-running and the most iconic, if only because it's had quite a few cameos in its tenure (You've Got Mail, for one). There are only two words you need to know at Gray's: Recession Special, which'll get you two 100% beef hot dogs topped with all the basics you want (ketchup, mustard, relish, onions, etc) and a drink. Aside from the fact that Gray's is cheap, like really cheap, it's open 24/7. Huzzah!

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5. Katz's Delicatessen 205 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002 (Lower East Side)

Open since 1888 on the corner of East Houston and Ludlow Street, Katz's is synonymous with iconic New York City food, specifically, slow-cured pastrami and corned beef. There's usually a line filled with a mix of tourists, die-hard New Yorkers, and everyone in between, and the wait is nothing but proof of the stacked sandwiches' pure goodness. You receive a paper ticket when you walk in, order at the counter (be ready!), and wait while the servers sling layers of pink meat onto cafeteria trays. If pastrami on rye (or better yet, a hot reuben) is your kind of late-night food, then you're in luck -- Katz's is open all night on Fridays and Saturdays. Words to the wise: stock up on napkins, order a generous side of pickles, and whatever you do, don't lose your ticket.

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6. La Perrada de Chalo 8312 Northern Blvd, Jackson Heights, NY 11372 (Queens)

This seemingly plain Columbian joint in Jackson Heights is known for its boiled hot dogs and topping combos you'd never imagine, like potato chips, eggs, pineapple sauce, ketchup, mayonnaise, and cheese. Though you'd be remiss to not get one of the signature dogs, La Perrada de Chalo serves a killer Hawaiian burger, Cuban sandwich, and arepas.

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7. Nathan's Famous 1310 Surf Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11224

Sure, Nathan's is a supermarket brand these days, but going to the actual joint in Coney Island should be on everyone's New York bucket list. You can't go wrong with the original grilled hot dog with ketchup, mustard, and a side of crinkle-cut cheese fries. The Surf Ave location is literally plastered with Nathan's signage, which somehow makes your hot dog-eating experience feel more authentic than what you'd get from any old cart.

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8. Papaya King 179 E 86th St, New York, NY 10028 (Upper East Side)

A New York staple since the 1930s, Papaya King is to the Upper East Side what Gray's Papaya is to the Upper West Side. The hotdoggery is a reliable joint for classic and loaded dogs, and you really can't go wrong with any of the menu combos that come with a side of curly fries and a drink. For a taste of Papaya King history, get the 1932, a natural-cased hot dog slathered with sauerkraut, onions, or relish.

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9. Shake Shack 366 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10024 (Upper West Side)

It may have started as a hot dog stand in Madison Square Park, but the Shack's now a national purveyor of seriously delicious burgers, shakes, custard, and hot dogs that everyone's come to love. Located across the street from the Museum of Natural History, the Upper West Side outpost (the second Shake Shack to ever open) has an enclosed sidewalk cafe and a downstairs rec room with a big screen TV. There are two lines, a C-line reserved for cold orders (that would be the frozen custard and concretes -- get them, they're good) and a regular one for everything else, which includes the signature ShackBurgers, crinkle-cut fries, and flat-top hot dogs.

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10. The Rusty Knot 412 West St, New York, NY 10014 (West Village)

Located on the banks of the Hudson, The Rusty Knot is decked out with oat wheels, electric lanterns, and Antonio Varga sailor pin-ups. Tropical cocktails like the Singapore Sling or the Mai Tai will cost you, but mainly the next morning -- these dirt-cheap happy hour specials are made strong! Kick back with your Tiki cocktail, and soon you’ll see why this is a go-to place amongst city locals.

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