When you’re a kid, hot dogs are pretty much an all-essential staple. Mom would cut up hot dogs and add them to our mac and cheese, canned baked beans or even Chef Boyardee’s SpaghettiOs. Lacking buns, we would wrap them in white bread with mayo and ketchup or roll them into pre-packaged biscuit dough with a slice of American cheese to make “Pigs in a Blanket.” But as we got older, hot dogs seemed to have lost their glamour. Sure, we might still indulge in childhood nostalgia and scarf a dog at a baseball game or Fourth of July picnic, but in general our love for the almighty frank waned as our palates grew more sophisticated.
But then, lo and behold, hot dogs actually got better. Specifically, here in New Orleans, we experienced a sort of hot dog renaissance a few years ago and suddenly there were several restaurants wholly devoted to frankfurters and sausages in many mouth-watering forms. The most obvious of these wiener eateries being Dat Dog, which has gained so much popularity in the four years since the original opened on Freret Street that it now has three locations in the Crescent City and a possible fourth slated for Baton Rouge. While certainly not traditional, I can’t seem to resist their crawfish sausage dog with a decadent order of chili-cheese fries.
Located on the edge of the French Quarter, Dreamy Weenies is another fully-devoted hot dog hawker who specialize in catering to everyone, meaning that one so inclined can score a halal, kosher and even vegan options. Choose from meats (or non-meats) like gourmet turkey franks, beef kababs, Polish sausage, falafel and load it up with traditional toppings like onions, chili and sauerkraut or go for something a little bit different like BBQ shrimp sauce or pico de gallo. Being right across from Louis Armstrong Park, it’s more than appropriate to opt for their Satchmo Dog which features a dog of your choosing smothered in red beans and rice.
Although not devoutly devoted to the beloved frank, there are certainly plenty of other places to score a premium dog. In the Warehouse District, the ever-popular Cochon Butcher features a Cajun Pork Dog (that you know they made by-hand and in-house) served on a pretzel bun. You can perch at a small table and wolf one down with their house-made potato chips and topped with their own pickles and sauerkraut, or grab it to go and find yourself the envy of all your co-workers when you get back to the office.
On Magazine Street, GG’s Dine-O-Rama has long offered their Grilled Chicago-Style Hot Dog made with a Vienna beef frank topped with mustard, relish, red onion, tomato, pickle spear and celery salt nestled inside a poppy seed bun. Amazingly enough, this stellar frank is priced at only $6 and comes with chips, fries or tater tots! Another great dog deal can be had at GBs Patio Bar & Grill in the Riverbend. For only $6.50, you can score a quarter-pound, all-beef kosher hot dog topped with chili and cheddar cheese served with your choice of French fries or even a small, house salad.
One of the newest franks can be found at a recently-opened, family-style restaurant in Lakeview dubbed The Backyard. Along with other Southern picnic-style fare like hamburgers, pimento cheese and potato salad, The Backyard offers a deviously good dog made from 100% Black Angus beef that has been spiral cut, char-grilled and served on a potato roll made by the famous Pennsylvania bakery Martin’s. Be forewarned, this simple, unassuming dog will rock your world for a mere five spot! It leaves plenty of money left over for an ice cold beer or even a slice of strawberry-rhubarb pie.
*Article originally published in the July 2015 issue of Where Y’at Magazine
**Dreamy Weenies and GG’s Dino-O-Rama are closed