Nothing says New York summer like hot dogs. But there’s a lot more to the New York hot dog scene than street carts and Gray’s Papaya. Here are five high-end hot dogs to try, from chili dogs made from ethically raised meats, to Asian- and Latin-inspired franks. And if hot dog gluttony is your bag, don’t forget Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, held at its Coney Island store starting at 11:25am on July 4.
In the East Village, Crif Dogs is ideal for a late-night bar crawl snack — not the least because there’s a cocktail bar, the highly-acclaimed PDT, hidden within the shop itself. The dogs are smoked and deep-fried and then heaped with crazy toppings. Two of the most popular: the Tsunami, a bacon-wrapped frank with teriyaki sauce and pineapple and the Chihuahua, also bacon-wrapped with avocado and sour cream. 113 St. Marks Pl., 212-614-2728, crifdogs.com
This locally and sustainably minded shop in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood specializes in high-end fast food, particularly hot dogs. The pork-and-beef blend dogs are served in a top-split bun with great takes on classic toppings, including a particularly addictive chili on the chili-cheese dog and sweet-and-sour onions and mustard on the NYC Dog. 474 Bergen St., Brooklyn, 718-789-1939, barkhotdogs.com
While folks tend to visit Danny Meyer’s mini-chain for its burgers and frozen custard “concretes,” its griddled dogs are excellent, too — try a Dapper Dog, topped with cheddar-American cheese sauce and crispy shallots, or a Frisky Dog, topped with tomato-simmered onions and sauerkraut. This mini chain isn’t a secret, so just beware that there may be a line. Multiple locations; shakeshack.com
This New York outpost of a Canadian chain serves hot dogs with a distinctly Japanese twist — such as the Terimayo, with teriyaki sauce, sweet mayo and seaweed. Even the fries have a cultural twist; they come topped with nori, wasabi or bonito flakes. 30 St. Marks Pl., 646-476-2324, japadog.com
Los Perros Locos
This Latin-inspired chain heaps its all-beef hot dogs with crazy toppings; even the simplest option is served with crushed chips and four salsas. But things get far more inventive than that — try the chorizo corn dog, or the Spicy Spice mango with mango mojo, melted mozzarella and crushed Doritos. 201 Allen St., 212-473-1200, losperroslocos.com