The Best Hot Dogs in Boston
This post was updated on April 3, 2017, with additional reporting by Alex Wilking.
Once a salty pleasure relegated to summer afternoons in the backyard or the Fenway Park grandstand, the hot dog is fully entrenched in a culinary moment. It’s not a new trend—a few years ago, spots like B&G Oysters and Bronwyn were in on the action, and the folks at Haley.Henry now host a Wine & Weiner special each Wednesday.
These days, all manner of charcuterie is taking top billing at spots like the Maiden, and the Backroom at Moody’s, and the elevated hot dog, with prime meats, global toppings, and crusty bread, is more prevalent than ever. Here are the 11 best around Boston.
The Atomic Dog at the Automatic
Chili, cheese, onions, and Inner Beauty hot sauce compose the Atomic Dog (pictured above) at this Kendall Square bar. This is just one iteration of the spot’s Pearl ’dog, though: For those wary of the heat, you can also spin your frankfurter “messy” (onions, cheese, chili), or drag it through the garden Chicago-style.
$8.50, 50 Hampshire St., Cambridge, 617-714-5226, theautomaticbar.com.
Kobe Beef Hot Dog at Brass Union
The Choripán, an Argentine take on the trend, is among the fancy frankfurter OGs in the area, on the menu since Brass Union opened in 2014. The spicy chorizo sausage on a Portuguese “pop,” drizzled with bright chimichurri, is satisfyingly salty. Chef Jonathan Kopacz has since introduced another interpretation of the hot dog: a Kobe beef sausage topped with pickled cabbage and whole grain mustard.
$6 and $8, 70 Union Sq., Somerville, 617-623-9211, brassunion.com.
C.A.S Hot Dog at Café ArtScience
$6, 650 E. Kendall St., Cambridge, 857-999-2193, cafeartscience.com.
Doggzilla at Hojoko
Situated in the shadow of Fenway Park, of course Hojoko offers a wild take on a frank. This ’dog is bacon-wrapped, American cheese- and jalapeño-stuffed, then glazed with sweet kabayaki sauce and sprinkled with umami bonito flakes.
$13, 1271 Boylston St., Boston, 617-670-0507, hojokoboston.com.
Sloppy Dog at the Ginger Man
This beer bar’s hot dog is a new-school take on a cafeteria favorite. Chef Joe Destito douses the dish in chili, beer cheese, onions, pickles, and serves it on brioche.
$10, 148 State St., Boston, 617-936-4241, Facebook.
Hot Dogs at Kirkland Tap & Trotter
Once reserved for the Monday crowd, a pared-down version of this frank can now be noshed nightly at the bar. Chef Tony Maws serves the dish in its purest form: with a stripe of house-made ballpark mustard, coupled with a side of relish.
$5, 425 Washington St., Somerville, 857-259-6585, kirklandtapandtrotter.com.
The Sonoran Dog at Lone Star Taco Bar
Wrapped in bacon and deep fried, the Sonoran ’dog is on the late-night menu at Lone Star’s original location in Allston. But when the team expanded into Cambridge, a bigger kitchen allowed for this hangover antidote to become a permanent menu fixture across the river. The amped-up Pearl hot dog is nestled in a New England-style brioche bun with refried beans, longhorn cheese, roasted salsa, chipotle mustard, and crema.
$6, 635 Cambridge St., Cambridge, 857-285-6179, lonestar-boston.com.
Foie Gras Frankfurter at Menton
Chef de cuisine Scott Jones introduced this indulgent crowd-pleaser to bring a little levity to an esoteric tasting menu, and it generated a festive hot dog and champagne pairing series. The foie gras frankfurter is available at the Gold Bar, and is currently served with potato salad.
$24, 354 Congress St., Boston, 617-737-0099, mentonboston.com.
Griddled Dog at Parlor Sports
If you can’t make it to Fenway Park, watching the game at Parlor Sports is the next best thing. There are TVs all around the small spot—even in the bathrooms—so you never miss any action, and chef Suzi Maitland’s menu has munchable snacks like warm, spicy pretzels served with salsa con queso. Parlor’s big sister, Trina’s Starlite Lounge, is known for its over-the-top dogs of the day, but Parlor’s take is classic: a griddled sausage and buttered bun, with your choice of toppings like house-made pickles, chili, and bacon.
$4, 3 Beacon St., Somerville, 617-576-0231, parlorsportsbar.com.
Perrito caliente at Publico Street Bistro
Chef Keenan Langlois’ street food-inspired hot dog tops a two halves of a Kayem frank with poblano, pineapple salsa, bacon, and an addictive lime mayo.
$7, 11 Dorchester St., South Boston, 617-622-5700, publicoboston.com.
West Coast Dog at Roxy’s Grilled Cheese
At the sandwich spot’s Central Square and Lynnfield locations, the kitchen offers a more Pacific take on the hot dog. The quarter-pound Pearl frank comes loaded with smoked gouda cheese, caramelized onions, pickles, and is finished with Justin’s sauce, a “Big Mac”-esque drizzle created by, and named after, a former chef.
$5.19, 292 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617-945-7244, 1205 Market St., Lynnfield, 781-304-4880, roxysgrilledcheese.com.
Kobe Beef Chi Town Dog at Worden Hall
If you’re looking for an authentic Chicago-style hot dog, this “short bite” won’t necessarily hit the spot. But it will certainly satisfy a host of other cravings. Salty, spicy, crunchy, this beef sausage is topped with sinus-clearing Sriracha mustard, pickled mustard seed, and Napa cabbage slaw. The restaurant has a couple other fancy hot dog-inspired handfuls on the menu, too, including a chorizo dog with poblano mustard and crispy potatoes.
$8, 22 W. Broadway, South Boston, 617-752-4206, wordenhall.com.