Where to Find Westchester’s Best Hot Dogs (and Hot Dog Trucks)
A dog’s day: Sure, you can spend your summer downing a regular old hot dog in a no-frills bun, but why when you can traipse the County for one smothered with homemade sauerkraut or covered with macaroni and cheese?
The Sushi Dawg at Dobbs Dawg House has ginger soy mayo, wasabi cream, seaweed salad, pickled ginger, and sesame seeds.
T he hamburger may be America’s sweetheart, but hot dogs, in all their bronzed, charred perfection, are a close second. You can dress ’em up—the newest modes include mac and cheese and even grape jam—or eat them the old-fashioned way, wrapped in tin foil with a squirt of mustard and a heaping portion of sauerkraut. Here’s a sampling.
There’s an element of fun to Dobbs Dawg House (25 Cedar St, Dobbs Ferry 914-693-5555; dobbsdawghouse.com), where owners Jeff Jee and Rob Dubilier admit to loving a good dog—I mean, “dawg.” And while you can surely order a Naked Dawg ($2.75), you somehow feel encouraged to step outside your comfort zone and go with the Everything Bagel Dawg (cream cheese, everything bagel spice, and scallions; $3.50). The menu offers 27 specialty dawgs and 50-plus toppings including sliced bananas, peanut butter, chocolate sauce, grape jelly, and Cap’n Crunch. All dawgs are made from Boar’s Head meat and come with a Martin’s Famous potato bun. (Note: A second location opened five months ago [by friends of the owners] at 469 Bedford Rd, Pleasantville 914-769-3294)
Talk about a dog day afternoon. It’s dog day every Wednesday at Dougie’s Stand By (604 N Main St, Port Chester 914-939-002; best-hamburger.com), a wallet-friendly luncheonette where, if you buy one hot dog ($2.50) you get another one free. The 100 percent all-beef Nathan’s dogs come grilled and split down the middle on a toasted bun, with a variety of standard toppings. The eatery is also known for its annual hot dog eating contests.
Sauces are king at So Dam Hot (10 Broadway, Valhalla 914-328-6051; sodamhot.com), where the pure beef Sabrett hot dogs ($2.09) practically beg for a topping, anything from the predictable (sauerkraut, relish, onions, chili, cheese) to any of the numerous hot sauces that line the wall (mainly for the wings, but you’re invited to indulge). Dogs here come split down the middle, grilled, and served on a toasted bun. Among the house specialties—though not for the faint-hearted—Reservoir Dogs (fries topped with melted cheese, chili, hot dog bits, and onions; $7.19).
If the 14 varieties of hot dogs don’t attract you to Doc Ice Southern Snow (75 N Central Ave, Elmsford 914-358-9333; dociceny.net), the more than 100 flavors of shaved ice will. After all, what’s better on a hot summer day than a warm, perfectly grilled hot dog followed by a cold, flavored snowball, a Baltimore rendition of an Italian ice? The space may not be fancy—it’s a swankier Baskin-Robbins of sorts—but there’s no disputing the snappy Sabrett dogs, grilled to a crisp, golden brown and served on lightly toasted buns.
The simplicity of Lubins-N-Links (38 Main St, Tarrytown 914-909-4198; lubinsandlinks.com) is what makes it so charming. Everything about this small blink-and-you’ll-miss-it storefront (outdoor bistro seating in back) is homey—from the blackboard specials listing the numerous (more than 40) hot dog varieties (boiled and cooked to a plump roundness) to the handed-down-from-the-family sauces and sides (try Mama’s Onion Relish, a combination of sauerkraut and onions in a spicy red sauce). Of course, we also love the way owner David Leggio has created his own “link lingo”—as well as the way each order comes with a “brown or yellow” question (referring to the mustard).
When Pony Express (11 Wheeler Ave, Pleasantville 914-769-7669; ponyexpresstogo.com) opened six years ago, it asked, “Can fast food not be junk food?” The answer is “yes” and that includes the organic, 100- percent-beef hot dogs served ($3 for plain) on toasted buns from Good Bread Bakery. Add beef chili, melted all-natural cheddar, Jack cheese, sauerkraut, onions, or hand-chopped relish and you have a relatively healthy meal, tucked into a hearty slice of bread. Now that the eatery has moved across the street to bigger digs, the other bonus is more seating.
A lot of care and thought goes into the hot dogs at Village Dog (18 Main St, Tarrytown 914-909-9000; villagedogtarrytown.com), where all meats are handcrafted and toppings, condiments, and sides hail from local, seasonal, and sustainably raised ingredients. The minimalist storefront is owned by brothers John and Carl Van Dekker, the latter of whom worked with Chef Dan Barber at Blue Hill at Stone Barns. The selections feature interesting combinations, like the Caesar Dog (chicken sausage, romaine, Caesar aioli; $6) or the Seoul Dog (pork, kimchi, plum ketchup; $7.25). The foodie in you will appreciate the fact that the beef is 100-percent grass-fed from Grazin’ Angus Acres, the pork is from Flying Pigs Farm, and the chicken sausage is free-range from Stone Barns.
Westchesterites, especially those who grew up here, swear by Walter’s Hot Dog Stand, (937 Palmer Ave, Mamaroneck; waltershotdogs.com), the Chinese pagoda kiosk that houses the unequivocal king of the “how do they do it?” wiener, a closely guarded blend of beef, pork, and veal that was designed so that it would not shrink, curl, or burn. The split dog—served on a buttered bun—is grilled to an ethereal char and often needs nothing on it aside from Walter’s mustard, another secret sauce (available for sale to go). Just be prepared with your order and the Walter’s vernacular, i.e., a “single” ($2.25), “double” (meaning two dogs, price $4.25), or “puppy dog” (a half of a single, price $1.25)—after all there’s often a long line behind you. It’s also cash only.
Trucks To Try
Charchael’s Hot Dogs (Rte 100, Saw Mill River Rd, Ossining/Millwood)
Johnson Truck (1 Harbor Island Park, Mamaroneck (914) 488-4369)
Lou’s (Garden St, near Sandford Blvd, Mount Vernon)
Pink Panther Hot Dog Wagon and Mexican Food (Saw Mill River Rd just south of Jackson Ave, Hastings-on-Hudson)
Raffi’s Hot Grill (Jackson Ave off the Sprain Brook Parkway, Yonkers)
Hot dogs were among Jeanne Muchnick’s (jeannemuchnick.com) top cravings when she was pregnant with her second daughter.