Dawg, frank, sausage, wiener—whatever you call it, it’s ultimately a hot dog, an American classic sandwiched between a bun and topped with a cadre of condiments, from mustard, ketchup and relish, to hot peppers and chili.
The hot dog is certainly a matter of national pride and the sacred food group even has its own National Hot Dog and Sausage Council to monitor proper etiquette—decorum states it should only take five bites to eat a hot dog and paper, not cloth, napkins are acceptable.
Manners aside, here are nine establishments in the Phoenix metro area that will suit any hot dog style.
Short Leash didn’t start out as a dawg house, but rather a food truck that led to a brick-and-mortar location, serving the classic favorite with a gourmet twist. The lineup of natural, gluten- and nitrate-free signature hot dogs include all-beef, bratwurst, spicy link, apple gouda, chicken, and veggie—all served on naan bread.
Toppings run the quirky gamut with options like the Oliver, dressed with sauerkraut, Swiss and 1,000 island dressing; or the Sunny with grilled pears (or peaches, seasonally), prosciutto, arugula, goat cheese and honey. The menu also offers interpretative options like the bratwurst stuffed pretzel with sauerkraut, onion, bacon, Swiss and spicy mustard, as well as the Polka dot casserole (from the kids menu), made with mac and cheese, and a chopped beef dog.
4221 N. Seventh Ave., Phoenix
The popular food stand is set up in a parking lot near 20th Street and Indian School Road and is a no-frills, roadside attraction that draws late-night crowds for its budget-worthy, Sonoran-style fare. The signature Sonoran Dog, for example, is mesquite smoked, wrapped in bacon, pinto beans, onions, tomatoes and mayonnaise, and sprinkled with cotija cheese.
If that doesn’t cover the dog craving, the more adventurous can load up on fixins’ at the condiment bar loaded with chiles, mushrooms, several salsas, cilantro and more cheese.
1945 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix
Huss is known for its local craft brews, but at its taproom in the Uptown Plaza at Central Avenue and Camelback Road, no one is barking at the quality of the brewery dogs, which are made with 100 percent Schreiner’s beef.
The Chicago Char Dog is topped with tomatoes, pickle spears, spicy mustard, white onion, mean green relish, celery salt and sport peppers. The Sonoran Dog is wrapped in bacon and topped with pinto beans and pick de gallo, lime crème and cotija cheese.
There’s also the Creole Chili Dog smothered in the taproom’s Vienna lager creole chili, sour cream, cheese and green onion or the Bahn Mi Dog dressed in pickled carrot, daikon, cucumber, mayo, jalapeño and cilantro.
100 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix
The family owned and operated business started out in a humble shack in Buffalo, New York, and grew to include nine locations across western New York, a food truck division, and an Arizona location in Tempe. Ninety years later, Ted’s is still delivering specialty hot dogs, which are cooked over a bed of real hardwood charcoal.
While Ted’s serves burgers, sandwiches and other diner-type fare, it’s the Hall of Flame signature selections—like Ted’s Footlong topped with chili and cheese—that draws dog lovers to the Tempe destination. Purists also can order from the classics menu (among them beef, veggie and corn dog) complete with a full toppings list and the Sea Dog, Ted’s take on a fish sandwich.
1755 E. Broadway Road, Tempe
The Windy City meets the Valley of the Sun at this Arcadia landmark, which has been serving burgers, sandwiches, wings, salads and more since 1975. But if you’re craving a Chicago-style hot dog, you’ve come to the right place.
Choose from Vienna, cheddar, chili, chili cheese, Polish or the famous Fire Dog, made with a Polish sausage seasoned with cayenne pepper. Just look for the bright yellow vintage sign on the corner of 38th Street and Indian School, and you know you’ve arrived at hot dog heaven.
3749 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix
There are New York-style hot dogs, Chicago-style hot dogs, even Sonoran-style dogs unique to Arizona. But if you’re looking for something truly unique, head over to Simon’s Hot Dogs for Colombian-style hot dogs, also known as perro caliente colombiano. Topped with pineapple, mozzarella cheese, mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup and (ready for this?) crushed potato chips, these are hot dogs like no other.
They can be made with a beef or pork (Columbian chorizo or German bratwurst) sausages. There are even vegan and vegetarian options because no one should miss out on their chance to experience one of the Valley’s best-kept hot dog secrets.
4280 N. Drinkwater Blvd., Scottsdale
This hot dog shack, popular with golfers at the turn, has been serving Vienna beef dogs for more than 40 years at this east Phoenix landmark. The shack, however, is not your average dog stand.
The wiener shop earned a spot in the Vienna Beef Hot Dog Hall of Fame in 2018 and recognized longtime manager Dick Bates for his dedication to the specialty hot dog business and longevity in serving up link favorites like the Biltmore Dog to golf resort visitors.
2400 E. Missouri Ave., Phoenix
As a Yelp Top 100 restaurant, Detroit Coney Grill prides itself on a made-from-scratch menu. And that goes for the dogs, too, which are all hand-tied and rolled, made with premium cuts of beef and encased in an all-natural sheep skin. The lineup of dogs includes an authentic Detroit Coney Dog or the Detroit Coney Dog with loose meat, dressed with chili, mustard and onions.
The wiener shop celebrates its Motor City roots with other options such as the Flint Coney Dog, topped with loose meat sauce, mustard and onion. All can be accompanied by hand-cut fries made from Idaho potatoes and washed down with another Detroit staple, a Faygo pop.
16 W Adams St., Phoenix
930 W. Broadway Rd., Tempe
Portillo’s is the spot for those who insist on eating all-beef Vienna dogs Chicago-style. (Note: That’s code for no ketchup—unless you’re brave enough to ask for the outcast condiment.) Portillo’s keeps it simple with a jumbo dog that comes with everything: mustard, relish, celery salt, freshly chopped onions, sliced red ripe tomatoes, kosher pickle, and sport peppers piled onto a freshly steamed poppy seed bun. Or the jumbo chili cheese dog, in which case everything means chili, cheese, and raw onions.
The fast-casual, Chicago-based chain—also famous for its cake shakes—has two locations in Greater Phoenix with a third on the way to Avondale.
65 S McClintock Dr., Tempe
10574 N 90th St., Scottsdale