Grab Bag dog run

Published on April 18th, 2013 | by Joe-Lou


Joe Loves Hot Dog Joints

At one point or another, I’m probably going to drag you into a hot dog joint. I don’t know if it’s the taste or the American spirit behind each cylinder of mystery meat but I’ve become a bit obsessed trying out new Hot Dog stands.

Hotdogs are my go-to cheapskate lunch, my car ride pit-stops and my 1am hangover stopper. You can pay as much or as little as you want for the doggy. This list will indulge both ends of the spectrum.  Let me be frank, these are my personal favorite  hot dog  joints:


Hot Dog Annie’s
Leicester, MA
Sweet diggity dog, the guys at Hot Dog Annie’s practically candy coat the caramelized onions that top each tiny bun. Small in size but big in taste, these cheap little dudes pack an awesome original sweet barbeque flavor. This is also my Mom’s favorite joint. She would go to Hot Dog Annie’s every day after school and while it may not be quite as cheap as it was back in the day, you can still get full for a couple bucks. 3-4 Original Sweet-BBQ Dogs come highly recommended.



(George’s) Coney Island
Worcester, MA
When most people hear “Coney Island” they think of Nathan’s Famous hot-dogs on Coney Island in New York. But the term “Coney” now refers to a type of sauce. George’s Coney Island in Worcester, Massachusetts has mastered that beefy Coney Sauce. They’re cheap and tasty, but aside from the fantastic value, what I love most about George’s Coney Island is the atmosphere. The old wooden booths haven’t changed much since they first opened in 1918. If you sit in the booth located directly behind the jukebox you might even see my initials scribed into the booth walls, right next to those of my past lovers. Coney Island is tasty living history.


Leominster MA

Variety is the spice of life, and there are plenty of spices packed away in this low-profile restaurant. Their giant chalkboard menu stretches from the classics to some slightly odd originals, such as: the Tuna Roll (All White Albacore Tuna, Lettuce, Tomato), the Hula Dog (Bacon and Pineapple) or, my favorite, the Rachael Dog (Pastrami, Swiss Cheese, Cole Slaw and Brown Mustard). If you’re in the area and feel like getting “weird,” then you’d best get Elvise’s.



Dat dog
Up-town New Orleans, LA
This is probably the most trendy and expensive hot dog place I’ve ever been to. For every exotic dog they’ve got on the menu, there’s an exotic beer on tap to go with it. I mean, this IS New Orleans. I chose the Guinness dog; a huge German Frankfurter boiled in Guinness then smothered in grape jelly and topped with bacon. Ah-mazing.



Chicago IL
Chicago’s best known for it’s pizza, but they’ve also got their own twist on the hotdog. Traditionally a Chicago style dog’s got a full size dill pickle and some peppers. The #1 rule of thumb though is “no ketchup” (sorry New England’ers). If you want to experience the most authentic dog in Chi-town you cant go wrong with Portillo’s. It also looks like a damn Norman Rockwell Theme Park on the inside.



Spike’s Junkyard dogs
Providence + Boston, MA
These dogs are huge. In fact, they are so big that they don’t even fit on a bun. You gotta chomp it down on a warm french roll. The variety of toppings is good, but for me, Spikes is all about the 100% beef dog. No matter how you dress it up with toppings,  it’s that beefy goodness that will keep you coming back for more. Those with small appetites need not bother. Spike’s is a real meal!



GnarlyDog (previously Jim’s Exotic Hot Dog Stand)
Winchendon, MA
Back when I was a kid, there was a little stand stowed away on a back road through the woods. This was Jim’s Exotic Hot Dog Stand. Jim packed a super weirdo menu. If you weren’t keen on a PB&J dog, then you might try your luck at something a bit… hotter. I watched my friend nearly pass out when he tried the Plasma Dog. It was gross fun. If you had the guts, you could even get your name on the wall for eating three Volcano Dogs. These delicious abominations were just too hot and scary for most folks to handle, so the shack eventually closed down some years ago. But  in 2011 it was resurrected in a camper trailer just off the back-roads of Winchendon, Massachusetts  and Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire.  This is the spiritual successor. This- Is- Gnarley Dog!  Nowadays, the menu might not be quite as eclectic as it once was, but what more can you expect from a RV window?




Hewtin’s Dog Mobile
Providence, RI
Weenies on wheels! The Hewtin’s hotdog truck is a force to be reckoned with. Each dog is made with local casing and the sauerkraut toppings are just as fresh. This killer combo makes for a delicious, super-local, Portuguese style doggy.  Look out Oscar Mayer Wienermobile – Hewtin’s got yah beat!



Olneyville New York System Hot Wieners
Providence, RI
Whats the difference between a “wiener” and a hotdog? It’s the meat, and if a hot dog is a mystery meat then a “wiener” is an even tougher nut to crack. I’ve heard rumors that the animal parts which fill a “wiener” are banned in some states because they’re just that bad for you. So, in comes Olneyville New York System “Hot Wieners”: The best junk food around. All that grease goes great with a tall glass of RI-style Coffee milk. Once your stuffed with their “original hot weiner spice” you’ll probably get a kick outta the atmosphere and “no bullshit” attitude of the employees. There aren’t any fakes in Oneyville; just real talk, real friends and real good food. This stuff is definitely not healthy, but I’m not complaining because a New York System Hot Wiener is a perfect way to end any night.

Fun fact: Some R.I. locals still call hot dogs -“Gaggers”. (but you probably shouldn’t do that.)


Well, that’s it for my personal favorites but I’m always looking for more. What’s your favorite? What dog did I miss? Where should I eat next?

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About the Author

is an offbeat musician from Providence RI. His real job involves designing exhibits, but by night he does this stuff.

9 Responses to Joe Loves Hot Dog Joints

  1. Scott Meaney says:

    There can be no denying this.

  2. Scott Meaney says:

    There can be no denying this.

  3. Scott Meaney says:

    There can be no denying this.

  4. Marc Calhoun says:

    Informative and tasty, gracias Joe! it’s nice when your share-able passion is also edible…….

  5. Awesome read! Will definitely have to check one or two of these out next time I’m up New England way…

  6. Dave says:

    Great words of wisdom! Funny, well written. I thought I was the only one who loved hot dogs that much. Your a real chip off the old block. Love you, Dad

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