Top 10 hot dogs in the Twin Cities
6. The Bulldog (Uptown)
Of the three Bulldogs in the Twin Cities, the Uptown location gets the least love, but its authentic Chicago dog will make you long for summer nights, when the Bulldog's caged outdoor seating is filled with tables rather than heating lamps. Choose from a regular all-beef hot dog or spicy veggie dog (a fine meat-free specimen); it will arrive topped with yellow mustard, that signature neon-green relish you only ever see on a Chicago dog, roughly chopped onions, whole sliced tomatoes, sport peppers, and a pickle spear, in a lightly steamed poppy seed bun. If the Southern Slaw dog--covered in slightly mushy pinto beans, a scattering of crisp, real bacon bits, tangy and creamy house-made coleslaw, finished with Cajun seasoning--sounds like a whole delicious picnic on a bun, it is. Replace any dog on the Bulldog's menu with a lean and spicy Bison Polish for just 50 cents more to elevate your whole hot dog experience.
7. The Walkin' Dog
Get a dog to go at the Walkin' Dog
With specialty dogs called the "I Have to Meet a Client Dog" (none of the bad-breath-inducing toppings) and the "I Hate My Co-Workers Dog" (all the bad-breath-inducing toppings), it's clear that this downtown institution, located in the Northstar building, caters almost exclusively to the busy professional. But the defining feature at the Walkin' Dog isn't the Secret Stadium Sauce (which is actually pretty good), it's the fact that it uses Klement's real-deal Milwaukee-made brats. Our favorite indulgence is the Cheddar Brat that pops open and oozes with salty cheese. Top it any way you like, but be sure to pair it with a Black Forest malt. The cheese-chocolate-cherry combo may sound a little strange, but test it out and you'll be a believer.
8. Hot Diggity Dog
Hot Diggity Dog The Boston Dog is a little taste of Fenway
A relative newcomer to the Twin Cities hot dog scene, at first glance this tiny Stadium Village spot appears to be just another cheap and fast option for students. But with 15 different preparations and nothing but dogs on the menu, it has a tight focus that sends a clear message about its desire to be known for having the best dogs in town. The Fire Dog, with Tabasco, Frank's hot sauce, sriracha sauce, and hot giardinera, unlike most "hot" hot dogs, is truly spicy, almost so much that it covers up the taste of the dog, but great if you like that sort of extreme eating. We recommend the Boston dog, loaded with sweet baked beans, tons of cheddar, and spiked with a handful of bacon bits. At just $3.19 for almost any dog on the menu, you can afford to try a couple.
9. Chris and Rob's Chicago
Are you from Chicago? Are you dying to talk to someone about the Bears? Do you have a deep and haunting fear that your child may grow up not being able to tell a Maxwell Street Polish from a sport pepper? If any or all apply, head to Chris and Rob's, a dog-and-beef palace run by two brothers, Chicago natives Chris and Rob Dubnecay. Their Chicago Dog is textbook: a Vienna all-beef dog with all the fixings and a very liberal sprinkling of celery salt. The chili dog is only mildly spicy but includes beans, which makes a nice change-up in taste and texture, even better with a side of some of the crispiest tots in town. Chris and Rob's may offer a little taste of home for native Chicagoans, but Al Capone would find it a too conspicuous hangout--it's a total cop shop.
10. Galaxy Drive-In
Galaxy Drive In
We'll admit that the atmosphere factored in a bit on this one. The kitschy St. Louis Park retro-future-themed Galaxy Drive-In is a slick, Disneyfied concept with lots of teal and purple paint, neon lights, and pint-size replicas of old-fashioned planes and cars. Galaxy is the brainchild of Steve Schussler, the creative vision behind Rainforest Cafe, which means the dining experience tends to be more about theater than food. But Galaxy does serve up a tasty, fun-to-eat dog. Go for the Italian sausage, a thick and meatier option, with a mix of soft grilled peppers and onions, for deeper, more sophisticated flavor. Don't forget to ask for a cone for your pup on your way out. Galaxy gives them away for free.
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