Synonymous with everything from baseball games to backyard barbecues to amusement parks, there's nothing more American than a hot dog ... regardless of the ingredients.
Brooklyn, New York
In 1871, a German butcher named Charles Feltman was the first person in America to place a tubular piece of meat in a bun and call it a "hot dog." Feltman's Brooklyn hot-dog stand no longer exists, but Coney Island is still home to the mother ship of all things hot dog: Nathan's. Nathan's was started by Nathan Handwerker (a cook who once worked for Mr. Feltman) in 1916. What makes their famous dogs taste so good? The answer is a secret spice recipe that all employees must take to the grave.
Pink's has been serving hot dogs to movie stars, tourists and locals for over 70 years. It all started back in 1939, with Betty and Paul Pink and a pushcart. Pink's is now a Hollywood fixture, serving 10,000 customers a week. There's a wall covered with 200 celebrity-signed photos and over 21 dog varieties on the menu, many named after celebrities. Pink's is notorious for its long lines, but well worth the wait.
The Varsity is the biggest hot-dog stand in the world, covering one city block in downtown Atlanta. More than 15,000 hungry customers pass through Varsity's doors each day. It all started back in 1929, when a Georgia Tech student, fed up with the unpalatable cafeteria food, decided to start his own restaurant. Just be prepared to order when you step inside. The lines move quickly, and the last thing you want to do is keep another hungry customer waiting.
Superdawg is a hot-dog stand known around the world for its famous Chicago-style hot dog (served in a sesame seed roll) and the foot-long hot dog. For over 60 years, Superdawgs has been serving up, well, "Superdawgs." You'll need to know the lingo and the rules when you visit. Only "Superdawgs" are served, not hot dogs, and don't ever order your "Superdawg" with ketchup.
If you like your hot dog more "exotic," check out Hot Doug's in Chicago. Hot Doug's features 21 varieties of sausage made from meats ranging from rattlesnake to kangaroo. What's the most exotic sausage on the menu? Try the "Mountain Man," a sausage made of antelope, elk, buffalo and reindeer meat. Each sausage is named after someone famous, like the Selma Hayek, which is made with extra spicy sausage.
Newark, New Jersey
If you're craving pizza and hot dogs at the same time, the next stop on your quest should be the famous Jimmy Buff's in Newark, NJ. Jimmy Buff's is the home of the "Italian," a combination of sausage, peppers, potatoes and onions all packed on pizza bread and deep-fried. The result? A delicious pizza/hot dog creation that can't be ignored.
For the diet-conscious individual, hot dogs may not seem like a healthy eating option, but Franktitude serves up hot dogs that will make you reconsider. Made from fresh salmon, the dogs at Franktitude are not only delicious, but full of omega-3 fatty acids. Chilean native, Aru Wurmann, introduced the salmon hot dog to the American masses in 2006.