Walter's: Mamaroneck, NY
The dogs are butterflied and brushed with butter as they cook on the grill, garnished with Walter's own pickle-flecked mustard. A model of hot dog simplicity, it's beloved by locals and regarded by many as one of the best in the country.
Walter's Hot Dog Stand: 937 Palmer Avenue, Mamaroneck NY 10543; waltershotdogs.com
Papaya King: NYC
Topped with red onion sauce and deli mustard, it's hard to compete with this kind of pure hot dog experience. As far as "tropical-style" NYC hot dog stands go, Papaya King—which opened in 1931 at 86th Street and 3rd Avenue—is the original and still the best.
Papaya King: 179 East 86th Street, NYC NY; papayaking.com
Clare & Carl's: Plattsburgh, NY
The thick meat sauce is related to "Texas Hot Weiner" and "Coney" sauces served in other parts of the country, but dryer and thicker, ladled on top of the bright red dog with onions and mustard, served on a unique day-old steamed roll that sort of resembles a New England-style bun.
Clare & Carl's: 4727 U.S. 9, Plattsburgh NY; Open April through October; Clare & Carl's on Facebook
Olneyville NY System: Providence, RI
There are dozens of different stands with the words "NY System" and "Hot Wiener" in the Providence area, but Olneyville is considered one of the best, where cooks line 10 or 20 dogs "up the arm" dressing them with mustard and sauce at a lightning pace.
Olneyville NY System: 18 Plainfield St, Providence RI; olneyvillenewyorksystem.com
Bark: Brooklyn, NY
Bark serves Hartmann's natural casing franks cooked in lard butter, drops them into lightly toasted top-split buns, then garnishes generously with delicious homemade chili, house-cured sauerkraut or bacon braised baked beans.
Bark: 474 Bergen Street, Brooklyn NY 11217; barkhotdogs.com
Crif Dogs: NYC
They use natural casing Thumanns brand franks, specially made to stand up to a deep fryer, available in all sorts of delicious combinations. Wrapped in bacon or pork roll, topped with chili, slaw, cheese wiz, pickles, fried eggs, cream cheese, or avocado—the varieties are endless, perfect for soaking up alcohol and just the right size to order 2, 3, or 4 different dogs.
Crif Dogs: 113 Saint Marks Pl # 2, NYC, NY; crifdogs.com
Heid's: Liverpool, NY
Along with the white Coneys, Heid's also serves a more standard beef and pork German frank. Both are made by nearby Hoffman's and both are delicious washed down with some local chocolate milk.
Heid's of Liverpool: 305 Oswego Street, Liverpool NY; heidsofliverpool.com
Gus's Hot Dogs: Watervliet, NY
Gus's tiny Helmbolds brand dogs are 65 cents each, grilled and served on specially made miniature buns.
Gus's Hot Dogs: 212 25th Street, Watervliet NY 12189
Ted's Hot Dogs: Amherst, NY
The dogs are Sahlen's pork and beef franks—one of the best natural casing dogs out there—grilled over wood charcoal until deliciously blackened and almost splitting apart. Topping choices include everything from chili to pickles and tomatoes, and for the real Western NY experience wash it all down with Loganberry Soda.
Ted's Hot Dogs: 7018 Transit Road, Buffalo NY 14202; tedsonline.com
Nicky And Pete's: Philadelphia, PA
Or try the fish cake combo, a hot dog and potato fish cake jammed into the same roll and topped with pepper hash, mustard and chopped onions. This old-school, only-in-Philly concoction originated back in the 1920s, and Nicky & Pete's makes one of the best modern versions.
Nicky and Pete's Famous Hot Dogs: 349 N. 64th Street, Philadelphia PA 19139
Rutt's Hut: Clifton, NJ
Washed down with an ice cold beer in the standing room only counter area or the amazing wood paneled dining room, Rutt's is one legendary hot dog joint. It's a great argument for the less-is-more philosophy when it comes to great hot dogs.
Rutt's Hut: 417 River Road, Clifton NJ 07014
Jimmy Buff's: East Hanover, NJ
This epic sandwich is found all over New Jersey but best devoured at spots like Buff's that use real pizza bread, baked fresh daily by a handful of old-school North Jersey Italian bakeries.
Jimmy Buff's: 354 New Jersey 10, East Hanover NJ 07936; jimmybuff.com
Super Duper Weenie: Fairfield, CT
Since opening a full-sized restaurant, Super Duper has become one of Connecticut's most well-known hot dog stops, featured in several documentaries and even a spot on Triple D for their split and grilled Hummel dogs loaded with housemade chili and hot pepper relish.
Super Duper Weenie: 306 Black Rock Turnpike Fairfield CT 06825; superduperweenie.com
Photo courtesy of Mark Kotlinski at CToriginals.com
Rawley's Drive-In: Fairfield, CT
Rawley's uses natural casing Hummel Bros. franks, deep-fried and finished off on the grill. Served on toasted buns, the most popular is a dog "all the way" which means relish, mustard, sauerkraut, and a heaping pile of crispy deep-fried bacon.
Rawley's Drive-In: 1886 Post Rd, Fairfield CT
Photo courtesy of Mark Kotlinski at CToriginals.com
Flo's Hot Dogs: Cape Neddick, ME
The dogs are churned out by Gail Stacey, the solitary, amazing employee of this tiny red shack on the side of Route 1. It's worth the wait for one of the most unique dogs on the East Coast.
Flo's Hot Dogs: 1359 Route 1, Cape Neddick ME; floshotdogs.com
Speeds Dogs: Boston, MA
Speed's has already been named the best in the country a few times, and is looking like a strong contender for this competition as well.
Boston Speed Dog: 42 Newmarket Square, Boston MA 02118; bostonspeeddog.com