Fenway Park (Boston): Che Chi's Bbq
With more than just a cart or two in front of the stadium, the scene at Fenway is more like a full-fledged street market with hot dog and sausage vendors along with souvenier hawkers. Che-Chi's is a stand that's been around since 1972, serving up hot dogs and sausages cooked over charcoal and topped with their "special sauce."
Citi Field (NYC): Dominick's Hot Dog Truck
It's not surprising that New York City's Citi Field is the king of MLB hot dogs, with multiple high-quality options. But for a serious old-school New York experience check out Dominick's truck in Rego Park before the game, a favorite of SE head honcho Ed Levine that's been doling out longer-than-the-bun natural casing Sabrett's topped with mustard and kraut since 1959.
Dominick's: Woodhaven Blvd and 67th Ave Queens, NY 11374 (map); distance from stadium: 4 miles / 10 minutes by car
Target Field (Minneapolis): Nate Dogs
Minnesota isn't exactly the first city you think of when it come to hot dogs, so you wouldn't expect to find much of interest outside the park. But during Twins games this season, newcomer Nate Dogs will be setting up outside of Fulton Brewing's brand new Taproom two blocks from the stadium. Nate's Dogs are 100% pork, natural casing weiners from Pastures A Plenty farm in nearby Kerkhoven, topped with homemade sauerkraut and Nate's signature spiced honey mustard.
Marlins Park (Miami): La Moon
The Marlin's brand-new stadium is just a hop skip and a jump from a dog that Miami New Times recently crowned the best in the city. Miami seems to be in the middle of a crazy Colombian hot dog renaissance, with at least a dozen spots, and even a handful of Venezuelan doggeries. La Moon serves both a standard Perro Colombiano and a wild style Superperro topped with potato chips, bacon, cheese, chorizo, a zillion different brightly colored sauces sauces and a quail egg on top.
Comerica Park (Detroit): Lafayette Coney Island
I guess if you really wanted to, you could eat a "Chicago Style" dog or a decent (but probably overpriced) all-beef, skinless Hebrew National inside the stadium. Or you could be devouring an amazing, super snappy pork and beef natural casing Coney buried underneath the best hot dog chili I've ever tasted in my life, a few measley blocks away at one of the absolute best old-school hot dog joints in the country. There's also a Leo's Coney Island literally a block from the park.
Lafayette Coney Island: 118 West Lafayette Boulevard, Detroit, MI (map) (313) 964-8198; distance from stadium: half mile / 4 minute drive / 10 minute walk
Wrigley Field (Chicago): Byron's Dog Haus
Speaking of Chicago, you probably can't walk a block away from Wrigley without running into a hot dog stand or four. One of the best in the area is Byron's (recently featured on Serious Eats: Chicago) a few blocks north; their skinless beef dogs are more "dragged through the salad bar" than "dragged through the garden." If you're in the mood for a natural casing dog, your best bet is Murphy's Red Hots a few blocks to the south.
US Cellular Field (Chicago): 35th Street Red Hots
Or if you want to try Chicago's other famous dog you'll have to go to a White Sox game. 35th Street Red Hots, a barebones stand a few miles from the stadium, serves a great example of minimalist or "depression" style Chicago dog: a natural casing Vienna beef dog, topped with mustard, onions, sport peppers, maybe some relish but no tomato, cucumber, or lettuce, and fistfuls of hand cut fries.
35th Street Red Hots: 500 W 35th Street Chicago, IL 60616 (map) (773) 624-9866; distance from stadium: a few blocks
Safeco Field (Seattle): Joe's Grilled Gourmet Dogs
Seattle Mariner's Safeco field has a thriving hot dog and sausage scene that's been around for years. Before every game you'll find any number of tube-meat vendors barking out their specialties like carnival pitchmen. Joe's Grilled Gourmet Dogs ("look at the size of this one!" is their catchphrase) has set up here for the last 15 years, serving up all beef dogs along with polish sausage, kielbasa, chicken sausage, and various veggie selections. These dogs are topped with everything under the sun, but most famously grilled onions and cream cheese, a style that started on Occidental ave and has since spread to Portland, Denver, and even Philadelphia.
PNC Park (Pittsburgh): Franktuary
For hot dogs in Pittsburgh your first thought would probably be the legendary/infamous Dirty O, but just a few minutes from the stadium there's also Franktuary, a cool little hot dog spot in the basement of a church that serves natural casing dogs along with grass-fed, organic all-beef "locavore" dogs from Ron Gargasz Organic Farms in Volant, PA. Pictured here is the locavore "New York style" with sauerkraut, brown mustard, and house made vidalia red onion sauce.
Fenway Park (Boston): The Sausage Guy
Boston's Sausage Guy is another one that's been setting up for every Red Sox game since 1992, selling hot dogs along with his homemade, almost footlong sausages. Somewhat of a local celebrity, the Sausage Guy stays open until 3 a.m. weekend nights for the drunks and has served sausages to everyone from Jerry Springer to Drew Barrymore.
Citizens Bank Park (Philadelphia): Tony Luke's
Most people think about cheesesteaks before or after a Phillies game, although the stadium is making some attempts at regional dogs with the new Texas Tommy and "Jersey Style Ripper." But my favorite pregame dogs in Philly are the Whiz-drenched concoctions at Tony Luke's, a stand mostly known for its roast pork. Try the cheese product and bacon slathered texas tommy on a toasted bun, or the "Texas smoked hot," a foot long, split and grill-charred dog topped with chili and onions on a steak roll, delicious and slightly reminiscent of a DC half-smoke.
Progressive Field (Cleveland): Johnny Hot Dogs
Cleveland had become known for the Polish Boy, a kielbasa-fries-and-cole-slaw concoction, but is also home to a handful of old-school hot dog joints. The closest to the ballpark and oldest in the city is Johnny Hot Dogs in the Westside Market. Rather than cheap dogs or kielbasa, Johnny's grills up natural casing all beef dogs, topped with mustard, onions, relish and/or chili.
Chase Field (Phoenix): Nogales Hot Dogs
Your best bet near the Diamondbacks ballpark has got to be Nogales Hot Dogs, a cart that's been cranking out Sonoran style dogs—wrapped in bacon and topped with any combination of mayonnaise, tomatoes, guac, shredded cheddar, cotija cheese, and salsa verde—for the last ten years, a style imported to Phoenix by the Perez family who have been selling these on the streets of Nogales Mexico since the late 80's. The dogs are served on rolls made fresh daily at a nearby Mexican bakery.
Nogales Hot Dogs: 1945 East Indian School Road, Phoenix, AZ 85016 (map)
Coors Field (Denver): Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs
A short drive from the Colorado Rockies ballpark—where your options are gluten-free dogs or the "Xtreme Denver Dog" roller grilled and topped with peppers and onions—is one of the country's finest sausage emporiums. Biker Jim has been slinging all beef dogs, brats, reindeer corn dogs, and rattlesnake sausages (pictured here) topped with everything from cream cheese to harissa roasted cactus—for over ten years from a cart before recently opening this brick and mortar location.
Camden Park (Baltimore): Attman's Baloney Dog
The Orioles ballpark actually has some pretty good dogs going on, especially since Pollock Johnny's—an awesome local hot dog and Polish sausage spot—opened up in the stadium. But for something totally different, check out the baloney-wrapped dog at Attman's Delicatessen down the road, a curious cousin to Philadelphia's old-school salami or baloney wrapped Kosher Tommy's.
Great American Ballpark (Cincinnati): 3rd & Walnut Hot Dog Cart
You might be thinking about Chili-Cheese Coneys in Cincinnati, but if you're there to see the Reds play you should check out the 3rd & Walnut hot dog cart that sets up before every game. Drew the hot dog guy has been slinging Nathan's dogs and smokey Metts (that's Cincinnati-ese for "Mettwurst") since 2007 from this small NY-style cart.
3rd & Walnut Hot Dog Cart: 312 Walnut St Cincinnati, OH 45202(map);
The Best Hot Dogs in Cincinnati onfacebook; distance from stadium: none
Miller Park (Milwaukee): Brat House
In Brewers country it's all about the bratwurst. For the most part, brats are cooked tailgate-style in the parking lot, steamed in beer or grilled over charcoal. The Milwaukee Brat House is a great spot to drink some beers and down a few Usinger's Brats: served plain or with mushrooms and cheddar on a pretzel roll (pictured here). Even more convenient is the shuttle bus that ferries drunk customers from the beer hall to the stadium and back.
Tropicana Field (Tampa): Coney Island Sandwich Shop
The Tampa Bay Rays ballpark actually serves some half decent hot dogs: Kayem brand shipped from way north in New England. But just outside the stadium is the Coney Island Grill, the sort of old-school hot dog joint that I didn't think existed anywhere in Florida. This one's been serving up chili dogs and chips (no fries) since 1926.
Coney Island Sandwich Shop: 251 Doctor Martin Luther King Junior Street North, St. Petersburg, FL 33705 (map); 727-822-4493; distance from stadium: 1 mile
Rogers Center (Toronto): Street Meat Carts
At a Blue Jays game, your best tube-meat options are the street meat carts that line up along Front Street before and after the games, selling a variety of dogs along with chicken, polish, and veggie sausages scored with a knife and grilled. Top your dog off DIY-style from the wide selection of sauces and crazy toppings like corn salad, bacon bits, and canned mushrooms.
Street Meat: Front Street near the Skydome, Toronto, ON M5V 1J1, Canada (map); distance from stadium: none