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The Best of The Best: Hot Dog Joints

City Guide, Food & Drink

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Written by Daniel Meyer

Published on April 24, 2014
teds hotdogs

Updated July 2019

While most of us enjoy grilling up some wieners on our own using the trusty backyard grill, there is something about the experience of heading to your favorite hot dog stand that hits different. It’s a tradition for many families, especially that first visit of the season. While the hot dog is one of America’s simplest foods, the concept of taking a drive or bike ride, or even walking to partake in this delicious meal to celebrate the arrival of summer is a WNY favorite.

Before we get to the list of ‘the best of the best’, a quick sidebar about one of the Buffalo area’s great debates when it comes to hot dogs – Wardynski’s or Sahlen’s. For some people, it makes a huge difference on how their hot dog dining experience will go based simply on what brand name is being cooked and consumed.

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Now that we have that out of the way, we transition to my list of ‘the best of the best’ when it comes to the entire hot dog dining experience. While the quality of the food served and the price you pay are certainly worth evaluating, I approached this list with the concept of atmosphere and ambiance as a major factor as well.

Here is our list of the top 10 places for hot dogs in Western New York. I encourage and appreciate any feedback, which can include comments, questions, suggestions!

 

RELATED: Find The Right Hot Dog Stand For You

 

Connor’s Hot Dog Stand

8905 Lakeshore Road / Angola

(716) 549-1257 / Website

A family owned and operated establishment that has been serving our community since 1944. Located a stone’s throw away from Mickey Rats/Captain Kidd’s, this is the ideal place to “take a drive out to the lake” and enjoy a casual lunch or dinner.

They serve Wardynski’s brand wieners that are cooked by some of the friendliest employees you will ever encounter at a local hot dog stand. I enjoy their “sauerkraut dog” with an order of fresh cut French fries and have never been known to pass on dessert, with my personal preference being a vanilla custard sundae with blueberries.

George’s Hot Dog Stand

5808 Herman Hill Road / Hamburg

(716) 648-0320 / Website

Another fun and friendly family joint, they have been serving the local community since 1967, catering to thousands of Southtowns residents, although I have friends who annually “make the drive in from the city” to experience all that George’s has to offer. The property is always well maintained, with a playground for the little ones, and plenty of seating both inside and out.

The unique system in which they take orders is one of the romantic quirks about the place. After you place your order and pay for your meal, your “slip” is whizzed down a zip line to the employees doing the cooking. You then shuffle on down the line and eventually pick up your tray and head to the condiment station to “dress your dog.”

George's

I always take advantage of the opportunity to bite into a charbroiled Sahlen’s footlong hot dog and an order of curly q fries that makes for a tasty lunch/dinner. And while this is a specific focus on hot dogs, I would be doing everyone a disservice if I didn’t at least mention their “Big George” quarter-pound burger. That can be enjoyed during another visit!

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Louie’s Texas Red Hots

2811 Bailey Avenue / East Buffalo

(716) 835-8200 / Website

There are seven locations that are locally owned and operated, so for most there is no significant difference if you were to dine at Louie’s in Depew, West Seneca, Orchard Park, or their other city locations on Delaware Avenue and Elmwood Avenue. I recently dined at the Bailey Avenue spot and was pleased with the experience.

Their food is spectacular; they serve up unmatched sauces and flavors when it comes to their famous “texas red hot.” In addition to their standard value meal (Sahlen’s hot dog, French fries and a drink), they have their long-standing takeout only special of buy-five-hot-dogs-and-get-the-sixth-one-free for those who are on the run and feeling particularly hungry.

Back to the texas red hot, which ranks right up there with barbecue chicken wings and beef on weck as Buffalo’s best signature foods. Served on a steamed roll with mustard, onions and their special “Greek sauce,” it’s a dynamite package of deliciousness to say the least!

Old Man River

375 Niagara Street / Tonawanda

(716) 693-5558 / Website

This is a place that fits my definition of a true “dining destination.” You can tell that summer is in full swing along the Niagara Street waterfront when people are packed into a place distinguished by their rendition of a gigantic blue whale on the roof of the restaurant. They serve Sahlen’s hot dogs in a wide variety of ways. Having been there a few different times, I can give the two-thumbs-up salute to their foot-long chili and cheese hot dog, the hot dog with grilled onions and cheese, and the hot dog with mustard, chili, coleslaw and chopped onions.

Red Top Hot Dogs

3360 Big Tree Road / Hamburg

(716) 627-5163 / Website

Approaching 70 years of age, “Red Top” is a family tradition for many in the Southtowns. Located across the street from Hoak’s Restaurant, the close proximity to Lake Erie makes the ideal setting for a casual meal. Please note that this is definitely an old fashioned hot dog stand. There is no dining room so plan appropriately as your seating options are outside cement tables/benches and a covered outdoor dining area with some picnic tables underneath.

In addition, their cash register is one of those “old school” non-digital devices that really adds to the intimate feeling of the business. The menu is handwritten on a dry erase board and this is one of those “cash only” places so do not bring your credit cards. They serve Wardynski hot dogs, which always go well with their onion rings and a handmade milkshake!

Reid’s

150 Lake Avenue / Lockport

(716) 471-0701 / Facebook

Another simple hot dog stand serving up delicious food at an affordable price. Reid’s garners quite the appeal during the summer months as people stop for a bite to eat either before or after they visit the beach.

Reid’s does it right- especially when it comes to their customer service. On the afternoon that I visited, a young man who his co-workers referred to as “Zippy” was just sensational, and from what I gathered in talking to others sitting nearby he is always going above and beyond for his customers.

I recommend ordering a couple of hot dogs and some French fries that you can dip in vinegar. One of their specialties is a tasty sauce that many patrons like to enjoy with a hamburger or your hot dogs. You can actually purchase the sauce by the quart, which apparently many folks from Lockport do, especially late in the season to get them through the winter months.

Photo x Reid’s Drive In

Sullivan’s Hot Dogs

501 Cayuga Drive / Niagara Falls

(716) 236-4119 / Website

Over the past 15 years or so, this establishment has become a summer tradition for hot dogs and ice cream enjoyed by residents and visitors to Niagara Falls. Their “family style” outside covered seating area makes it the ideal place to bring a large group to have a tasty meal. Their prices are fair and the customer clearly comes first, making the entire experience an enjoyable one for everyone included.

Taffy’s Hot Dog Stand

3261 Orchard Park Road / Orchard Park

(716) 675-0264 / Facebook

A Southtowns gem that has been in existence since 1949, there is little doubt that the reason they have been so successful over the years is because they have perfected the casual warm weather dining business. I give them extra credit for persevering all of these years; withstanding the test of time by operating during uncertain economic time periods, while overcoming challenges presented by what seems like constant commercial development (i.e. construction zones and traffic obstacles) in the neighborhood of a busy five lane intersection.

Anything and everything I have ever ordered from Taffy’s has exceeded my expectations, including their signature charbroiled hot dogs. Another place that has mastered the proper technique of cooking a foot long hot dog, you really cannot go wrong with accompanying one of those with a milkshake from their list of over 100 different flavors. Taffy’s is a really fun and enjoyable place to enjoy a meal, especially if you can land a seat on one of their wooden glider tables.

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Ted’s Hot Dogs

3193 Orchard Park Road / Orchard Park

(716) 675-4662 / Website

A charcoal broiled family tradition that now boasts eight locations, they are proud of the fact that every single one of their hot dogs is cooked over real hardwood charcoal. No matter which location you decide to visit, Ted’s can be described a well-oiled machine. The Orchard Park site in particular is swift with their service because of the professionals who know what they’re doing.

You can’t talk about Ted’s without mentioning their homemade hot sauce, which is a secret family recipe that is closely guarded by all of their employees. Ordering a pair of hot dogs with that sauce, along with an order of hand battered onion rings and a glass of ice cold loganberry makes an ideal meal. Don’t forget to check out their other locations while you’re at it!

Frank Gourmet Hot Dogs
Frank Gourmet Hot Dogs / Photo x Christopher Lestak for Step Out Buffalo

Frank Gourmet Hot Dogs

707 Kenmore Avenue / Buffalo

(716) 322-5933 / Website

Simply a food truck that focuses on bringing a gourmet cooking style to a regular American hot dog! Who wouldn’t want a fancy twist on an American favorite? Frank’s homemade condiments pairs nicely with their menu that changes weekly! You can even check their website to see where you can Find Frank, aka see where this hotdog food truck will be at any given moment. But wait, there’s more! You can even have Frank at any catering event! 

Seneca Texas Red Hots

2449 Seneca Street / Buffalo

(716) 822-7121 / Menu

Located on Seneca Street, this hot dog joint is even open for breakfast, allowing anyone who may be craving a hot dog at 10 in the morning to fulfill their craving. Specializing in their chili cheese dog, you can leave here feeling full and satisfied. Be sure to order a basket of fries too!

Hot Dog Heaven

1551 Harlem Road / Cheektowaga

(716) 896-6616 / Website

Another hot dog place that is serving up breakfast in the 716 is Hot Dog Heaven. Also, it is known as a local cheap-eat place! From pancakes to hot dogs, you’ll take a quick trip to heaven when you eat at this joint! You’ll just have to travel to Cheektowaga first! 

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Written by <a href="https://stepoutbuffalo.com/author/dan/" target="_self">Daniel Meyer</a>

Written by Daniel Meyer

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