The 10 Best Hot Dogs in DC

By Rina Rapuano  |  June 16, 2014
Credit: Leah Frankl

Hot dogs are one of the quintessential, all-American summer eats — right up there with apple pies and hamburgers. But you don't need to wait for an invite to a backyard BBQ to indulge in what, for many, is basically nostalgia in a bun. We found 10 delicious dogs that run the gamut from traditional to fancy to tricked-out, and all of them make good on the saying that there are no bad dogs. Here's where to go for this summertime favorite: 

  • Das Stray Dog at City Burger

    This beef and pork dog ($5.75) is sourced from Binkerts in Baltimore and is griddled, stuffed into a grilled potato bun and topped with cabbage chow chow and mustard sauce. Chef Michael Harr makes the chow chow with a mixture of cabbage, green tomatoes, peppers and caraway that is then pickled. 

    7015 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda; 301-652-0010

  • Haute Dog at Red Apron Butcher

    Cured-meats maven Nathan Anda makes the all-natural hot dogs by hand using sustainably raised and locally sourced premium beef and pork. The classic Haute Dog sports spicy mustard, ketchup and diced onion ($5) and is usually on the menu, as are a rotating roster of specialty dogs like the Viet Franc, a spicy atomic dog with Vietnamese slaw, salted Thai chiles and citrus aioli ($7), and the Real American Hero, a mortadella dog with iceberg lettuce, pickled peppers, oil and vinegar and salami ($8).

    709 D St. NW, 202-524-5244; 8298 Glass Alley, Fairfax, 703-676-3550

  • Q's Seoul Bulgogi & Kimchi Dog at DC-3

    The Cincinnati Coney topped with chili, cheese and onions is the most popular, but we suggest going for something a bit more international like the Korean-inspired all-beef dog ($4.99) topped with marinated rib-eye bulgogi, pickled kimchi and Sriracha on a buttered, grilled "frankfurt loaf" (aka "bun"). This place also has soft serve and lists cotton candy as a side, and veggie dogs are available as a substitute. 

    428 Eighth St. SE; 202-546-1935

  • Farmers Chili Dog at Founding Farmers

    The hot dog here falls in line with the Foggy Bottom restaurant's commitment to sourcing locally: The beef hot dogs are made by Stachowski's in Georgetown, the buns are made by sister restaurant Farmers Fishers Bakers, the chili is made in-house with seasonal ingredients and it's all garnished with minced yellow onions and Tillamook Cheddar. (We won't quibble with the fact that Tillamook is in Oregon.)

    1924 Pennsylvania Ave. NW; 202-822-8783

  • Chicago Dog at Ivy & Coney

    The owners of this Shaw bar make their hometown allegiances known though their hot dog offerings: a traditional Chicago dog (yes, there are sport peppers and neon relish — and even a poppy-seed bun) or a Detroit/Coney style topped with chili, onion and mustard. Both dogs go for $4 each. The Chicago dog can also be done as a veggie dog, and the vintage-looking bun steamer adds both charm and authenticity. 

    1537 Seventh St. NW; 202-670-9489

  • Mini Frankfurters at Lyon Hall 

    Executive chef Matt Hill makes these dogs with ground short ribs that's first smoked over white oak. The housemade poppy-seed bun is buttered and toasted, and the dog is topped with a homemade caraway sauerkraut and served with Dijon mustard ($8.95 for lunch; $6.50 at happy hour; $10.95 for three at dinner).

    3100 Washington Blvd., Arlington; 703-741-7636

  • All-Beef BBQ Dog at TKO Burger

    It seems that if you serve burgers, you've got to have a hot dog or two on the menu. They just go together so well, right? Such is the case at this newcomer burger joint in Rhode Island Row, which serves two flame-grilled dogs topped with melted cheese, chopped tomatoes, BBQ sauce, arugula and grilled onions ($7.99).

    2350 Washington Pl. NE; 202-733-1216

  • Who Dat Doggy at Vinoteca

    Chef Lonnie Zoeller makes five kinds of dogs in-house, so if the Louisiana-inspired boudin pork dog topped with grilled red onions and rémoulade doesn't make your mouth water, try the chicken dog, the saurkraut-topped frankfurter, the classic American dog or the veggie dog. Buns hail from Lyon Bakery, and each hot dog comes with housemade potato chips ($7 each; $6 at happy hour, which runs daily from 5-7 PM).

    1940 11th St. NW; 202-332-9463

  • Grilled Chili Dog at Clyde's of Gallery Place

    This all-beef dog is topped with beef chili, chopped onions, shredded Vermont Cheddar, crushed Fritos and aji sauce served with french fries for $9.95. Chef Kenny Clay makes the aji sauce with jalapeños, rice wine vinegar, cilantro and scallions, among other things, and makes a beef and bean chili for which he squeezes the canned whole tomatoes by hand.

    707 Seventh St. NW; 202-349-3700

  • Slaw Dog at The Passenger

    This Shaw bar keeps it local by taking a Red Apron hot dog, wrapping it in bacon and topping it with mustard, BBQ sauce and plenty of housemade slaw ($9). Sides are local too: a pickle spear by Gordy's Pickle Jar and a choice of Route 11 chips in flavors of lightly salted, salt and vinegar, dill pickle, sour cream and chive, Chesapeake crab, BBQ, Mama Zuma's revenge and sweet potato.

    1021 Seventh St. NW; 202-393-0220