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Kruse Report: Hot dogs go from humble to high-end

Chefs from coast to coast are fancying franks with high-quality meats and inventive toppings

Editor’s Note: In The Kruse Report, a feature on, food trend expert Nancy Kruse looks at what’s shaping menus across the country.

Some analysts credit chef Daniel Boulud with kicking off the current hot dog revival, citing sausages like the all-beef DB’s Dog on the menu of his casual New York City restaurant DBGB Kitchen & Bar. Others point to the strong influence of local market specialists, like Doug Sohn, owner of the seminal Hot Doug’s in Chicago, as prime movers behind the trend.

It’s also possible that hot dogs are benefiting from strong tailwinds provided by the runaway success of better burger purveyors, who have breathed new life into another long-running sandwich standard. No matter what the driving force, the result is a rediscovery of an enduring classic that’s moved the hot dog out of the ballpark and into the limelight.

They include high-end offerings, like Kobe beef dogs at JapaDog in Vancouver, Canada, or Hot Doug’s franks made with duck and venison. At Social Eatz in New York, celebrity chef Angelo Sosa tops organic chicken dogs with a sake-spiked cheese sauce.

Wieners with humbler aspirations include Sonic Drive-In’s New York dog with sauerkraut and the mini chili-cheese dogs at Buffalo Wild Wings.

An entire sub-category of hot dogs offers them as conveyors of incendiary spices. Among those is the Hot Bollywood with spicy chutney at Dirty Frank’s in Columbus, Ohio, and the Chili-Slaw Dog at Gus’s in Birmingham, Ala.

A hot dog’s even on the menu at Los Angeles’s famous Kogi BBQ taco truck. It offers a hot dog topped with its signature spicy pork.

See even more new and innovative hot dogs.

Contact Nancy Kruse at [email protected].

TAGS: Menu
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