Massachusetts: Hot Dog Ranch
> City: Pittsfield
A longtime favorite in Pittsfield, in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts (there is a second location in nearby North Adams), Hot Dog Ranch is famous for its “baby hot dogs” — a Pittsfield specialty since a restaurant owner in town first had them made specially by a local butcher. They’re just over four inches long, part beef and part pork, grilled and served with mustard, chopped onions, and a chili-like sauce.
Michigan: Lafayette Coney Island
> City: Detroit
This unpretentious 1914-vintage hot-dog-centric diner, which calls itself “the spot for Coneys,” serves a classic version — a beef-and-pork frank with yellow mustard, chopped onions, and plenty of meaty Coney sauce. Chili cheese fries are the recommended accompaniment. One Yelp reviewer seemed to be speaking for many of Lafayette’s fans when he wrote “Hands down the best coney dog, and coney experience, in the United States.”
Minnesota: The Wienery
> City: Minneapolis
A decades-old family-owned neighborhood diner, The Wienery features 18 different dog variations, all made with Vienna all-beef franks (or tofu dogs, if you insist). Some examples: Mr. Sunshine (spicy giardiniera sauce and cheese), Picnic Dog (baked beans, cheese, and coleslaw), and Maxwell Street (fried onions, green peppers, and sport peppers).
Mississippi: Hot Dog Man
> City: Vicksburg
At this bare-bones take-out place near the Yazoo River Canal separating Mississippi from Louisiana, you can get a chili cheese dog, a small Frito pie, a soft drink, and chips or a cookie for under $6. An “old fashioned dog” goes for $1.50 with some combination of catsup, mayo, mustard, relish, onions, krаut, or jalapenos.
Missouri: Steve’s Hot Dogs
> City: St. Louis
Steve Ewing, frontman for the popular local band The Urge, launched a hot dog cart in 2008, opening an actual restaurant three years later. All-beef franks from Nathan’s Famous are the basis for about a dozen variations including the Bacon Bacon Jamaican (bacon, pepper jack, jerk seasoning, bell peppers, and honey chipotle BBQ sauce) and the Gorilla Mac & Cheese (mac’n’cheese, bacon, and French’s fried onions). And there’s a build-your-own option.