When visitors think of fast food in New York City, they often think of two things: pizza and hot dogs. And man do we have an awesome selection of both. As a New Yorker, I am not leery about grabbing a "dirty dog" from the corner vendor, or a messy slice from the local pizza joint down the block. But if you're just visiting - especially with kids - it might be best to check out some of "must-try's" that have earned an especially good reputation. Here are some of the best hot dog spots the city has to offer (in ascending order from cheapest to priciest):
Gray's Papaya - This is a local favorite and can be found almost anywhere in the city (my favorite happens to be located in the cool area of 6th Avenue and 8th Street). These dogs are not only delicious, but also served with a friendly smile and very inexpensive. Two of these babies and a drink will only set you back $2.00 a person. On the streets of Manhattan, that's pretty hard to beat!
Katz's Deli - Another great pick, and Kosher to beat! The huge weiners at this Lower East Side establishment are awesome with just the house mustard, but can also stand by themselves. Make sure to ask for them "well done" if you really want the best flavor. Though the line can get a little long at times (always an indicator of good eats!), these dogs are definitely worth the wait. Expect to pay more than Gray's however...$3.10 for their basic frankfurter. 205 E. Houston Street, one block from the Thompson LES hotel.
Shake Shack - Although best known for their burgers, this Manhattan institution offers a very tasty dog as well. Make sure to try their corn dogs if visiting during the summer - they give the ShakeBurger a run for its money! Their basic New York Dog is $3.75, and but prices can range as high as $5.75 for a single hot dog. It's flagship location can be found at the southeast corner of Madison Square Park, an easy stroll from the Gramercy Park Hotel on Lexington. Madison Ave & East 23rd Street.
Hallo Berlin Food Wine & Garden Beer Hall - If non-American fare is what you're in the mood for, walk through Hell's Kitchen and have a German style dog at 10th Avenue and 44th St, close to the Travel Inn Hotel. The priciest of them all, these smaller size weiners wrapped in a thick sourdough bun have great flavor. My favorite, the Berliner Currywurst, has a nice kick to it, and goes down nicely with one of the many German beers on their menu. 626 10th Avenue
Of course, if you venture out of New York City and into to Coney Island, Nathan's Hot Dogs are a must have...along with some cheesy fries for full effect. Grab a napkin and enjoy!
- Carol Cain of NYCityMama.com