When it comes to hot dogs, Minnesota is no slouch. From hand-crafted, gourmet links to dogs piled high with unique combinations of ingredients, you’re sure to find a frank to delight your taste buds in the North Star State. Here are our 8 favorite hot dog joints in Minnesota.
Last year, WCCO-CBS viewers declared that this unassuming grocery and meat locker tucked into the southwest corner of the state makes the best hot dog in the state. Given that Leota is far closer to South Dakota than to the Twin Cities-based TV station, V&M Grocery and Locker boasts a statewide draw, smoking around 60,000 franks a year in a town of fewer than 200 people.
A Northeast Minneapolis fixture for decades, Uncle Franky’s is consistently voted one of the Twin Cities favorite hot dogs. Folks in the north and west suburbs can save themselves a schlep by checking in at the Fridley location, or in Plymouth, where they have live music Thursday-Saturday nights. When you go to Franky’s, you need only know two words: Chicago dog. That is all.
Wienery probably offers the broadest hot-dog-centric menu in the Twin Cities, complementing its wide variety of wieners with other draws like all-day breakfast. But you don’t have to settle for one or the other at this West Bank hole in the wall: Order the Upsetter to get bacon and an egg cooked-to-order on your dog.
One of the most popular Minnesota takes on the Coney Island can be found at the Gopher Bar in St. Paul’s Lowertown. This Twin Cities hot dog fixture comes buried under onions and cheese. As the neighborhood gentrifies, filling with artists and fancy foodies, the Gopher has dug in its divey claws and stubbornly continues to feed franks and fries to anyone with cash (only).
A fixture in St. Cloud’s historic downtown district, Dolsie’s is a mom and pop establishment that caters to the quick lunches that downtown workers need. The food may come up quickly, but Dolsie’s skimps on nothing when it comes to their hot dogs. The Strami Dog is two meals in one, topped with shaved pastrami and Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Russian dressing. Skip breakfast on Dolsie’s dog days.
If it’s possible to have a neighborhood bar in the middle of a major downtown area, Eli’s is it. A comfortable nook where techies take their happy hours and condo-dwellers eat their dinners, Eli’s has a complete menu section devoted to hot dogs. There’s no better way to end a late night at the bar than by ordering a Big Ben, with bacon and melted cheddar, to wash down with your last beer.
Natedogs is a food truck, so it won’t be in the same spot on any given day. However, the locally-sourced, skin-on, pork hot dogs are so good they’re worth the chase. Winner of much local and national acclaim, Natedogs are so good, you can eat them plain.
Yes, this list goes to 11… That’s because once a week, you can grab an awesome, cheap dog at a place with one of the Cities’ best happy hours. Every Sunday (only on Sundays and only in the bar) Rudolph’s serves up $2 all-beef, kosher hot dogs on a big, fluffy roll with brown mustard. Most Sundays, chili is the soup du jour, so always add chili and cheese to that bad boy for an extra buck.