Known for its empanadas and fritas cubanas, Miami might not seem like a hot-dog hotbed, but frankly, delicious takes on the formerly all-American classic exist. You just have to know where to look.
Prodigious beef-and-bun combinations can be found at restaurants that are turning the standard ketchup-mustard-relish ménage à trois into a more gourmet affair. Unlikely places like Asian-inspired Sakaya Kitchen tops its dog with homemade kimchee and crisp tater tots, while Dogma and House of Dog — artisanal joints focused on the frankfurter — continue to celebrate the hot dog via creative interpretations.
Though they vary in flavor, inspiration, size, and form, Miami’s breed of dogs surpasses expectations on so many levels. Ten of the best are below.
10. Los Verdes
Stop at one of Los Verdes’ many South Florida locations for Colombian-style hot dogs. The choriperro ($6.75) features a juicy Colombian sausage on a bun with mozzarella cheese, bacon, smashed potato chips, and a plethora of delectable flavorings, including pink, green, and special pineapple sauces. Plain Janes can order the simple perro ($5.50) for a regular hot dog. Everything goes best with a side of crinkle-cut fries ($2.75).
9. La Perrada de Edgar
Countries collide to construct one wiener-ific list at La Perrada de Edgar. Here, perros calientes are inspired by different nations, from France and Greece to Mexico and Brazil. Although the Colombian may be the most popular, go for the Super Edgar ($5.99), named for owner Edgar Gomez. Shrimp, crab, mozzarella, and a host of sauces are assembled atop a frank on a bun for a combo that brings you the best of both land and sea.
8. Arbetter's Hot Dogs
Respect the longevity of this Westchester restaurant that can pull off a simple fast-food menu at cheap prices for more than 50 years. So what exactly goes into constructing flawless frankfurters? In the case of Arbetter’s late founder Bob Arbetter and his relatives, who now carry on his legacy, a whole lot of deliciousness. It’s proven in the tangy relish hot dog ($2.40) and the famed sauerkraut dog with mustard ($2.25), but the chili onion dog ($2.45) is as good as it gets, especially when it’s flanked by a mountain of chili cheese fries ($3.75).
7. House of Dog
If its moniker or retro-grunge interior doesn’t give any hint about what House of Dog is into, the titular food proves this place means business. At this Miami Beach dive bar, all dogs are kosher and injected with beer, all buns are toasted, and all specialty dogs are to-die-for. Let the Ninja ($7) steal your heart with its surprising blend of pineapple, sautéed mushrooms, teriyaki, and wasabi aioli. You can’t go wrong with anything you order here, but one thing is certain: Nothing pairs better with beer-infused dogs than some craft beer to get the whole House of Dog experience.
6. Miami Smokers
The hot dogs at this pork-product emporium are not for the faint of heart and require a large appetite. Dubbed “sausage sandwiches” for a more sophisticated approach to the basic dog, they each come on a baguette that holds favorites such as Italian sausage ($9) and Okeechobee wild boar ($9). Bite into a spicy Thai sausage ($9), topped with spicy mayo, cilantro, pickle slaw, and crushed nuts, for a little heat in your meal. Wrap some bacon around your sausage of choice for $3.