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Southern Hot Dog Quest (SHDQ)

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I'm soliciting for all the good Southern hot dog places I can find. This Quest was somewhat prompted by a post by Tom-Fl (chowhound.com/south/boards/south/messages/8644.html).

To qualify, the places must have its own housemade chili or chili sauce and sweet chopped onion at least, with finely chopped slaw an almost essential. You can order a chili dog, a slaw dog or "all the way" with both, along with mustard and onions. In at least one place (Betty's, below), all hot dogs, except plain, come with chili, even the slaw dog; you can get a slaw-only dog there, but you must specify.

Most small Southern towns have at least one such local institution: usually a lunch counter, soda fountain or drive in; maybe only open Monday through Saturday for breakfast and lunch, closing by 2 or 3 PM (maybe closing at 1 PM on Wednesday or Saturday so the owner can make his tee time); usually with multi-generational customers including the mayor, the mechanic, a deputy or policeman, the farmer and his son or daughter in town for the day, the painter and the drywall guys, and an insurance agent, all of whom have wives who don't understand how they could eat that stuff; has been around for at least 40 years with the customers not letting the owner retire or the "kids" now running the place with the waitress who has been there for 22+ years; after breakfast, may only offer hot dogs, hamburgers (with or without gravy), country ham, sweet tea, RC and/or "Co-Cola" (maybe still in the little bottles, and never Pepsi) with fried pies on the counter next to the potato chip rack; may have burned down at least once and has been rebuilt; may still have the small segregation-era side entrance which anyone uses now especially for take-out that is much of the business; you get a check or you tell whoever's at the register what you had; it does not have a web presence and, if it's mentioned anywhere on the web, it's cited in that state's legislative body in the form of a commendation for its longevity; and it may or may not have a phone, but certainly not a fax.

The best I've ever had was at Wilkerson's (gone) in downtown Augusta with its hot mustard and the entire police force taking turns for lunch. Some operative notables are: Brad's and Dixie Club in Dothan, 4-Way Lunch in Cartersville (I've got a print of the place hanging in my kitchen and one of their black caps), Betty's in Marietta (current favorite), Dinglewood Pharmacy in Columbus, Nu-Way in Macon, Weaver's in London, Warren's in Greenville, Roast Grill and Snoopy's in Raleigh, Shorty's in Wake Forest, Kannon's in Zebulon, Frank's in Columbia, Georgia Street in Fountain Inn, Garo's in Knoxville, Moore's in Lynchburg, and Hometown in Clarksburg.

Please contribute to the list with your favorites. Double points if it's a pool hall.



Need NOT apply (in no particular order): Texas weiners or wieners, rippers and cremators, coneys of any ilk, white hots and red hots, NY System, Chicago-style, deep-fried, split and griddled, pig-in-blanket, Texas Tommy, Dirty Dog, char-broiled, gaggers, scrambled, all-beef (we like our assorted piggy parts), brats, Italian, Polish, Newark, Buffalo, Rhode Island-style (weird little dogs), Hummell, Sabrett, Schmalz, Miller, Schultz, Koegel, Best.

These may be fine examples in their own right and may have admirers, but they're not what I'm looking for.

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  1. Mankin's in Holden Beach has been making foot long hot dogs with chili, mustard, onions and slaw for years. See picture.

    RO's in Gastonia is best known for BBQ, but their hotdogs with their unique slaw are fantastic.

    Link: http://rosbbq.com/whole.htm

    Image: http://home.nc.rr.com/blewgo/mankins.jpg

    1. Chris' Hot Dogs on Dexter Avenue just two blocks down from the State Capital(known locally as Goat Hill) and one block from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. You can see everybody from the governor to the street sweeper having lunch there. Been there for over 80 years.

      Haven't lived in Montgomery for almost 30 years but always stop at Chris' when I'm back.

      Link: http://go.montgomeryadvertiser.com/fe...

      1. Sadly, Franks in Columbia is long gone and replaced by a diner. As a student, I had many a dog and the coldest beer in town at that place. The other choice in that town is Sandy's which is now a small chain. Though it remains good, It pales in comparison to a Frank's dog. But, it is all that is left.

        There used to be a bar in Columbia called Tally Ho that served a Chili Slaw dog that they called a Ho Dog. By my memory, it was mighty good. But, I was always mighty drunk when I was eating them. The 'Ho too has disappeared as a result of progress.

        There also used to be a place in downtown Augusta called Sunshine Bakery that served a dog with kraut, swiss and mustard on a soft dark rye roll. Different, but good. Don't know id its even around anymore.

        After a visit to Pinks in Los Angeles recently, I more convinced that a southern slaw dog is the finest of the species. Slaw wasn't even an option there though Pastrami and a tortilla was...go figure.

        1 Reply
        1. re: YourPalWill

          Some of the best dogs I've ever eaten, bar none, are at a little mom and pop bar inside a shopping mall in Gatlinburg, TN. It's called Ryan's Pub in the Mountain Mall. OK, it's in the middle of a major tourist mecca but the dogs are out of this world!

          Ryan's has Hell Dogs and Nuclear Dogs (Heat level one through five). They start with quarter pound Oscar Mayer beef franks slowly cooked. A Nuclear Dog has swiss cheese, several kinds of hot sauce, jalapeons and onions along with a sprinkle of pizza sauce. Nuclear Dog novices should start with #1 and have plenty of cold liquid handy because they're hot enough to blister porcelain. They are so delicious one of the first things I do when I get to Gatlinburg is have a Nuclear Dog. Hell Dogs are cheese dogs smothered with bottled Hell Sauce and onions...also very, very good! There are wash tubs full of iced longnecks inside, grab at least one if you're sampling the Nuclear or Hell Dogs (buttermilk puts out the fire even faster).

          No, it's not fancy but it's spicy hot dog eatin' at its best!

        2. What are you Hounds talking about? You've discounted some of the best quality dogs made in this country. Yet not once did you explain what your favorite dog is actually made of. All you keep telling us is they have slaw on them. What else, if anything, is on a "Southern" dog. What type of roll.

          Who manufacturers these dogs? I have no idea and been in Florida for 25 years. Is this "Southern" dog beef or all meat? A natural casing or skinless? Grilled, steamed, fried, char-broiled? What's the slaw like?

          WHAT ARE YOU PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT??? Correct me if I'm wrong. Doesn't a West Virginia dog come with slaw, too? I seem to remember a Hound extolling the virtues of West Virginia's hot dog several months ago.

          I'm use to a all beef natural casing dog that I can grill. Thankfully, I can get them at Publix - Nathan's Natural Casing All Beef or Boar's Head All Beef.

          When I am fortunate enough to get back to the homeland "NJ" (Capital of the World's Best Hot Dogs) it's a deep fried all meat, natural casing dog (Texas Weiner) or a Sabrette or Nathan's all beef, natural casing, grilled dog.

          How one discounts any of these is beyond my comprehension, but I'm all ears. Educate me.....

          4 Replies
          1. re: Chuck

            I don't think anyone is discounting other dogs,but looking for this particular experience.

            I also love all those you mentioned,as well as the great Chicago product.The "hot guts" of Tx with some mustard,japs,and onion are not to be missed.

            The image may come from small souhern towns where the ladies could go to the "tea room" for chicken or ham salad,pimento cheese,chips and a coke.

            The family would go to the local "diner" for about five versions of "meat & threes" and extra sweet iced tea.Might get homemade biscuits or cornbread,dependin' on the day of the week.Gravy came with everything.

            The men, and boys when they made the "right of passage "to young manhood,could go to the town pool hall.

            You could buy tobacco products and you could chew.

            You could discuss the ball teams,crops,fishin'and huntin' and politics.

            Many of these only had a simple boiled or steamed,what we would now consider skinless,hotdog.

            They came on a cheap,white hotdog roll[the way pulled pork comes on a cheap white hamburger bun].

            They would squirt some cheap yellow mustard on the bun,the dog,a little homemade meat sauce,a few bites of onion and maybe you could get slaw-when they had it.

            People could be seen with carryout orders in the dozens.

            If it was a wet county,this would be the place in town you could get a beer.If not it might be a Neehi or RC Cola.

            Sorry to be so long,but maybe this helps a little.

            1. re: Chuck

              Chuck, you raise some good points. Having grown up in the south and spent a number of years in both New York City burbs of New Jersey and now Chicago, I understand your devotion to the all beef Sabrett.

              On it's own or in a hotdog where it is showcased by only a little mustard or some onions in sauce, the Sabrett is a great dog. In fact, I've never really met a hotdog that I didn't like.

              To answer your question about the sloppy southern dawg, I think that a good quality pork frank is your best bet. Unlike those crispy delicious thin all beef dogs that you get at a place like Papaya King or Gray's in Manhattan, the southern dog is not the exclusive star of the show on the Carolina Slaw dawg bun.

              The southern dawg gets a good squirt of yellow mustard, a layer of creamy cole slaw, a thin layer of spicy chili and a sprinkle of minced onion. The beauty of the Carolina slaw dawg is the way that all of those things meld together into fat man's happiness. What you end up with is integrated layers of cold and hot, sweet and spicy that all just work together better than you could imagine.

              A beef dog from the streets of New York would be too bold in a sloppy Carolina slaw dog. It would throw off the natural balance of the melding of ingredients that goes on in a Carolina Slaw dog.

              Sadly for me, here in the Windy City, my only hope for a Carolina Slaw Dog comes out of my own kitchen. It's a labor love to make your own chili (god forbid, don't use that canned stuff)just for a stinking hot dog that you could get at nearly any service station back home.

              Next time, you're in Greenville, SC, try the HotDog King on Main. It ain't bad either.

              1. re: YourPalWill

                Ok! I now understand what's to be expected when one orders a "Southern Dog" I'd try one - It is just that I've always enjoyed the hot dog itself and considered the stuff that went on top of it as some "extra pleasure"

                Hey, to each his own. Thanks again for taking the time to educate me and anybody else who was unfamiliar with this type of hot dog - You learn something every day about food.

              2. re: Chuck

                Southern hot dog chili has "no beans". How about chili up North?

              3. For something that will make any hotdog good (even veggie dogs) you need to try some mustard chow chow. It is available locally around Charlotte.

                "Best thing on yer dawgs, 'cept your lips"

                Link: http://www.hawgeyesbbq.com/mcclg.jpg

                1 Reply
                1. re: Raine

                  This comes from a top competition barbecue cook and all around chef, who should know good.

                2. The Ice House in Georgetown, SC has the best hot dogs. The chili is made by the lady that owns it. Ask anyone from the SC coast.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Richie

                    And the Ice House is an ice house, where they make ice. Seems many of the small low country towns still have them, guess it goes back to the days before the 'fridge. The one in G-town has a series of waist high tile bins that run the length of the front of the store. Each one if filled with a different beverage iced down to the max. You dig down and grab your drinks and freeze your hand off doing it. The dog cooker/bun steamer and a crockpot full of chilli sit up by the cash register. They make 'em to order and wrap individually in a big sheet of white paper. Also, you can get bait and 50lb bags of ice at 4am before heading offshore for a day of fishing if you need. Many times I've grabbed 2 'all the way' and a drink and headed up 17 toward the beaches, kinda driving with your knee and munching a messy dog.... much easier to do in the late 70's/early 80's before traffic got heavier. Its not just a dog, its an adventure! And to the Columbia post earlier about the Tally Ho - it was across the street from Williams Bryce stadium and boy was it an experience to go there on the days of USC home games. Cold beer, dogs and beach music while getting ready for the game..... don't get no better.

                    1. re: EP

                      Thanks for the reply and confirmation. The old lady that makes the chili and owns it is actually my grandmother. Go by there and see her. She loves to see people enjoy her hot dog chili.

                  2. Green's in Charlotte

                    Skin Thrasher's in Anderson SC

                    Andy and Greg's in Charlotte is now closed due to Greg's death last month. Best dog in Charlotte for 48 years.

                    1 Reply
                    1. I guess the Varsity is too "high falutin'" now that it has its own web site but you can not mention a "hot dog joint" w/o including it.
                      I am keeping a list of all the places mentioned & plan to check them out. Is Kannon's in Zebulon, NC or GA?

                      Link: http://www.thevarsity.com/

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Lan4Dawg

                        My favorite thing about the Varsity chili dog is that you can enjoy its flavor for hours after you eat it. Chuckle.

                        1. re: Lan4Dawg

                          had to wait awhile for this reply!! kannons was in zebulon, nc. where i grew up. man those hot dogs were good. the chilli had very little meat but loaded with onions. and you couldn't taste the first one. unfortunetly the owners had to close quite a few years ago. the hound dog opened in it's place. the chilli is similiar but the first ones i got were the last ones i got. tasted them all day long.

                        2. I am partial to the Euclid Avenue Yacht Club's Georgia dog. (don't let the fancy name fool you, they had to take out their pool table a while back because too many people were being beaten with pool cues)

                          Hot dog topped with Brunswick Stew. Don't know why I've not seen it before.

                          1. The Lexington-style barbecue joints in the piedmont region of NC offer a dog that is somewhat unique to the area. They're started with a rather thin pork/chicken/beef sausage that has a dark pink to red casing. They look like skinny red hots, but carry no heat. Most are produced by Curtis Meat Packing in Greensboro or Jesse Jones of Raleigh's Goodmark Foods group. The bun follows the tenents of the barbecue sandwiches in the area-cheap and white. Add yellow mustard, chopped onions, and homemade chili. What makes these dogs different is the addition of "barbecue", i.e. red slaw. Good eatin'.

                            1. Yum Yum in Greensboro, NC. I didn't get to try it as they were closed, but from the outside it looked like an old-time classic. Several people in the area had recommended it to me. They also make their own ice creme and carry Cheerwine, which I'm told is a must to drink with your hot dog.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: mistermike

                                I first ate at Yum Yum about 60 years ago and I still go to eat their dogs and great shakes.
                                Steamed bun, mustard, chili, onions and some hot sauce does it for me. I'll take four and a coke and then a shake to go. I moved from there 30 years ago but always go back and eat there each time I return. I knew the original owners, and members of the family still own and run the place. Probably at least the 4th generation by now. Stop by and get some....you'll be glad you did !!!

                              2. Well, it is!

                                1. Hooper's in Sylva, NC (1 hour southwest of Asheville, in Jackson County). Also try the root beer floats.

                                  1. Squeky's in Chapel Hill, NC. It's in the Bank of American Building on Franklin St. and is just a stand. Open M-F, Squeky also sells veggie dogs and veggie chili. Super cheap, too.

                                    1. Try Ike's Korner Grill in Spartanburg, SC (with a side order of fresh cut fries) and Roughouse Hot Dogs in Abbeville, SC.

                                      1. Green's in Charlotte as mentioned below is good, but if I'm on a haj for the best chili dog, all roads lead to Arbetter's in South Miami, FL. It doesn't get any better. Have two CO's (chili and onions) a root beer and an order of fries, sit back and think you are in 1950. I hadn't been back in 10 years, and when I ate there last year I was prepared to be disapointed, but it was as good as I remembered.

                                        1. I vote for Willies Weenie Wagon in Brunswick, GA. They serve really good hotdogs in many different ways as well as a very good pork chop sandwich with a tall sweet iced tea for about $5. Unfortunately, they are always so crowded for lunch, it takes 15 minutes standing in line to get a dog sometimes, so its not for when you are in a hurry, but they are quite good.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: Michelle

                                            I agree with michelle that Willies in Brunswick is well worth visiting. Chilli dog, Slaw Dog, Willie Dog, Bull Dog, Pork Chop Samich, Big Willie steak or Willie Burger.

                                            1. re: gone

                                              Willies is still the best in South Ga. Especially for dogs & pork chop sandwiches which are a little off topic, but tasty.

                                            2. re: Michelle

                                              So glad to see Willies Weenie Wagon get mentioned. We can't visit St.Simons without a trip to Brunswick to get a pork chop sandwich for my husband. A true souther classic.

                                            3. Bill's in Washington, NC is a must. Warren's in Greenville ripped off their chili recipe. Bill's is the original! I think they only serve hot dogs, chips, and bottled soda. They have been in business since the 1920's.

                                              PB's in Winston-Salem, NC is also fantastic. Grilled hot dog, toasted bun....perfect.

                                              9 Replies
                                              1. re: marshmallow78

                                                3 others

                                                Zack's - Burlington, NC
                                                You can also get an Alamance County cheese dog - made same as a hot dog but with cheese instead of the dog - comes on a steamed bun and is quite good. I dont think you can get this anywhere else in the world.

                                                Dick's Hot dog's - Wilson, NC

                                                Paschal's Grill - Durham, NC

                                                I had forgotten about Kannon's in Zebulon.

                                                1. re: steveindurham

                                                  Anyone know what the story is with Kannon's?

                                                  I made a detour through Zebulon on my way to Greenville, but the address for Kannon's I found on the 'Net is occupied by the Hound Dog Cafe. Is this the same resto under a new name/new ownership, or has Kannon's been relegated to the pages of history?

                                                  1. re: mclaugh

                                                    relegated to the pages of history i'm afraid. you really missed a treat , too. i grew up in zebulon eating those. we didn't know how good we had it then. thought kannons would be there forever. the hound dog doesn't even come close.

                                                  2. re: steveindurham

                                                    Does Paschal's Grill still exist? I can't find any reference to it online.


                                                    1. re: steveindurham

                                                      If you're going to have a dog in Burltown, you gotta go to Boston's, which is around the corner from Zack's. The chili is less greasy and their burgers -- all the way with chili, onions, mustard and slaw -- are exceptional. I make a point of driving an hour (from Raleigh) at least once a month.

                                                      And Don't forget the Roast Grill in Raleigh. I just snarfed three all the way on Saturday. And you gotta love the signage outside " HOT WEINERS".

                                                      1. re: steveindurham

                                                        Another great hot dog place is Shorty's Hot Dogs in Wake Forest NC. I agree Pachall's hot dogs are some of the best I have ever had. I wish I had Paschal's chii recipe!

                                                        1. re: steveindurham

                                                          Jim's in Graham also makes a great Alamance County cheese dog. Get it all the way.

                                                        2. re: marshmallow78

                                                          I second this recommendation for Bill's and Warren's. They split and season the dogs with a spicy marinade before frying them and then covering them with a "chili" which is nothing like chili. It's more of a onion based slaw without cabbage. Its black peppery and tart. Completely different and outstanding! Both places are great, but Bill's is the original, Warren's is version 2.0. Both only serve simple dogs, chips and soda.

                                                          1. re: marshmallow78

                                                            The Dog House in High Point, NC is by far the best I found after 12 years in the Triad area.

                                                          2. I second the Bill's in Washington. The original Paul's Place near Wilmington meets all the criteria, especially with the homemade or unique Chilli sauce, theirs doesn't have meat. It was a recipe developed during WW 2 when hamburger and meats were rationed . Although it doesn't meet all of the original posters qualifications, I really enjoy The Trolley Stop at Wrightsville Beach.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: BBQJoe

                                                              Pauls Place is a landmark around these parts. It's on NC 133 just north of the New Hanover County line in Rocky Point, NC.

                                                              I would second Trolly Stop (no "e" in Trolly).

                                                            2. If memory serves, Five Points Diner, the place that took Frank's Hot Dogs spot, serves the same dogs that Frank did. They are on the spicy side, with a deep color skin.

                                                              Frank's was good stuff.

                                                              1. Hot Dog Heaven on Broad River Rd. in Columbia has a good selection of hot dogs.

                                                                1. The Varsity is tops and will never be too high falutin. A Varsity chili dog covered in onions, with a side of the best onion rings on earth, can't be beat!

                                                                  Other great places:
                                                                  Charlie Joseph's in LaGrange, GA
                                                                  Chris' Hot Dogs in Montgomery, AL

                                                                  1. In Raleigh & Morrisville (RTP area) of NC

                                                                    -Snoopy's three locations-wake forest rd, and two on either end of hillsborough street, classic raleigh grub/carolina dogs with the chili & beanless slaw. If you can get their fries hot-they are pretty good for crinkle cut, if they are frozen they don't taste it.

                                                                    a stone's throw from the Snoopy's on Hillsborough & Glenwood is the Roast Grill, which I enjoy more for the atmosphere than the taste-but it is a tiny dive with a small lunch counter and they do nothing but dogs. Not the most friendly place, but that is fine with me. I want to eat, not make friends.

                                                                    The Dog House in Morrisville (and Durham) is also a fave. What makes this place so cool is they've taken the name to heart, all the hot dogs have doggie names "the shepard" etc, Their regular carolina style dog is great, but I dig the Chiuhaha which is a bit spicier. Their baked beans rock-a big cup full with some fatback and saltines--yum!

                                                                    Cloo's at Mission Valley on Avent Ferry rd near NC State has kick ass dogs, though they are detroit style "coneys", good homeade fries.

                                                                    I have always wanted to try the "Community Grocery" aka "Community Gro" on Oberlin, but I never seem to get their when they are open.

                                                                    As for the Yum Yum's recommendation in GSO, I second that. They are the scarey hot pink dogs, but they just taste so damn good with slaw, onions, and chili dripping down your arm with a nice real bottle of coke (and if you are in GSO, make a trip to the infamous Beef Burger and also Hayble's Hearth oh and Stamey's)

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: RaleighRocker

                                                                      Another interesting note on the famous Roast Grill...NO KETCHUP. Owner won't allow it. You can BYOK, but you have to eat outside...

                                                                    2. Oh yeah PB's in Winston dogs rock, I think I hit a satellite location right outside of the city. The toasted buns made them special.

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: RaleighRocker

                                                                        In Winston Salem, Pulliams BBq near the airport is the best. They still wrap the in a napkin if they're to go. (The old Tom's Drive In was great too with home made ice cream, but has been gone for a while). Second on PB's.
                                                                        Rocker, if the location outside W-S you speak of is in Clemmons, it is JB's and not affiliated.

                                                                        1. re: jlwnc

                                                                          CANT LEAVE OUT THE DINE IN CAR NEXT TO THE AIRPORT, WHERE BACK IN THE DAY YOU COULD EAT AND SNUGGLE IN THE DARK UNDER THE TREES.
                                                                          OH THOSE WERE THE DAYS

                                                                        2. re: RaleighRocker

                                                                          Yes, you can't eat just one at Pulliam's. They are definitely the BEST!!! (and Tom's was great, too back in the day!) PB's is good. But, I'm still for Pulliam's! My grandad got me hooked on Pulliam's!

                                                                        3. I want to recommend the Coney Island Sandwich Shop on 9th St. N. in St. Petersburg, FL. They only serve one dog there though. It is a coney dog which has onions, mustard and coney sauce on it. Part of the draw here is that this is a luncheonette right out of the 1920s. It was opened I believe in 1926 and still looks like it did then. Heck, up until a few years ago, they only served soft drinks that came in bottles.

                                                                          They may have be the best coney dogs ever but the experience of the whole package is tremendous.


                                                                          1. This isn't a recommendation - it's a question. I am moving to East Tennessee and there are two local chains that seem to specialize in hot dogs - Pals and Sammons. Are either of them worth trying for a newbie who wants to experience a southern dog?

                                                                            1. I second the rec for Skin Thrasher's (locals just call it Skin's) in Anderson, SC -- they also now have locations in Greenville and Clemson but the original is the best. It *used* to be a pool hall: does that count? No slaw, but I promise you won't care. Four items on the menu: hot dogs, chips, bottled Coke, beer. That's it. In fact, I just decided what I'm having for dinner tonight. They're open until 6:50 (just one of life's little mysteries).

                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Jillson66

                                                                                Thirded. Dad used to take me to Skin's when I was a kid. Skins really is an institution. Local and State politicians have a way of making it a stop on their campaign trail.

                                                                                1. re: Antithesisofpop

                                                                                  Fourth for Skins's in Anderson, Greenville location is close sencond but the original is worth the drive , if you can find it in Anderson..

                                                                                  Also, Bee Bee's in Greenville on Laurens Road--Wish I was therefor one, but they don't have the beach, so guess I'll cook them for lunch..

                                                                                  1. re: brusmama

                                                                                    Skin's is the best around the upstate. They now serve slaw, at least in Clemson they do.

                                                                                    1. re: TBKlNG

                                                                                      One more vote for Skin's. I love a good hot dog but can't stand a bad one - the ones that stay with you just a bit longer than you'd like.. Anyway, I like to get 3-4 all the way (chili, mustard, and onions) on the nice wram bun that is split on the top. I usually will get a small side of slaw to put on one or two but you can't beat the basic chili dog with mustard and onions - and maybe a little Texas Pete. You also have to get a Coke in the glass bottle to get the complete experience. I have had dogs at a lot of notable places - The Varsity in Atlanta, The Original in Pittsburgh, Nu-Way in Macon, the Beacon in Spartanburg, the old Frank's in Columbia, Papaya King, and maybe a couple of others - but Skin's is my favorite, followed by Nu-Way. One other place I'd like to mention is in Zebulon, NC. It is Smithfield's Barbecue. This is a regional chain and is mostly a fried chicken and barbecue place but I do love their dogs.

                                                                                      1. re: sprice

                                                                                        I know a lot of folks like Skins, but to me they are very bland, almost tasteless. The last location I tried (Mauldin) served only Pepsi products and bottled tea. No sweet tea. No Coke. No thanks.

                                                                              2. Stew Slaw dog from Harold's BBQ in Atlanta, it's unreal....

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: Katj

                                                                                  glens in kannapolis,nc or brians in china grove,nc both places are within 5 miles of each other offer superb "dogs" glens you can get them all the way "mustard chili slaw and onion which is what we all have always called "all the way" and brians which serves no slaw but is just a little lunch counter.couple of other notable places if you are ever in this area are
                                                                                  lane street bbq, or gary's bbq or lee's sandwich shop on central drive kannapolis,come to think about it this old mill town has many good places to grab a "dog" or "q"

                                                                                2. I would add skippy's newly located in downtown iwnston. I personally think their pretzel buns are a little too doughy, their dogs are delicious and the carolina dog is great. listed on the menue as an all the way dog. http://www.skippyshotdogs.com/index.html

                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: quazi

                                                                                    You know, I can't believe no one has mentioned Yum Yum's in Greensboro.
                                                                                    I can't find a homepage, but here is a recent review:

                                                                                    and another blog post

                                                                                    (i opt for cheerwine vs. rc)

                                                                                    1. re: RaleighRocker

                                                                                      The absolutely BEST hot dog I've ever had is in Thomasville, GA. (I've tried many!)

                                                                                      The place is called Thomasville Billiard Academy. Yes, it's a POOL HALL!

                                                                                      The locals enjoy going in for a game of pool, have a couple of dogs and maybe a Coke or beer.

                                                                                      The "church" people, who wouldn't "step foot in a pool hall," line up on the street to order their dogs through a window that opens to the street.

                                                                                      I have tried and tried to duplicate their chili. It has no tomato sauce in it, therefore it is a gray color--with the meat in tiny pellets. When they dip it up in a small ladel, it appears it is full of liquid grease, but when the lay it out onto the hot dog and bun, the "grease" disappears! The taste is wonderful. I've come close, but "no cigar!" Think I'll try to make a batch NOW!

                                                                                      Yes, Thomasville was my home town. Maybe I'm jaded. But people come from STATES around just to visit the pool hall and bite one of these dogs.

                                                                                      I live in Atlanta now--but always have a couple or three dogs when I go down to visit family, who still lives there.

                                                                                      If you are ever passing through, 35 miles north of Tallassee, FL, on US 319, stop in! It is located on Broad Street. (The street still has its original "cobblestone" bricks.) You won't be disappointed! (Closed on Sundays....of course! This is still the DEEP SOUTH, don'tcha know!)


                                                                                      1. re: jarnie

                                                                                        Well thank God I am not the only one who LOVES Billard Academy, arnie!

                                                                                        Well of course we are not alone in our devotion to this hot dog and the chili. I too have tried to make the chili without success. They could make a fortune if they would can it and sell it!

                                                                                        Recently I went with a friend, who is a native of Thomasville, to Nu-Way and there was no comparison to the Academy chili dog. Don't get me wrong. Nu-Way was fine and it made the two of us feel better that we live so close the Academy.

                                                                                        I am from Atlanta and cut my teeth on a Varsity dog. The V is an institution and makes a fine dog...but still...

                                                                                        I have had Jimmy's many times in Albany and they are good.

                                                                                        In Madison Florida there is the One Eleven Grill and they have five different fried, all beef dogs, which are tasty.

                                                                                        And in Tallahassee the Jim and Milts at Paradise are excellent. No chili on a Jim and Milts. It'ss BBQ sauce and slaw. Though the slaw makes the dogs a little cold which bums me out a little.

                                                                                        Hope to run into you at Billiard Academy some day!

                                                                                        1. re: jarnie

                                                                                          I'm from Thomasville, too. Live there 27 years. Live in Helen, Ga. area now. Found this forum today bc I was looking to try to make a batch of chili like we get at "The Pool Room." I don't know how they do it, but man does it rock! Sometimes, I just get homesick for it. George and Louie's, a couple of blocks away, has a decent version but it's not the same. Also, There's a place in Baconton -- that's between Albany and Camilla on US 19 -- called Big Dawgs, and they do a decent job, as well They're in the same building as Dollar General and there's nothing else there alongside the road, but a huge old house that's been remodeled and made into a gift shop/city hall.

                                                                                      2. re: quazi

                                                                                        used to live in winston-salem and skippy's and pb's are good,my favorite there used to be a place called flynn's and it was on liberty street,what-a-burger # 10 in kannapolis,,nc,where i live now makes a real decent hotdog,there foot longs are fabulous

                                                                                      3. Sorry, grew up in southwestern CT which seems to have quite a few hot dog devotees on this site. I didn't know any better; that's what hot dogs were!

                                                                                        I'm now in Charlotte and still haven't found a great dog. Still have family send Hummell's from CT. I got used to the slaw on a dog but still haven't gotten used to yellow mustard. People over 5 years old eat yellow mustard?

                                                                                        Sorry, I'll take the flack.

                                                                                        1. Best hotdogs in Roanoke Rapids, NC

                                                                                          Community Drive-In - My fave! Get a pepsi and a hotdog "full-dressed" (onions, slaw, mustard, chili).

                                                                                          2nd Street Grill - - again order it "full'dressed"

                                                                                          Brownings Drive In - a true drive-in. You pull up and the server comes to your car and takes your order.


                                                                                          1. Nu-Way in Macon, Warner-Robins GA

                                                                                            Betty's In Marietta is now Brandi's (same great dogs). Some of the spiciest chili and best sweet tea around.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: flyingtiger

                                                                                              I went to Brandi's last month and must say that they serve up some great hot dogs. Just be warned that the chili is most certainly spicy.

                                                                                            2. Hinton. WV- Kirk's. There is a raging debate about where the recipe for the chili came from- but it seems it was adapted from coal camp recipe. People drive for 2 hours or more to get a Hinton hot dog (there are other versions in town). It is a meaty chili, very dry, lots of onions, subtle seasonings. Also a unique toasted bun.

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                                                                                              1. re: vickijean

                                                                                                Also in Hinton WV - Dairy Queen. I know it's a chain, but the hot dogs at the Hinton Dairy Queen are different. My dad craves them like...I can't think of a good metaphor because the way he craves those hot dogs is indescribable. He grew up in Pipestem WV and went to High School in Hinton. Any time we're in town for any occasion other than Christmas, he has to go to Hinton to get a Dairy Queen hot dog. I've never understood this obsession, personally. He claims it has something to do with the way they toast their buns.

                                                                                              2. Birmingham, Ala., is not a small town, but we have some great hot dog places. The Bham version of "all the way" is kraut, onions, and a slightly-sweet, slightly-spicy sauce. Two excellent versions are found at a couple of hole-in-the-wall, standing-room-only places downtown that have been there for decades: Pete's Famous and Gus' Hot Dogs. Pete's doesn't have chili as such, but does have a sloppy, heart-attack-inducing beef topping instead. Gus' makes a great chili-slaw dog; the chili is more on the dry side and has some heat. Check out the "Sandwiches and Such" listing at www.bhamdining.com or search listings for "hot dogs" for more information.

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: bhamdining

                                                                                                  I second that! Pete's Famous and Gus' are classic. Birmingham's brown sauce is definitely unique to this city, and standing in Pete's with a dog in one hand and a Buffalo Rock or Grapico in the other is a memorable experience. Sneaky Pete's (http://www.sneakypeteshotdogs.com/), a local hot dog chain, has even bottled their version of this sauce. It's not quite as interesting an experience, but the dogs are great there too.

                                                                                                  1. The Dog House in High Point NC consistently makes one of the best HotDogs around.

                                                                                                    1. The best hot dogs I've eaten in SC or Georgia are to be found in Cleveland, SC at the F-Mart. They use a locally made weiner, home made chili with a little kick, fresh buns, mustard and onions. I have eaten at many Clock's, Pete's, the Varsity, etc. and so far in my opinion F-Mart is the best. They have Coke, Pepsi, RC and NEHI in glass bottles which adds to the experience. They also keep some Texas Pete close by. They are closed on Sunday.

                                                                                                      1. The Dew Drop Inn, on Old Shell Road in Mobile, Alabama. Chili dogs and onion rings are excellent, and it's definitely a family venue that fits the bill, offering some of the best dogs in L.A. since the '20s.

                                                                                                        Here in the ATL, make mine a chili-slaw dog, red steak, onion rings and F.O. from the Varsity, tho' I'll back up the recommendation of the Euclid Avenue Yacht Club's Yacht dog. Can't say why, but I always end up having it with the boiled peanuts.

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. re: fyodor

                                                                                                          I can swear to the Dew Drop Inn, eaten there my whole life. Famous for their Hot Dogs, Chili Dogs AND chili cheeseburgers, this is the place Jimmy Buffet wrote that song about.

                                                                                                        2. I can't believe no one has mentioned Jack's Cosmic Dogs just outside Charleston in Mount Pleasant on Highway 17.

                                                                                                          Sam's Corner in Pawleys Island and Garden City made a great hotdog. Cheap deep fried hotdog, white bun, mustard, chili, and slaw.

                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. re: BlueHerons

                                                                                                            Jack' Cosmic Dogs was featured on Food Network on Best thing I ever ate with Alton Brown

                                                                                                          2. Famous Uncle Al's (all over in Virginia Beach, VA)

                                                                                                            1. Please try Zacks Hotdogs in Burlington< North Carolina....they have been doing dogs for 50 years or so, and they make their chili. You will not be able to eat just one...I have been known to eat 6 in my younger days! They get them to you quickly...try the combination (hot dog and cheese) with onions, slaw and chili! Enjoy

                                                                                                              1. Head over to Jess' Quick Lunch in Harrisonburg Va. Their chili dogs have been around for at least 50 years. They are addictive and no one has been able to crack the secret recipe. About 20 years ago the place burnt down and when it reopened 6 months later there was a frenzy in the town with a line several blocks long - everyone had to get their fix, that's how good they are. Go to the Court Square location (pictured) for the best "ambiance".

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                                                                                                                1. re: Mominator5107

                                                                                                                  My mom grew up in Opelika. Everytime I visit, I go to Mrs. Storie's Dairy Bar. We went a couple of months ago and I was there for 4 days and ate at Mrs. Storie's twice! Great hot dogs!

                                                                                                                2. Mrs.Stories Dairy Barn in Opelika, AL. Family owned by a single family for over 50 years! Have them programed as a favorite in my GPS and often a first stop before heading to see the family. Here's a link to a story from East Alabama Living.


                                                                                                                  1. Skeeters in Wytheville, Va.

                                                                                                                    This is the place you've described above. We ended up there last weekend on our trip down for Christmas and were giddy. The place looked like it stopped evolving in the 30's. I swear I was looking for a Delorian out front.
                                                                                                                    "The Works", bun, dog, slather of cheese whiz, slather of mustard, minced onion, chili gruel (Which I assume is made on site) and creamy slaw (Also made on site I assume).

                                                                                                                    Great atmosphere.


                                                                                                                    1. I had to search out this thread because we finally have a really good hot dog place in Jackson, MS! It is called the "Seventh Inning Stretch Chicago Style Hot Dogs" and is located on Lake Harbour Drive in Ridgeland in front of Brookshires.

                                                                                                                      They have really, really good hot dogs with all the right toppings. She doesn't have my favorite listed on the menu (a chili dog with onions and slaw), but she is more than happy to make it (or any other combination) for you- just ask!

                                                                                                                      A really nice place, a really nice lady who runs it, and wonderful hot dogs- who could ask for more? Please check it out- she is new and needs the business!

                                                                                                                      1. I can't believe no one has mentioned Ed's Wannabe Famous Hot Dogs in Charleston, SC. I think they're on Wentworth..yes, they're just West of Jestine's (and slightly connected in some way, I think). They make their own spicy brown mustard. This is also one of the best places to get a cupcake. They're only open for lunch.

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                                                                                                                        1. re: Antithesisofpop

                                                                                                                          I second that! I have their t-shirt, they were that good! :)

                                                                                                                        2. For a trip back in time, visit Tony's in Gastonia. It's an old-fashioned ice cream parlor kind of place with burgers, dogs, fried bologna sandwiches and wonderful milkshakes. There are enough old folks eating there to prove to me eating hot dogs and fres won't kill you!

                                                                                                                          1. Without a doubt, the very best hot dog in the south is at Dawgs On Pelham, Greenville, SC. Located on Pelham Road, this is a jewel. REAL homeade chili. Cut fries. Purple slaw. I love a good hot dog and have been all over the south. Believe me, this is it! Also great burgers, but the hot dog is untouchable.

                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: rdwaddell

                                                                                                                              I second this! My family loves Dawgs and the owners are so nice. They bring my daughter seconds on hot dogs if she's still hungry. I just had a slaw dog (chili, slaw, mustard, and onions) this weekend. Yum! I really like their chili cheeseburger too. An order of fries is huge, so we usually order 1/2 order. The owners just told me this weekend that a large order is 4 potatoes.

                                                                                                                              1. re: rdwaddell

                                                                                                                                I haven't had Dawgs but I believe it is just a stone's throw from the Skin's on Pelham - which had several recommendations above. I guess for the true experience you should hit Skin's in Anderson but go here and you can hit 2 great places for one lunch.

                                                                                                                              2. Ditto on Sam's Corner in Garden City... been going there since I was a baby! I can't believe nobody has mentioned the chili slaw dog at Rush's in the Columbia area. We just moved back and my husband ate 2 a day (with a chocolate shake) the first week we were here. (Lucky guy is thin as a rail...)
                                                                                                                                When my grandma was in the hospital, she would still request the chili slaw dog and a shake up until the end. (And no... her health shouldn't be a pronouncement on the qualities of a Rush's chili slaw dog....) She grew up in Atlanta and frequented the Varsity. I guess Rush's was good to find once they moved here in the 50s.

                                                                                                                                1. Seventy-four replies and no mention of JB's in Athens, Georgia. My hero, the eponymous initialed one, sets up shop mostly outside of the 40 Watt club downtown for late-night dining. Polish sausage, blackened, served with "comeback sauce" and wilted peppers and onions. Some think the sauce comes back to haunt one. I think it's pure awesomeness--spicy, greasy, kind of gross.

                                                                                                                                  1. Monroe's Hotdogs & Billiards
                                                                                                                                    318 W Lamar St
                                                                                                                                    Americus, GA

                                                                                                                                    The absolute greatest dawg ever bitten by man. Chili, cheese, slaw, onions, you name it. They also have a special "scrambled dog" that has all that in a big styrofoam bowl. I usually bring a dozen or so chili dogs back to Athens with me from when I go down that way to visit family. Usually 8 or 9 remain by the time I actually get to Athens.

                                                                                                                                    And they have gravy fries.


                                                                                                                                    1. HANDS DOWN..............one of the best hotdogs you'll have have is in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Ricky's Drive-In or also called Ricky's West.
                                                                                                                                      The chili is without a doubt the BEST! Go there! You won't be disappointed in the least!
                                                                                                                                      Order it "all the way." (Mustard, Chili & Onions). You can easily put away 2. 3 if you're a superstar!

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                                                                                                                                      1. re: richmondwinegirl

                                                                                                                                        My favorite dog is The Varsity in Atlanta.As far Asheville,Hot Dog King,the one on on Tunnel rd. not Biltmore Ave. When I was a kid in the 80's I really liked the hot dogs at the Asheville Civic Center.Nathans or Sabbretts on the grill coated in bbq sauce is great,too.

                                                                                                                                      2. Three commens:

                                                                                                                                        *Best Dog - Pulliam's in Winston-Salem, NC. No frills, NC red dog (no heat), and a magically toasted bun. Out of this world. Order two and save room for the third.

                                                                                                                                        *Most Unique Dogs (or at least the most choices for toppings) - Jack's Cosmic Dog in Mt. Pleasant, SC. Really unique place that has a number of dog combinations and serves your dog in a hoggie bun. Expensive, but worth the effort.

                                                                                                                                        *Most Overrated Dogs - Paul's Place around Wilmington, NC. Nostalgia rules this place. It's been there for decades so it has to be the best, right? Wrong. A very mediocre dog that leaves me with no real memory of the experience.

                                                                                                                                        1. Here are a couple of great hot dog places in NC:

                                                                                                                                          1. Royal Drug Store, Elkin, NC
                                                                                                                                          2. Snoopy's, Raleigh, NC

                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                          1. re: motherburton

                                                                                                                                            But THE greatest is Roast Grill in Raleigh. :-)

                                                                                                                                            By the way, JayL, I agree with you on Paul's Place!

                                                                                                                                          2. Haps in downtown Salisbury NC (on I-85 between Charlotte and Winston) is my local favorite. It's been around 20 years or so that I know of. It's basically a walk-in/take out place, although they do have a small counter that you can eat at inside. Very fast paced at the counter with everything sold to the quarter. They only have hotdogs and hamburgers, chips and glass bottled drinks, the most popular drink probably being Cheerwine (a local company). Local fried bakery pies are sold on the counter. There is also a small on the sidewalk to eat. I think it's the owners brother that has a similiar place in China Grove (15 mins away) but it's not as good. They do sell chili by the pint.

                                                                                                                                            1. Okay....here's the real deal - town and country version.
                                                                                                                                              Town - Gus's Hot Dogs on 4th ave North in Bham. A block up from Pete's Famous.
                                                                                                                                              I love em both, but George at Gus' has the best. Slaw dogs, Chili dogs and loose meat specials.

                                                                                                                                              Country version - Buddy's on Thomas Mill Creek, Lake Eufaula, AL. You can plan all your meals there starting with Biscuits and Gravy for breakfast, chili dogs for lunch, ribs for dinner. And while you're there, gas up the boat and get a tube of crickets.

                                                                                                                                              ps; if the food is too much and you blow out the plumbing, the carry pvc and supplies.

                                                                                                                                              That's what I'm talking about!

                                                                                                                                              1. Edna's #1 on River Drive in Columbia, SC is brilliant! It's a very old-fashioned, almost falling down, hot dog and hamburger stand that is absolutely mobbed at lunch time during the work week. So good, and not well-known at all, except to Columbia natives.

                                                                                                                                                Read more by following the link. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/358479

                                                                                                                                                1. I noticed the mention of Sneaky Pete's. I looked up their website http://www.sneakypeteshotdogs.com/ and the sauce they display is dark, possibly brown? My family used to stop at Sneaky Pete's somewhere in the Birmingham area many moons ago when we were on road trips to visit family (we lived in SC, and then GA at the time) and the sauce I THINK I remember was more of a yellow. Does anyone remember such a sauce at SP's, say 20 + years ago? And in any case, can anyone tell me what was in that sauce?

                                                                                                                                                  1. The best hot dogs all around come from a gas station at Lake Bowen on Hwy 9 in between the towns of New Prospect & Boiling Springs, SC, it is called Ragan's Short Stop. They have the best hot dogs by far!! The 2nd best is a tie between Boot's & Sonny's Drive In & Ricky's Drive In.

                                                                                                                                                    1. Moore's Country store in Lynchburg, Va. has the best spicy (& I do mean Spicy !) Chili for their hot dogs I've ever tasted. You have to get one "all-the-way" if you visit.

                                                                                                                                                      1. Harry's Pig Shop - 2425 Jefferson Road, Athens GA 30607

                                                                                                                                                        Serve the One-A-Day
                                                                                                                                                        A Hot Dog (it is a Beef Hot Dog) wrapped in two pieces of bacon and fried. Served with any or all of the following toppings (all are included in price) : Hash, Baked Beans, Chow Chow, Choice of two types of Slaw, Diced Sweet Onion, Melted Pepperjack & White Cheddar.

                                                                                                                                                        1. Texas Tavern...Roanoke, VA
                                                                                                                                                          Greens...Charlotte, NC
                                                                                                                                                          Hinson's Drive In...Charlotte, NC

                                                                                                                                                          1. I already posted this on one question, but the Hot Dogs at Short's in Selma, NC are great.

                                                                                                                                                            If you are in Martinsville, VA try the D&A Cafe on Memorial Blvd.

                                                                                                                                                            1. Abbeville S.C - The Rough House and Saxon's Bypass Grocery

                                                                                                                                                              In the historic old town of Abbeville, South Carolina (not too far from Augusta) lie a couple of special places that should be on the SHDQ. The Rough House and Saxon's Bypass Grocery.

                                                                                                                                                              There may be some other ones around that may dress their dogs the way the RH does but The Rough House is the original and it is the best. The Rough House came along in 1932 which is quite a few years before Skin Thrashers hot dogs in nearby Anderson S.C. came around - (if you've ever tried Skins, then it is essentially a copy cat. "Skin" must've came through Abbeville on his way home quite a few times is all I can say... or maybe he just went out of his way).

                                                                                                                                                              The Rough House (on the historic "square" of downtown Abbeville) is the original and a truly unique experience - from the way they cut their bun to the way they make their chili, it's addictive. Steamed buns slit from the top and the dog nestled in with a precise squirt of the yellow stuff and their glorious chili ladled in and covering every square millimeter of space within - without getting the bun soggy. Sweet diced onions to top it off. The chili, of course, has its secret recipe that you just have to try.... it's not an easy process to get it the way it is either.

                                                                                                                                                              It's also an old pool hall with the old spectator seats and even a bar that looks like it came right out of an old West saloon (maybe it did??) with a lot of memorabilia stashed all over it.

                                                                                                                                                              Saxon's Bypass Grocery (where highway 28 and highway 72 cross) has done a good job on this style and also offers up roast and pulled pork sandwiches as well as some other fare (including slaw). They're dogs measure up nicely and I dare say I may even prefer them over the RH at times..... but I don't know if that's because they also have the decadent roast pork sandwiches and offer pickled eggs or if its just a match just too close to call - I don't want my taste buds to duel each other on whose the best between these two... I frequent them both.

                                                                                                                                                              And yes, both The Rough House and Saxon's have glass bottled Coca-Cola's to enjoy those dogs with.

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                                                                                                                                                              1. re: SCFoodwhore

                                                                                                                                                                The Rough House made it Rachael Ray's magazine March issue in the article "64 best hot dogs in the United States" -

                                                                                                                                                              2. Unless I missed it, no one has mentioned Monroe's in Americus, Georgia. Their scrambled dogs are incredible. We moved from the area several years ago but stop in every time we get anywhere close to the area. Their chili, slaw, cheese, and dogs are great.

                                                                                                                                                                1. I'll add the "Dogzilla" from Wright's Dairy Rite in Staunton, Va.


                                                                                                                                                                  It's a great drive in with a dining room and curb service. Terrific food and has been an institution for almost 60 years.