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Apr 26, 2001 08:11 PM

Top Dog, where are you?

  • r

Hi, I write about food for a weekly, The Stranger, in Seattle, WA, and recently was asked about a Berkely, CA hot dog joint called "Top Dog". Can anybody tell me about this place and their frankfurters? We have a small stand in Seattle called by the same name, which has got some readers salivating for their ol' Berkely tube steaks. What I want to know is, is our Top Dog related to yours?


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  1. Top Dog is on Durant Street, east of Telegraph, in Berkeley. My son just about lives on their various sausages and franks, and always brings them along when he comes home for school breaks (they travel well frozen, in an insulated container). It's a tiny place, maybe half a dozen people can stand inside and order at any given time. I understand Top Dog is a Berkeley tradition, and deservedly so. Great selection of delicious sausages.

    1 Reply
    1. re: LBQT

      Top Dog is my favorite hot dog place. Took my wife there on a visit to Berkeley after years of raving about it (she couldn't understand what could be so good about a hot dog). I ordered one and gave her a bite, she ended up eating it all. Had to order another for myself. I love their crunchy buns too.

    2. There are 3 Top Dog locations that I know of... One on Durant Street @ Telegraph, and one across the street from the North gates to Cal, both in Berkeley. There's also one in the Longs Drugs in Piedmont on Pleasant Valley RD. For the *true* Top Dog experience, I suggest the one on Durant Ave. at around Midnight when it's full of drunk frat boys who don't know how to order and get ignored by the fellow behind the counter. I once asked the guy serving dogs if it was required that he be an a** to customers. He said yes (ha ha). It's a little like the Soup Nazi on Seinfeld.... Go in, know what you want, yell it out, ie: "Add a hot" meaning; Please sir, I'd appreciate it if you would be so kind as to add a hot link to the grill for me". Same goes for "Brat", "Kielbasa", "Top Dog" etc.... they come on large buns and you add all your condiments (they have several). All in all, Top Dog Rocks!! Take it from a local Berkeley Girl... ;)

      4 Replies
      1. re: Phoebe

        Noticed a new one in Berkeley today, on Milvia across from the high school gym.

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          This Top Dog near the high school looks to be a real hangout for the locals....if your baggy pants aren't nearly falling off you might feel a bit out of place. Then again maybe it would be a good place to see what the youth of America is up to.
          Top Dog was mentioned in the Saveur 100 favorite places a year ago.

          1. re: gordon wing
            Caitlin McGrath

            I'm not surprised it's become a hangout. There's a real dearth now of places downtown for BHS students to get lunch, etc. (at least compared to the 80s, when I was a student there), and a somewhat antagostic relationship between students and a lot of downtown shopkeepers.

            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

              "Top Dog, where are you?"

              I'm so vain, I keep thinking this song is about me (don't I...don't I...)

      2. s
        Shep aka 2 Cheap Hungry Guys

        Also a location in Montclair, Oakland (the one in California). Maybe for drunk frat guys who graduated and got jobs.

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