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Aug 27, 2002 01:55 AM

Best Bay Area Hot Dog

  • z

Who has the best hot dog? The most regionally authentic hot dog? No imitators, just the real SF/Bay Area deal. I know Top Dog up by the UCB probably gets a lot of recommendations, but who else can think of a great place?

I was inspired to ask this after watching a PBS special tonight and noticing the difference between NYC, Chicago, Atlanta, Midwest, and West Coast dogs.

Speaking of the WC, I know from tales and long drunken stories of a famous place in LA that doesn't exist anymore called the Okey Dog, which was a hang out for all the late 70's/early 80's punk rockers who had a taste for hot dogs smothered in chili and cheese and wrapped up in a tortilla.

So...any takers?

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    Stanley Stephan

    Kasper's Original Hot Dog is THE California Dog. Not to be confused with Caspers with a C hot dogs. This is the little red shack on 4521 Telegraph Avenue near Jack in the Box and McDonalds.

    After moving from the East Coast I was shocked to get a dog with fresh tomato and cheese. Quality is quality.

    The place still retains it's integrity even after Big Harry had a stroke. The son has expanded the line with another hot dog and added a web site.
    The web site:

    The following story describes Kasper's perfectly.



    4 Replies
    1. re: Stanley Stephan
      Nathan Landau

      No doubt its demographic and its vibe have changed--what hasn't--but Oki Dog is still out there out on Pico Blvd. Perhaps no other eatery has brought out as much eloqence from the always eloquent Jonathan Gold.

      1. re: Nathan Landau

        There used to be an Oki Dog on Fairfax just North of Melrose on the East side of the street, (close to the Chinese place "Genghis Cohen") that I frequented. Quality was not what drew people to Oki Dog but rather life style/hipness standards as far as I could tell.

      2. re: Stanley Stephan

        Lots of fans of Original Kasper's on this board.


        1. re: Stanley Stephan
          Stanley Stephan

          Ms. Eng who wrote the story about kaspar's history pointed out to me that the link does not connect to her story which it was intended to do. It is a great story so here's hopefully the corrected link.

          I always love to know the history of restuarants. I found Kaspars either through an article in the Examiner or Chronicle when Big Harry was still alive. I was happy / sorry to read the story about the updates to Kaspar's. The original story I read was lost so it was great to be able to find a copy of the story. I was sorry to hear Harry died. I've been to kaspar's a number of times since Harry had his stroke and I've been reluctant to ask his son how he was doing.


        2. Does anyone remember Chris and John's? It was a burger/hotdog stand across the street from Oakland Tech on Broadway in Oakland. Must have closed twenty years ago. They had the best hotdogs....with all the fixins, including fresh tomatoes. My idea of a great pigout (that's what we used to call a chowdown in high school) was a Chris and John's hot dog followed by a visit to Maria's Bavarian Cheesecake next door....

          I've always been fond of Top Dog, but only the original on Telegraph Ave. I think its a Berkeley alumni thing....

          2 Replies
          1. re: Janet

            Of course, I meant to say "Off of Telegraph" not "On Telegraph" when referring to the original Top Dog on Durant. Sorry!

            I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.

            1. re: Janet

              Chris and John's! a great place! when I was a kid I would be sent on hot dog runs for my mom! We lived on Manila, just a half block from Oakland Tech....thanks for bringing it up! It was a great memory!

            2. Oki Dog does still exist, actually. I just drove by it a couple weeks ago. It's on Pico just west of La Brea. In the Bay Area, my favorites are Top Dog and Kasper's.

              1. There's a truly tacky-looking little hot dog lunch counter in a warehouse district in San Rafael. The owner is a very pleasant fellow and he serves big doggies with lots of different fixin's at a hunger-cure-for-cheap price. He also has hot links and Polish. The sausages cook in some kind of metal contraption, and it looks like it does a combination of steaming and oven baking. The sausages do not suffer from washed-outness (like Costco's do) or underdone or overdoneness (like Orange Julius's can).

                The chili dog is my favorite.

                Jimbos Hot Dogs
                4288 Redwood Highway
                San Rafael, CA 94903

                This stretch of Redwood Hwy is a frontage road between the Terra Linda and Lucas Valley exits.

                1. I think you have your answer...Top Dog on Durant, none of the others compare....we used to arm wrestle to determine who would run from our house on Dwight and Ellsworth at 2:45am to make the 3am deadline...I'll take a Kiel and a Bock....

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Joe Thomas

                    My fave is the Hot Link. The buns there are special. I wonder where they got those buns ???

                    All their dogs are good, I must say. Everyone is excellent. However, a connoissur friend of mine told me that they had better dogs in Seattle. Anyone knows about it ?