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Nathan's Hot Dogs or Hebrew Nationals in T.O or Markham Ontario??

callitasicit Jul 8, 2007 01:54 PM

I am tired of hot dogs that have all those fillers and crap in it! Does anyone know where I can buy a Nathan's Hot Dog or Hebrew National in Toronto or surrounding area. I live in Markham Ontario but often I visit Toronto. Any suggestions would be helpful!

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  1. c
    cecilia RE: callitasicit Jul 8, 2007 02:44 PM

    Here is a recent thread on the same subject:


    1. TorontoTips RE: callitasicit Jul 9, 2007 04:57 PM

      I used to buy Hebrew Nationals (I loved the jumbo 'dinner franks', especially) at Dominion Bayview & Eglinton and Dominion Sav-a-Centre at Sheppard & Yonge, but I haven't been able to find them for about a year now. :-(
      There's a newer brand - Baldwin St. - that are a bit pricey, but about the best I can find for an all-beef, real hot dog. I get them at Longos Supermarket - York Mills & Leslie location. (Longos also incidentally have THE best produce selection and quality of any large supermarket in Toronto).

      22 Replies
      1. re: TorontoTips
        sherry f RE: TorontoTips Jul 9, 2007 05:50 PM

        You can get Baldwins hot dogs (beef, chicken or veal) at most grocery stores along the Bathurst corridor.This includes Loblaws, Shoppers Drug Mart, Kitchen Table etc. They used to carry Hebrew National at Nortown Foods but I don't believe they import them any more from the US.

        1. re: sherry f
          embee RE: sherry f Jul 9, 2007 06:54 PM

          The problem with Baldwin, as with every other beef hot dog available in Toronto, kosher and not, is that it has insufficient fat and very little taste.

          This is also true of BIG Franks and J. Kwinter at Loblaws. Decent quality, but very little taste. Nathan's and HN are among the most intensely spiced franks you can buy.

          1. re: embee
            mrbozo RE: embee Jul 10, 2007 09:49 AM

            Now, I'm no connoisseur of sausage dogs (though I have had my share of stimm├ęs back in my home town of Montreal over the last 40+ years) but I quite like Schneider's Juicy Jumbos, particularly the Hot 'n Spicy variety. I also find that European Meats makes a decent regulation dog.

            1. re: mrbozo
              Davwud RE: mrbozo Jul 11, 2007 10:58 AM

              I too love Juicy Jumbos.
              I would however like to find Tony Packo's hot dogs up here. They're the best I've ever had.
              I'm gonna hunt down a Nathan's and a Hebrew National on my summer trip this year if it kills me.


              1. re: Davwud
                mrbozo RE: Davwud Jul 11, 2007 01:29 PM

                Please let me know if you locate an HN or Nat distributor in the GTA.

                Nice to know that I'm not alone in savouring those Juicy Jumbos.

                1. re: mrbozo
                  Davwud RE: mrbozo Jul 11, 2007 01:40 PM

                  I shall report back but my summer trip will take me to Atlanta and Huntsville. I know I can get HN in the Costco in Huntsville. I've just never had them. The Nathan's dogs may be a bit harder. I did see they had a "Restaurant" in Hotlanta but I'm not sure what that's all about. I intend on posting about it within the next couple days.


            2. re: embee
              jayt90 RE: embee Jul 10, 2007 04:02 PM

              Has anyone tried "Ball Park" franks or sausages? They are made in London Ont., and have limited Ontario distribution. They're jumbo 1/4lb size, come in pork or beef, and are flavoured with lots of garlic, paprika and fat (more than 50% of your daily limit in one). The casings are not natural, but they are good grilled. The sausage mix is on the chunky side, rather than super smooth.

              1. re: jayt90
                embee RE: jayt90 Jul 10, 2007 06:02 PM

                I don't know anything about these and I'd sure like to know more. Who exactly makes them and where are they available?

                I have eaten something called a "Ball Park" frank. I can't remember where it was, but I do remember that it was terrible. It was made by, I think, Sara Lee. Their Ball Park franks are (in) famous because they were contaminated during production and killed a rather large number of people just a few years ago. I would be very surprised if another company could sell franks under this name.

                1. re: embee
                  jayt90 RE: embee Jul 11, 2007 05:20 AM

                  They are sold every summer at Costco. I may have the name wrong, but I remember reading London on the package. They were about $7/kg., and a lot better than the Shopsy or Olympic dogs in the same display.
                  I haven't bought them in over a year, so I'll get a package later this week. Maybe I'll be able to compare the beef, pork, and Freybe's on the charcoal grill.

                  I recall Hygrade Ball Park franks as a sponsor of Tiger ball games and they claimed to be served at Tiger (Brigg's) stadium (years ago). A Google search leads quickly to a listeria (cold loving bacteria) problem with Bill Mar Ball Park franks at Tiger Stadium, in the late 20th century. The plant was in Zeeland, MI, and owned by Sara Lee.
                  The company settled out of court. I will have to see if the London, Ont. product has any connection, but in any case, it is a different plant and the problem was resolved 6 years ago.

                  1. re: jayt90
                    embee RE: jayt90 Jul 11, 2007 03:43 PM

                    I just noticed today that there is also a President's Choice frank called "Ball Park".

                    1. re: jayt90
                      jayt90 RE: jayt90 Jul 11, 2007 07:41 PM

                      The London Ont.1/4 lb.dog is called Deli Cart, the Pro Ball Sausage, and made by
                      David Gordon Co.

                      1. re: jayt90
                        embee RE: jayt90 Jul 12, 2007 10:35 AM

                        I can't find anything on the brand or the company. Can you confirm availability and provide your taste test results?

                        (We do not belong to Costco. If they are the source and the beef product is available, does this taste good enough to be worth joining? Seems preposterous, but cheaper than a drive to Buffalo.)

                        1. re: embee
                          Davwud RE: embee Jul 12, 2007 11:09 AM

                          Costco is worth joining anyway.


                          1. re: embee
                            jayt90 RE: embee Jul 12, 2007 06:14 PM

                            The Deli Cart beef product is not in Ajax, but may be in Downsview (just guessing, but they do have a Kosher selection there). I'll report on the pork products, Deli Cart, Pillers Knocks, and Freybe's after a Friday grill out.

                            1. re: jayt90
                              embee RE: jayt90 Jul 12, 2007 07:16 PM

                              Could you post the coordinates of the Deli Cart manufacturer? I'll contact them about availability of the beef product.

                              1. re: embee
                                jayt90 RE: embee Jul 13, 2007 05:43 PM

                                All I have is David Gordon Co., London Ont. on the package.
                                There is no Deli Cart beef sausage in my brief survey of North York/Scarborough, and Durham, but two kinds of pork (no fillers): mild and medium hot.
                                If you liked pork dogs from Northwestern New York, these may be worth a shot. Dominion at Victoria Park and Ellesmere has them.

                                1. re: jayt90
                                  embee RE: jayt90 Jul 13, 2007 07:24 PM

                                  Strange---I can't find anything about this company or the brand. There is, somewhere in Canada, a "David Gordon Fine Food Corporation", but any further search has proven a dead end.

                              2. re: jayt90
                                erly RE: jayt90 Jul 12, 2007 08:45 PM

                                Freybe's also makes a knock, but not always available.
                                I think that you might be disappointed by their franks on a grill.
                                It is at its' best steamed.

                      2. re: jayt90
                        Davwud RE: jayt90 Jul 11, 2007 11:01 AM

                        You mean the ones that plump when you cook 'em?? They had the ad on TV where they'd plump up and dent the grill lid from the inside??


                      3. re: embee
                        Olivia RE: embee Jul 11, 2007 01:03 PM

                        I recently tried Baldwin for the first time and thought they were very flavourful (and juicy!).

                        Mind you, I had the chi-chi "roasted red pepper and something or other" because that's all that was left, but damn, it was delicious and spicy.

                        1. re: Olivia
                          embee RE: Olivia Jul 11, 2007 04:00 PM

                          I wish I could say the same. I found them fairly dry and lacking much flavour intensity (both the regular franks and the roasted red pepper sausages).

                          I suppose it depends what you are comparing them with. I grew up eating original recipe Nathans and Hebrew Nationals, with natural casings, in New York City. Even the current, skinless ones that are sold in Buffalo have very strong, and unique, flavour profiles. The formulas have changed over the years (I'm reasonably sure that Nathan's didn't contain sorbital as an ingredient way back when, and the HNs are less garlicky and spicy), but I can still ID both in a blind tasting.

                          1. re: embee
                            Davwud RE: embee Jul 16, 2007 07:01 AM

                            Based on this discussion, I picked up a pack of the Baldwin St. beef franks for lunch on Sunday. I have to admit, both Mrs. Sippi and I loved them. We found them to be very tasty. Not the best dog I've had but maybe the best I've bought in a grocery store.

                            They did really well in the top split buns I had leftover from my lobster roll experiment.


                  2. a
                    Atahualpa RE: callitasicit Jul 11, 2007 01:39 AM

                    If you don't mind salty, the best hot dogs I've had in Toronto are those available from Cumbrae's. They are salty. But, much more flavour than 'Baldwin St.' dogs (which is, unfortunately my current runner-up).

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: czthemmnt
                      stuartk RE: czthemmnt Jul 11, 2007 01:49 PM

                      go try Baldwin St Kosher Beef Franks....at Sobeys in Thornhill....great taste and packed with beef...and no crap in it.....on the same level as hebrew national quality.

                      1. re: stuartk
                        mrbozo RE: stuartk Jul 11, 2007 01:54 PM

                        Any downtown purveyors?

                        1. re: mrbozo
                          embee RE: mrbozo Jul 11, 2007 03:50 PM

                          Baldwin's are available all over Toronto. Any supermarket in an area with even a small Jewish population stocks them. I've seen them at several Loblaws. Note that you won't necessarily find them in the kosher dept of stores that have such a section. They are with the regular franks.

                          1. re: embee
                            Davwud RE: embee Jul 16, 2007 07:01 AM

                            Just don't look for them in Dominion.


                    2. v
                      vgoodfood RE: callitasicit Jul 11, 2007 11:17 AM

                      If you are looking for hot dogs without any fillers then Baldwin St.is the way to go. I just can't justify eating all the crap that goes into most hot dogs.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: vgoodfood
                        mrbozo RE: vgoodfood Jul 11, 2007 01:18 PM

                        No need to worry. What's a few lumps and bumps along the way. I know people who have had severe reactions when switching from "regular" food to "organic'. The body adjusts. Just look at all those steriod, botax, silicone enhanced cyborgs you pass on the street every day. But if "healthy' is one's particular religion who am I to argue?

                        Give me sodium or give me death.

                        1. re: mrbozo
                          Yongeman RE: mrbozo Jul 13, 2007 03:43 AM

                          "Give me sodium or give me death."

                          Uh mrbozo, it's not an 'either/or' situation...

                        2. re: vgoodfood
                          embee RE: vgoodfood Jul 11, 2007 04:11 PM

                          I think I've been using the word "crap" a bit too freely in this thread.

                          By definition, glatt (strictly) kosher franks that satisfy the very orthodox can't contain much in the way of added crap. So the brand doesn't matter much...if the label reads "glatt kosher", the sausage can't contain any mechanically separated meat, gluten, milk-derived products, or most other extenders. However, this doesn't ensure a good recipe or a technically superior sausage. It can still contain msg, nitrates, corn syrup, and many other additives. And there is no guarantee that it will taste good or contain an optimum fat level.

                          I do, however, feel that most of the available brands taste like crap to my palate. There are some exceptions. Baldwins don't taste "bad", but they don't taste very much. This is also true of some non-kosher brands. BIG Franks and J. Kwinter (which have a common lineage, though recipes may have diverged over the years) are decent quality products. I just don't like the spicing very much.

                          1. re: embee
                            fleisch RE: embee Jul 12, 2007 08:42 AM

                            I'll second what's already been said here. I remember when Hebrew National's disappeared from here and it was heartbreaking. I forget the reason - which I found out at the time - but I believe the mad cow stuff was part of it.
                            There were also some issues, especially with Orthodox Jews about just HOW kosher HNs were but that's tangential.
                            For a time the ACC even used them as their 'normal' hot dog which made it a bit cheaper to get a kosher hot dog.

                            As Embee said, if it's kosher you can rest assured it's 100% beef with no crap in it.

                            After looking high and low I will second those who say that Baldwin St. (which are made by Shefa, FYI) are the best out there in the meantime. In addition to beef and chicken they also make veal and two "sausages" (spicy beef w/ roasted red pepper and chicken w/ basil and oregano) and they are all good.

                            Oddly Baldwin initially surfaced under another name - perhaps Kensington? And then disappeared leaving kosher hot dog lovers with nothing but Perl's [BLECH!] until they resurfaced. And then Sobey's, the biggest kosher mart in the GTA was one of the last to start selling them for some reason....

                        3. l
                          Lipant RE: callitasicit Jul 13, 2007 07:20 PM

                          We are very fond of the Butterball franks! They are (yup) turkey and they are great. They are made of course by the good folks at Butterball but they are the best we have found.
                          We get them in Sobeys.

                          1. m
                            mexivilla RE: callitasicit Jul 26, 2007 06:53 AM

                            I believe Hebrew National are still not allowed into Canada after the mad cow scare because they have not submitted the required information to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. However the restriction does not apply if you're importing small quantities (20kg) for personal consumption from the US. So make a trip for the best hotdog. Info at http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/general/ot...

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: mexivilla
                              jayt90 RE: mexivilla Aug 1, 2007 09:52 PM

                              I found a new all beef hot dog at Costco today: Moishe Angus hot dogs, at $9 for 2lb.

                              They look pale, more like breakfast sausages; The casings are not natural gut.

                              It will be a few days before I can try them. Has anyone else tried these dogs?

                            2. Davwud RE: callitasicit Aug 9, 2007 06:36 AM


                              Scored two packages of Nathans at a WalMart Super Centre in Huntsville Alabama. Can't wait to get home and try them!!!


                              5 Replies
                              1. re: Davwud
                                callitasicit RE: Davwud Aug 9, 2007 07:39 AM

                                Don't rub it in Davwud.... Are Nathan's really that good? I got to make the trek to Buffalo to find out!

                                1. re: callitasicit
                                  embee RE: callitasicit Aug 9, 2007 09:25 AM

                                  I think it comes down to expectations. Nathan's and Hebrew Nationals have both been debased from what they were 40 years ago. But they both remain beefy, juicy, well spiced and garlicked - yet balanced, and intended to be eaten with just a schmear of mustard and perhaps some sauerkraut. Both taste distinctive. The versions with casings, seemingly available mainly in the New York City area, are better than the skinless ones sold elsewhere. But the skinless ones are better than anything sold in Toronto. For my palate, it's worth the trip.

                                  If you load up a dog with toppings, especially highly flavoured ones, the advantage diminishes. Toronto brands like BIG Frank's, Baldwin St, and J. Kwinter are good quality products but, to me, they have almost no taste. The beef dogs sold by Cumbrae's are also good quality, but taste largely of salt.

                                  1. re: callitasicit
                                    Davwud RE: callitasicit Aug 10, 2007 10:20 AM

                                    I haven't tried them since I'm still at the inlaws and they can't eat things like hot dogs at their advanced ages and health.
                                    I may even try to pick up a pack of HN as well.

                                    FTIW, We tried and loved the Baldwin St. If they're flavourless, I can't wait to try the Nathans.


                                  2. re: Davwud
                                    GoodGravy RE: Davwud Aug 10, 2007 11:30 AM

                                    If they're the hot dogs in casings, just grill them up being careful not to burn or char them. Eat the first w/ no toppings just to see what they taste like. I'd suggest no more than two toppings if you feel the need to layer on the flavors. My fave is Guldens mustard and maybe onions cooked in tomato sauce.

                                    1. re: GoodGravy
                                      Davwud RE: GoodGravy Aug 11, 2007 06:54 AM

                                      I shall do that.

                                      We had HN last night at dinner and I have to admit. I was rather undewhelmed. They were good, don't get me wrong. It's just that they weren't great. I didn't see any reason to go out of my way to get them again. I was much happier with the Baldwins we ate a few weeks back.


                                  3. LovelyAsia RE: callitasicit Aug 9, 2007 11:46 AM

                                    I know I have seen Hebrew Nationals at the No Frills on Centre Street in Thornhill (just west of Bathurst) and most likely they would also be at the Food Basics at Steeles and Bathurst. (Being a very Jewish neighbourhood).

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: LovelyAsia
                                      embee RE: LovelyAsia Aug 9, 2007 11:50 AM

                                      How long ago did you see them? Was this within recent weeks or a couple of years ago? The company that was importing them stopped at around the time of the mad cow scare.

                                      1. re: embee
                                        LovelyAsia RE: embee Aug 9, 2007 01:48 PM

                                        The last time I was at that No Frills was a few months ago, and perhaps I saw another brand with Hebrew in the name, I can't swear that it was Hebrew Nationals, but I do know that the store has an entire Kosher meat section separate from the regular meat, and I always take a look to see what different products are in the Kosher meat sections - the first time I bought a brined Kosher chicken I was pleasantly surprised!

                                        If they don't carry Hebrew Nationals, I am sure they would carry a line similar to Hebrew Nationals since the customers in that area would insist on a similar product.

                                        Have you tried Big Franks?

                                        I found a thread here on chowhound that mentions it:

                                        1. re: LovelyAsia
                                          fleisch RE: LovelyAsia Aug 10, 2007 01:34 PM

                                          I haven't been to that No Frills in a month or two but I'd be surprised if you saw Hebrew National. I know they sell other prodcuts like Hebrew National (and Nathan's) brown mustard but I haven't seen the hot dogs in ages.

                                          I'd be surprised if they were in the kosher section too. There was a whole religious/political dispute when they were regularly available because for some Orthodox people the certification is inadequate. At Sobey's - and I think at No Frills - the Hebrew Nationals were sent to sit with the non-kosher hot dogs....

                                          My impression of Baldwins is that, short though they may fall, they attempt to be Hebrew Nationalesque in terms of size and flavour. They're the closest thing I've had to a 'similar product.'

                                          1. re: LovelyAsia
                                            embee RE: LovelyAsia Aug 10, 2007 04:04 PM

                                            As I suspected, they do not have Hebrew National franks. So sad.

                                            FYI, there are lots of KOSHER products available but, as with anything else, many don't taste very good and some are awful. Hebrew Nationals have a distinctive taste that many of us crave.

                                            BIG franks are a good quality product, but don't taste even vaguely similar.

                                      2. t
                                        TexSquared RE: callitasicit Aug 12, 2007 07:21 PM

                                        Easy answer, as others have stated. Drive down to Niagara Falls, NY and get them at Wegman's or Tops. If you are a Sam's Club member, they have 2 locations there, one in Niagara Falls the other in Cheektowaga (near the Walden Galleria), and they carry both brands (Hebrew National and Nathan's) in large sized packs. There are no Costco's in western or upstate New York, only Sam's Club (a major reason why I went with Sam's instead of Costco)

                                        8 Replies
                                        1. re: TexSquared
                                          fleisch RE: TexSquared Sep 11, 2007 12:05 PM

                                          Didn't see anyone mention it but in last Saturday's National Post they did a comparison of the best grocery store hot dogs.
                                          Baldwin Street came out on top, beating Maple Leaf, Schneider's and another I forget. As most people here seem to agree, they may be second to Hebrew National but they're the best around in the meantime....

                                          1. re: fleisch
                                            jayt90 RE: fleisch Sep 11, 2007 08:34 PM

                                            The order of finish was Baldwin St., President's Choice, Schneiders, and Maple Leaf (dead last). They didn't include my favourite, Moishe's Angus.
                                            If I had a source of Baldwin St. east of Warden, I'd make a comparison. As it is, I'll probably have to go to Thornhill to get brown mustard. I miss Gulden's at Loblaw's, but that was back in Dave Nichol's reign...

                                            1. re: jayt90
                                              millygirl RE: jayt90 Sep 12, 2007 07:19 AM

                                              Almost hate to do this but Royal Beef on the Danforth has THE BEST hot dogs. They sell them vacummed packed in 4's and they are wonderfully juicy, long and fat. And I've noticed they really keep their heat once off the BBQ. You know how some dogs seem to get cold right away, for whatever reason these don't. I don't know where they come from, the packaged is not labelled. They're not made by Royal Beef. I did ask Carm at one time but I've since forgotten. Anyways they really are the best. Sometimes they are sold out so we usually buy a couple of packs at a time.

                                              1. re: millygirl
                                                Davwud RE: millygirl Sep 12, 2007 07:41 AM

                                                I would take Baldwin St. first but Juicy Jumbo's are my second favourite. They didn't even rank. Odd.
                                                I may have to take a spin by Royal Beef. Where is it??


                                                1. re: Davwud
                                                  millygirl RE: Davwud Sep 12, 2007 08:29 AM

                                                  Trust me, you will love them. My husband has become addicted to them.
                                                  Royal Beef is at Danforth and Coxwell area. They are also known for there amazing,....wait for it, Beef!! Jacob Richler has written about them many times.

                                              2. re: jayt90
                                                embee RE: jayt90 Sep 12, 2007 01:27 PM

                                                Which Costcos had those Moishe's hot dogs? I happened to be near the Warden/Ellesmere and Wilson Costcos the other day, so I looked inside (I'm not a member). No sign of any such beasts at either one.

                                                1. re: embee
                                                  jayt90 RE: embee Sep 12, 2007 07:08 PM

                                                  I guess you'll have to go to Ajax, where I got mine. I have to say I liked them, and they had a real old time flavour, which I find hard to describe, but they are good when you crunch into them, and want more. I'll have to try Baldwin St. ASAP to compare.

                                                  1. re: jayt90
                                                    jayt90 RE: jayt90 Sep 13, 2007 07:02 PM

                                                    I spoke too soon; Moishe's Angus dogs are no longer in Ajax. I'll miss them.

                                          2. j
                                            jack_sprat_ca RE: callitasicit Sep 13, 2007 10:17 AM

                                            What ever happened to Kwinters Hot Dogs? I used to enjoy them. I then went out of country for 10 years....can't find them now.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: jack_sprat_ca
                                              embee RE: jack_sprat_ca Sep 13, 2007 01:38 PM

                                              Jack Kwinter died quite a few years ago. The retail branded package is now known as "BIG Franks" and "J. Kwinter" brand franks are sold at Loblaws. All decent quality but no excitement in the taste.

                                            2. smokin Dean RE: callitasicit Sep 29, 2007 08:47 AM

                                              good morning,I was doing research on the net and for some reason I found this post,now I'm hooked,I'm not good at this posting thing so if I screw up please let me know.I'm opening a sausage plant soon in Ottawa,my dream and its sites like this that gives me new ideas like this hotdog.I would like to know what you like to see in a good hotdog , I have several recipes so if want maybe we can create the perfect weiner.

                                              17 Replies
                                              1. re: smokin Dean
                                                Davwud RE: smokin Dean Sep 29, 2007 09:44 AM

                                                I would say a good crunch to them when you bite in. They need to have that snap in the skin. I like a good garlicy, peppery and smoky taste too.


                                                1. re: smokin Dean
                                                  embee RE: smokin Dean Sep 29, 2007 10:17 AM

                                                  This is exciting news if you are serious!

                                                  Pure beef! (You can, of course, do others, but I'm not big on turkey/chicken/veggie dogs and I don't eat pork.) A natural casing or a collagen casing - either is fine. The casing must not be overtly tough, though, as many are. It should snap when bitten, releasing a burst of flavourful juices when the dog is heated to just before the splitting point.

                                                  There should be a peppery and garlicky backbone with a hint of REAL smoke. Some (not pronounced) sweetness - too sweet (as with, say, Oscar Meyer) is horrible pap for kids. Salt is obvious, but not enough to gag on. It's up to you to develop a spice formula. If you sample the Nathan's hot dogs sold in Coney Island (NOT the ones at upstate NY supermarkets) and the Hebrew National's with casings sold in New York City, you'll get the sense of what I'm looking for.

                                                  Fat is an issue. Anything with too much fat doesn't sell, but too little can't be made to taste good. You can check out the ratings of the normal vs lowfat kosher dogs in, say, Consumer Reports, to get a sense of the problem.

                                                  You must avoid binders and fillers - no milk products, glutens, soy extenders, etc - just meat. Although you obviously won't be making a kosher dog, you should become familiar with the non-religious aspects of what can and can't go into one. Simply stated, the stuff you can't put into a kosher dog tends to yield inferior taste and texture when it is used.

                                                  There are some good quality hotdogs distributed in the Toronto area - BIG, Kwinter, Baldwin St, and Cumbrae's to name just four. But none has a perfect balance of flavour and texture.

                                                  Don't look to the organics as a model. Hotdogs are something that should be eaten in moderation. It may be possible to create healthy sausages that are also delicious, but I haven't yet tasted one myself. Nitrate free dogs just ain't any good.
                                                  The "Healthy Butcher" in Toronto has some tasty sausage formulas, but they don't yield excellent sausages because excellent sausages aren't healthy.

                                                  Feel free to email me - you'll see a mailing address if you click on my name.

                                                  1. re: embee
                                                    erly RE: embee Sep 30, 2007 03:45 AM

                                                    Love your summary.
                                                    Totally agree!.
                                                    Must stress casing, prefer natural, but would settle for collagen.
                                                    I need that burst of juice when I bite in.
                                                    Otherwise it just isn't worth eating.

                                                  2. re: smokin Dean
                                                    Yongeman RE: smokin Dean Sep 29, 2007 10:18 AM

                                                    As natural as possible, even if they have to be frozen to preserve them. No nitrates or nitrites would be a great selling point for a growing demographic.

                                                    1. re: Yongeman
                                                      embee RE: Yongeman Sep 29, 2007 10:27 AM

                                                      Oh how I wish I could agree with you! But I can't :-(

                                                      I have tasted many of these products and have seen reliable reviews of many more. The first person who can develop a good tasting nitrate/nitrate free dog and who has deep enough pockets to get it widely distributed will make a fortune, But it hasn't been done to date.

                                                      I've tried to make my homemade pastrami without these chemicals (which, BTW, can be natural). It has never worked. Nitrate free corned beef, while it looks bad, tastes fine. I've never tried a nitrate free dog and wanted to take a second bite.

                                                      1. re: embee
                                                        Yongeman RE: embee Sep 30, 2007 05:18 AM

                                                        Unfortunately embee, you are most likely right on all counts. Maybe we could learn to love the colour grey in our prepared meats.

                                                    2. re: smokin Dean
                                                      jayt90 RE: smokin Dean Sep 29, 2007 05:27 PM

                                                      Since you are close to Quebec, see if you can find Moishe's all beef hot dogs from Montreal. They have most of the qualities mentioned by embee and davwud, and you won't have to go to New York.

                                                      1. re: jayt90
                                                        embee RE: jayt90 Sep 30, 2007 11:24 AM

                                                        Still seeking them, but no luck yet...

                                                        1. re: embee
                                                          jayt90 RE: embee Oct 1, 2007 06:40 AM

                                                          I e-mailed them to see if there is any Ontario distribution.

                                                          1. re: jayt90
                                                            jayt90 RE: jayt90 Oct 1, 2007 08:28 PM

                                                            Search no longer, embee, they are off the market for good. Moishe's Len Lighter replied to my e-mail, same day, saying that sales were poor at Costco as the price was apparently high. The Angus content would have something to do with this. He said they set out to create the best hot dog ever, but now they will have to re-work the size and price. Doesn't sound very hopeful.

                                                            1. re: jayt90
                                                              callitasicit RE: jayt90 Oct 1, 2007 10:14 PM

                                                              I am not sure if it was this forum or a similar one but someone said that Nathans or Hebrew National might be sold in Ontario sometime soon. I believe there was potential that it might be sold at Nortown. If anyone knows about the latest on this subject, please comment.

                                                              1. re: callitasicit
                                                                embee RE: callitasicit Oct 2, 2007 06:35 AM

                                                                Dave Bursey, at the Alberta-based Canadian distributor of Nathan's products, is looking for a Southern Ontario distributor - not for sales outlets. He was going to be talking to Nortown, who seemed, at least, interested in the idea.

                                                                Dave had been responding quickly to emails, but then stopped. So either they are still negotiating or this is dead. Sorry I can't be more specific, but that's all I know to date.

                                                                1. re: embee
                                                                  callitasicit RE: embee Oct 2, 2007 07:41 AM

                                                                  Thanks for the info, Embee.

                                                                  1. re: embee
                                                                    Brain of J RE: embee Oct 5, 2007 11:01 AM

                                                                    I received a follow up e-mail for Dave Bursey today. In it he states that his company should have a Nathan's product in Ontario "very soon."

                                                                    Sounds like a good sign.

                                                                    1. re: Brain of J
                                                                      Davwud RE: Brain of J Oct 30, 2007 12:47 PM

                                                                      I'm anxious to try some Nathan's.
                                                                      I bought some when at the inlaws in the summer and promptly forgot them down there. My FIL who isn't supposed to eat such stuff pounced!!!

                                                                      So this time I didn't forget the 32 pack purchased at the local Costco "Down yonder."

                                                                      They're on the menu for dinner tomorrow night.


                                                                      1. re: Davwud
                                                                        Davwud RE: Davwud Nov 1, 2007 08:17 AM

                                                                        They were excellent BTW.
                                                                        The only ones I've had that were better are Tony Packo's


                                                        2. re: smokin Dean
                                                          embee RE: smokin Dean Jan 31, 2008 07:36 AM

                                                          Are you still here smokin Dean? Have you made any progress with this?

                                                        3. l
                                                          llalonde RE: callitasicit Dec 8, 2007 09:29 AM

                                                          I found Nathan's hot dogs this August in Old Orchard Beach, Maine; a supermarket called Hannafords. Have not eaten any other hot dog since. These were way better than Kwinter's. I emailed Loblaws about stocking Nathan's, received only an automated reply and nothing since. Does anyone know if Dave Bursey has made progress getting a distributing license for Nathan's? If so, please provide details! Thanks.

                                                          12 Replies
                                                          1. re: llalonde
                                                            callitasicit RE: llalonde Dec 8, 2007 10:51 AM

                                                            I recently made a trip down to Buffalo and bought a pack of 8 skinless Nathan bigger than the bun hot dogs. I have to say without a doubt the best hot dogs I have ever tasted. Cooked them on the grill and they were so tasty and juicy. Next time I go, I will be buying a lot more!!

                                                            1. re: callitasicit
                                                              llalonde RE: callitasicit Dec 8, 2007 07:12 PM

                                                              Where in Buffalo? Are Nathan's available generally there, or did you have to hunt for them? I'm not far from the border, so it'd be a day trip for me, and well worth it. Thanks!

                                                              1. re: llalonde
                                                                embee RE: llalonde Dec 8, 2007 08:25 PM

                                                                Most supermarkets would have them. The Tops Supercenter on Niagara Falls Blvd (next to Target) and the Wegmans near the Outlet Mall are probably the closest to the border. I'm not sure about the Tops in Lewiston. But you won't find either the natural casing version or the kosher version in any store in this area.

                                                                1. re: llalonde
                                                                  callitasicit RE: llalonde Dec 8, 2007 08:32 PM

                                                                  It is quite easy to find in Buffalo, you should have no problem. I am sorry I don't remember exactly where but it was at a Tops.

                                                                  1. re: callitasicit
                                                                    fleisch RE: callitasicit Dec 14, 2007 09:56 AM

                                                                    I just loaded up at the Niagara Falls Blvd Tops.
                                                                    I didn't see Nathans but the Hebrew Nationals were in a display case right by the front entrance. I grabbed a few for myself + a couple for holiday gifts and smiled all the way home.

                                                                    Then I ate one for dinner and smiled some more.

                                                                  2. re: llalonde
                                                                    Davwud RE: llalonde Dec 9, 2007 05:57 PM

                                                                    If you care to venture a little further inland and find yourself at a Costco they'll probably have the giant 32 dog packages.
                                                                    I picked one up a couple months ago and am addicted to them. I opened the pack and broke it down into 8 packs of 4.
                                                                    I'll have to stock up at Christmas.

                                                                    On a side note. I've recently come to loving my dogs on top split buns. I had some left over from the lobster rolls I made one time and just had dogs to use them up. They're perfect. Especially for the skinny dogs like the Nathans.


                                                                    1. re: Davwud
                                                                      TexSquared RE: Davwud Dec 11, 2007 02:13 PM

                                                                      For those of you in the GTA, quick reminder that there are NO Costco's close to any of our border crossings. So if you have to decide which club to join for your cross-border shopping (for Nathan's or otherwise), you might want to consider joining Sam's Club instead. Buffalo-area locations are in Niagara Falls (very close to the Queenston-Lewiston bridge) and Cheektowaga (near the Walden Galleria).

                                                                      If you're over in eastern Ontario, there's a Sam's Club in Watertown, NY as well (south of the Thousand Islands Bridge). There are no Costco's in New York state except in New York City.

                                                                      No, Sam's Club doesn't pay me... I'm just a happy customer who shops at their stores on both sides of the border.

                                                                      1. re: TexSquared
                                                                        Davwud RE: TexSquared Dec 13, 2007 03:44 AM

                                                                        I think the closest Costco to the GTA is in Cleveland.
                                                                        Like I said, you'd have to venture a little further inland.

                                                                        Does SC carry Nathans??


                                                                        1. re: Davwud
                                                                          jayt90 RE: Davwud Dec 13, 2007 05:01 AM

                                                                          There are four Costcos in Detroit. Maybe one of them is close to the north-south interstate.

                                                                2. re: llalonde
                                                                  embee RE: llalonde Dec 8, 2007 08:26 PM

                                                                  I haven't heard anything in months.

                                                                  1. re: embee
                                                                    Helen RE: embee Dec 8, 2007 08:51 PM

                                                                    I was over at Square One the other day and went into Johnny Rocket to have a quick bite and couldn't believe my eyes - Nathans Hot Dogs - I thoroughly enjoyed it. Don't know where they get them from - probably the States.

                                                                    1. re: Jorzak
                                                                      embee RE: Jorzak Dec 13, 2007 08:42 AM

                                                                      We tried Rubashkin Aaron's Best franks yesterday. They were okay - no more, no less. Good salt level, negligible smoke, low flavour intensity, minimal spices, no serious defects.

                                                                      I think these were better than the kosher brands made locally, but they do not compare with Nathan's (either the "real" ones in casings or the types available in the Buffalo/Niagara area).

                                                                      I can't equate them with Levitt's. When I first tried a Levitt's frank, in the late sixties, it lost more than half its weight/size as it rendered fat onto the grill. I never had the stomach to eat another, though I understand that they got better in later years.

                                                                      A possibly interesting sidelight: I believe Levitt's went bankrupt because they built a huge plant with the intent of flooding the US with their products.

                                                                3. jayt90 RE: callitasicit Jan 29, 2008 08:24 AM

                                                                  I came across this article on Vienna all beef, natural casing dogs out of Chicago:
                                                                  Has anyone tried these? Do they get distributed as far as Buffalo or Detroit?

                                                                  1. t
                                                                    tpw72 RE: callitasicit Jan 30, 2008 01:21 PM

                                                                    Baldwin are top shelf. As a hot dog lover and non Jew I love nothing more tha Baldwin St. Kosher spicey beef dog...especialy at a Raptors game from Old Spadina Station.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: tpw72
                                                                      jayt90 RE: tpw72 Jan 30, 2008 02:49 PM

                                                                      I can't find them in Scarboro/Pickering. Someone suggested Longo but I did not find any .

                                                                    2. e
                                                                      embee RE: callitasicit Jan 31, 2008 07:34 AM

                                                                      Has anyone heard anything more about this recently?

                                                                      The Alberta company that was negotiating for a GTA distributor no longer answers messages. I thought that negotiations might be progressing, thus the silence, but it has now been at least four months.

                                                                      1. TorontoTips RE: callitasicit Nov 26, 2009 05:44 PM

                                                                        Just thought I'd bump this topic to see if anyone had any new info on getting Hebrew National hot dogs or dinner franks in T.O. I don't mind the Angus dogs as a reluctant compromise, but I miss my Hebrew Nationals - damn you Galen Weston and your silly sweaters! :-)

                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                        1. re: TorontoTips
                                                                          embee RE: TorontoTips Nov 26, 2009 07:13 PM

                                                                          No to the Hebrew National. I have no inside info about this, but I believe that (among other things) Con Agra isn't willing to meet the nutritional or bilingual labeling requirements.

                                                                          As to Nathan's, just as happened a couple of years back, Canalta (the Canadian distributor) promised imminent product in Ontario (specifically in November 09) and then stopped responding to queries. There is no possibility of either natural casing or kosher Nathan's dogs here. I've no idea as to the fate of the regular ones.

                                                                          1. re: TorontoTips
                                                                            TexSquared RE: TorontoTips Nov 26, 2009 07:22 PM

                                                                            Just give up and make a cross-border shopping trip to Buffalo, stock up on the stuff, bring it home, freeze. Done. Too much bureaucracy and it's not worth it for these guys to bother since they have a 10x larger market at home to sell to.

                                                                            1. re: TexSquared
                                                                              jayt90 RE: TexSquared Nov 26, 2009 07:45 PM

                                                                              This visit to another country for a package of hot dogs is not realistic for most of us. The price of gas and border hassles leaves me out.
                                                                              To the OP, Nathan's has fillers. These are almost necessary in the slurry that becomes a hot dog.

                                                                          2. c
                                                                            Cornstar RE: callitasicit Mar 16, 2010 05:15 PM

                                                                            I recently tried Nathan's hot dogs at Johnny Rockets and I'm now a believer. Any updates on where to buy them? Or any decent alternatives in the GTA? Spring is upon us and my grill is getting lonely.

                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Cornstar
                                                                              jayt90 RE: Cornstar Mar 16, 2010 07:26 PM

                                                                              Deli-Cart All Beef is close, and fatty like Nathans. Highland Farms and Costco usually carry them.

                                                                              1. re: jayt90
                                                                                embee RE: jayt90 Mar 17, 2010 03:23 PM

                                                                                I've only seen pork at Highland.

                                                                                1. re: embee
                                                                                  jayt90 RE: embee Mar 17, 2010 06:38 PM

                                                                                  I'll check Highland Farms on Friday, but the all beef Deli-Cart are back in stock at Costco.
                                                                                  I'm really curious about the source: label says made for David Gordon Co. of London Ont. But who are they, and why is nothing available except in BBQ season?

                                                                                  Highland Farms
                                                                                  850 Ellesmere Rd, Toronto, ON M1P, CA

                                                                                2. re: jayt90
                                                                                  Cornstar RE: jayt90 Mar 19, 2010 10:12 PM

                                                                                  Really? I've only tried their pork sausages and thought they were decent. I also dropped by Costco recently and saw no sign of Deli-Cart. I'll keep an eye out...

                                                                                3. re: Cornstar
                                                                                  haggisdragon RE: Cornstar Mar 18, 2010 06:13 AM

                                                                                  I also enjoyed a Nathans dog at Johnny Rockets recently. Holy moses it was good! Converted.

                                                                                  Johnny Rockets Restaurant
                                                                                  1 Bass Pro Mills Dr, Thornhill, ON L4K5W4, CA

                                                                                  1. re: haggisdragon
                                                                                    Cornstar RE: haggisdragon Mar 19, 2010 10:13 PM

                                                                                    Hah! I was actually expecting it to only be marginally better than the stuff I usually have, but they lived up to the hype! Someone needs to distribute these here!

                                                                                4. Dimbulb RE: callitasicit Mar 18, 2010 05:37 AM

                                                                                  I heard Nathan's had a booth at last week's CRFA food industry thing and were giving out samples. Maybe they're looking for local distribution?

                                                                                  1. Full tummy RE: callitasicit Mar 18, 2010 09:48 AM

                                                                                    Anyone know where to buy Nathan's in Michigan? I will be traveling in the Port Huron and Utica areas.

                                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Full tummy
                                                                                      Davwud RE: Full tummy Mar 18, 2010 12:36 PM

                                                                                      Probably any major grocery store will have them.

                                                                                      I'm gonna stock up at Costco when we go down yonder for Easter.


                                                                                      1. re: Davwud
                                                                                        Full tummy RE: Davwud Mar 20, 2010 07:57 AM

                                                                                        Oh, they're at Costco? I have looked in Meijer. Nope. Kroger. Only skinless. Are those good?

                                                                                        1. re: Full tummy
                                                                                          Davwud RE: Full tummy Mar 20, 2010 08:22 AM

                                                                                          They're in that Costco. I can't speak for all.

                                                                                          The skinless are great. I don't get all worked up about the skins. I'd prefer them but wouldn't go out of my way for them.

                                                                                          I'd say it's definitely worth seeking these out. First of all because they're excellent dogs and secondly, at this point, you probably need to curb your curiosity.


                                                                                      2. re: Full tummy
                                                                                        TexSquared RE: Full tummy Mar 18, 2010 04:06 PM

                                                                                        Sam's Club in Port Huron would have them.

                                                                                        1. re: TexSquared
                                                                                          Full tummy RE: TexSquared Mar 20, 2010 07:57 AM

                                                                                          Thanks, there's a Sam's Club in Utica, near where we stay. Maybe they'd have them...

                                                                                          1. re: Full tummy
                                                                                            TexSquared RE: Full tummy Mar 20, 2010 10:49 AM

                                                                                            Perfect! Reason why I mentioned the one in Port Huron is because it's very close to the border crossing. We also fill up the gas tank there (cheaper than surrounding stations) before heading to the bridge.

                                                                                            It's been our experience, in the USA you find Sam's Clubs everywhere, Costco are concentrated in certain urban areas (and in their home market which is the west coast). If you're a frequent cross-border shopper, Sam's membership might be more worthwhile since they're in Port Huron MI, and all over upstate NY (Niagara Falls, Buffalo, Syracuse, Watertown, Albany, Binghamton...). For Costco you only have Detroit or all the way down to New York City.

                                                                                            1. re: TexSquared
                                                                                              Full tummy RE: TexSquared Mar 20, 2010 11:28 AM

                                                                                              Thanks! There's both a Sam's Club and a Costco within minutes of each other in Utica, but I'll keep the close to the border location in mind.

                                                                                              1. re: TexSquared
                                                                                                Davwud RE: TexSquared Mar 20, 2010 12:29 PM

                                                                                                There's a Costco a little north of Pittsburgh and a few in the Cleveland area. Not exactly convenient but closer than NYC.


                                                                                        2. Paulustrious RE: callitasicit Mar 20, 2010 04:20 AM

                                                                                          Not exactly local, but if you are passing through terminals D or E of Miami Airport there is a Nathans at D37 second floor. Helps pass the time.

                                                                                          They have an on-line store at http://shop.nathansfamous.com/hot-dog...

                                                                                          I don't know if they ship to Canada. If they do then postage is probably cheaper than a trip to Buffalo.

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: Paulustrious
                                                                                            acd123 RE: Paulustrious Mar 20, 2010 06:06 AM

                                                                                            They only ship to locations in the US.

                                                                                          2. g
                                                                                            grumpy0282 RE: callitasicit about 7 hours ago

                                                                                            i know this is an old post, but anyway i went to the site that sells hebrew national and i was told they are no longer avbl in canada, however it seems like most larger grocery stores in buffalo sell them (according to the site) but is also says to call first. kwinters i think are also very good but they are getting hard to find, cloest place to me is loblaws in pickering on kingston rd at liverpool

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