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Best Hot Dog in the state of Massachusetts

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Where do you get your favorite dog? Central Mass has my favorite. Coney Island.

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  1. Speed's in Roxbury, no question.

    3 Replies
    1. re: tamerlanenj

      What's so special? Coney's has an awesome sauce. Years ago, when living in Chicagoland I made and sold dogs. I do enjoy a chicago style no and again. Still, I'd want a Coney Dog whenever I came home.

      1. re: foodiesrus

        I've been to George's Coney Island in Worcester and agree they do excellent dogs worth seeking out (fine chili in particular, though you've got to be OK with steamed, not grilled rolls) -- but I'll strongly second tamerlanej's idea that Speed's does the best hot dog I've ever eaten.

        If you want to know what makes them special, Speed's uses large all-beef Pearl franks marinated in apple juice and brown sugar, grills them over charcoal until they get a great snap when you bite into them, puts them on a good quality grilled roll, then tops them with first-rate homemade toppings, including relish, all beef chili, mustard, and a special sauce which I'd compare favorably to anyone's. They are pricey and his hours can be erratic (he's based out of a mobile cart), but they're great.

        1. re: bachslunch

          Directions to Speed's are here:

          -----
          Speed's Hotdog Wagon
          54 Newmarket Square, Boston, MA 02118

    2. I don't know which "Coney Island" you're referring to: what town in Central MA is it in?

      I grew up eating dogs from Tex Barry's Coney Island (various locations in Southeastern MA), a classic steamed beef/pork dog on a steamed Wonder Bread kind of bun, with French's yellow mustard, raw diced Spanish onions, "Coney Island" sauce (a beanless, finely-minced chile with some subtle sweet spices), and an optional squirt of melted Cheez Whiz kind of cheese food product. Those were excellent, and I ate literally hundreds of them in my youth (there was a stand right at the end of my paper route). The hot dog guy loved to entertain us kids with bawdy jokes and riddles: he looked a bit like an Azorean, slightly taller, leering Burt Young (circa Rocky II).

      I spent some time in Chicago, and loved me some Chicago-style dogs, too. They're pretty impossible to find around here, I think.

      As much nostalgia as I have for those versions, they don't really hold a candle to Speed's Famous Hot Dog Wagon in Newmarket Square. Speed and his mentorees make the finest dog I've ever had in my life. Really a transporting experience.

      7 Replies
      1. re: MC Slim JB

        Coney Island in Worcester. As a kid I remember going with my dad and seeing the vendor line about 1/2 a dozen up his arm (think they were all my dad's), loading them all. Last time I required that nostalgic taste I noticed no dogs up the vendor's arm (health dept, no doubt). Still something special, though. They don't do the optional cheez wiz (or maybe I've been missing something), but the rest of the story is the same. Wonder what brand of dog they use. Vienna's trade mark for Chicago. Wonderbread llike rolls a must! Now I'm hungry...

        1. re: MC Slim JB

          Now that I think about it, the actor whom the Tex Barry's guy really resembled was John Colicos (Kor the Klingon in the original Star Trek, Balthar in the original Battlestar Galacta, Cromwell in Anne of the Thousand Days.) He made a mean Coney Island.

          What's odd is that this style of dog allegedly originated in Michigan. I don't know how it ended up migrating to the South Coast of MA. The original owners sold the chain (including their recipe for coney sauce, their big trade secret) sometime in the early 80s. I believe two outlets survive, one in downtown Taunton (in what looks like a vintage diner) and one in Attleboro.

          1. re: MC Slim JB

            Fwiw MC Slim JB,
            This should make it clear as mustard, errr...I mean mud.
            http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michiga...

            Harp00n

            1. re: MC Slim JB

              If you get to Newport RI, you should go to Ben's Chili Dogs on Broadway. He is as close to Tex Barry as you'll get, and has been there forever. Only thing on his menu is dogs - chili dog, cheese, onion...nothing else. Wood paneled walls, orange naugahyde stools at a small counter along the wall.

            2. re: MC Slim JB

              george's coney island in worcester is great just for the atmosphere alone. i haven't been there in some years, but i go every time i am in that town. their website has some pix:

              http://www.coneyislandlunch.com/

              1. re: passing thru

                Thanks for the link. Love the sign! Seen local artists have done in up when at a street fair last September in Worcester. I'm not in Worcester often anymore. Seems like I've ended up 3 times on a Tuesday and missed out on what I was hankering for. Though Speed's definitely sounds like something not to be missed either. I'll have to check that out when nearby. Maybe make a special trip.

                1. re: passing thru

                  I have to agree, George's is great for the ambiance. The dogs are pretty good too, but I have to give the edge to Detroit area Coney Dogs.

              2. Georges CI is good, but Speed's rules.
                On 20 in Northboro there is an ice cream place advertising Chicago dogs. Anyone tried them?

                6 Replies
                1. re: trufflehound

                  Yes, it's Beezer's. Great, great place. Excellent ice cream, fried clams, and onion rings. The Chicago dogs are what you'd expect - gigantic and topped with everything you can imagine. It's hard to compare a Chicago dog to a Coney Island - two completely different experiences. I prefer George's Coney Island in Worcester, and order clams or burgers at Beezer's.

                  No one has mentioned Lawton's in Lawrence. Excellent deep-fried hot dogs. I love when they split open. :)

                  1. re: Eatin in Woostah

                    I can't say i'm familiar with Chicago dogs.
                    If you were to compare by respective proerties, which is better suited to that particular hot dog';s style.

                    1. re: trufflehound

                      Unfortunately, I've never had a Chicago dog in Chicago (or CI dogs on Coney Island for that matter!), so probably am not the best judge of whether they're true to style. :) They're two totally different experiences, though. The hot dogs at Beezers are like a whole meal. Big mildly spicy hot dogs on a poppy seed bun, with cucumbers, pickles, hot peppers, relish, and tomatoes, with celery salt on top. I can't really eat more than one, whereas I can eat 5 or 6 Coney Islands. (It's not wise to do so....but I'm up for the challenge.)

                      1. re: Eatin in Woostah

                        Hum. Isn't putting Celery salt on Dogs (and Lobster rolls for that matter) a very Massachusetts or New England thing?

                        That might be one thing off from a true Chicago dog, but I don't know either -- I haven't had one.

                        1. re: Keithel

                          Hey Keithel,
                          Not an area of my expertise either, but according to Wikipedia celery salt is Kosher, so to speak;

                          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_...

                          Harp00n

                          1. re: Harp00n

                            Ahh ok! so it seems us New Englanders aren't the only ones that lay ownership claim to to the use of Celery Salt.

                2. Speeds in Boston has the best hotdogs in New England - period. Be sure to get the hot dogs (which are huge) fully loaded as the mixture of toppings at Speeds is fabulous. The only problem with Speeds is that you never quite know if he will show up on any given day.
                  There are lots of postings on Speeds on the Boston Chowhound board.

                  1. Does anyone remember Nick's Nest in Holyoke? Steamed hotdogs, beans, and popcorn? That's where we often went when we were kids growing up in Easthampton.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Shooley

                      sure! i loved nick's nest when i lived in w. mass. great little spot, right where the peter pan bus used to stop...it's still there, isn't it?

                      1. re: passing thru

                        Yes, Nick's Nest is still there. I was there last month and although it was good and worth the visit, I wouldn't go out of my way to go there. Speed's is the best. George's Coney Island is very good. Casey's Diner in Natick also rates up there.

                    2. I brake for George's. Last April, a detour both heading south and north. Price + taste + atmosphere = a wiener!
                      Are the stories true about getting mugged for Speed's in Roxbury because they cost almost as much as a pair of Nikes?

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                        Dogs are $7 a little high but worth it. The problem is the gas I spend driving over there and then he isn't there. I went yesterday with no luck and with the temp in the 90's the rest of the week, I wouldn't bother for the rest of the week.

                        1. re: harpoonipa1967

                          Anyone ever eat the dogs at Sicma's on the Bridge...rolls are grilled in butter...long skinny dog...very good frappe...real ice cream and milk...

                          I don't knowe the adress it;s sort of near the edge of Dorchester near the Franklin Park Zoo...Rt 137? I thinnk north off of 128...then it splits...I just like the urban atmosophere...

                          1. re: sodagirl

                            It's actually Simco's on the Bridge, which is in Mattapan, and I've had a dog at this spot before. The dog there's actually pretty good, but I'm not so comfortable standing around there to eat it (there's no place to eat inside) -- I'd think it's best for takeaway or if you have a car to sit in.

                            1. re: bachslunch

                              I am pretty sure you can get a Simco's dog in Allston at this new place, Grille Zone, next to T Anthony's on Comm Ave. Their claim to fame is "local products" and the dogs are made in Mattapan and are quite good, but pricey. $4.50 for 1/4 pounder with excellent real casing, dog and roll grilled perfectly with mustard, relish, ketchup or onions (raw) for condiments. Plenty of seating but lacking Simco's ambience.

                        2. re: Passadumkeg

                          No, the area where Speed's is seems fine in daylight -- he's never there after dark.

                        3. Well, I gotta throw my hat in the Butcher Shop ring, if we are to ignore price. That is one fantastic homemade sausage.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: tamerlanenj

                            Speed's is the best.......a truly exceptional experience!

                            There is a fairly new place in Framingham on Route 135 across from LaCantina called Trolley Dogs. He has a great variety of toppings as well as some other sandwich offerings. The Sausage Sub is delicious and the man who runs it is a really nice guy. They are open Monday through Saturday.

                          2. Understanding & also agreeing it's Speed's and then everyone else, I'm surprised no one's mentioned Fred's Franks on this post. Fred makes an awesome dog in it's own right and, for some of us. is a lot easier to get to on a regular basis. LOL, that being said, it's been at least a couple of weeks since I was last there. I gotta go! http://www.fredsfranks.com/

                            Harp00n

                            -----
                            Fred's Franks
                            390 Quannapowitt Pkwy, Wakefield, MA 01880

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: Harp00n

                              SPEED DOG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! But he's over 90 years old, so he's not so speedy any more. I love how he taps the dog, picks it up from one bath and puts it in another, then throws on the grill, gives it another tap, then, with those blood shot eyes, asks you what you want on it. It takes him 10 minutes per dog now a days (maybe exagerating).

                              There is nothing funnyer than watching drive that van. Apparently, he drove it down for the Olympics in Atlanta, and was a hit selling dogs down there.

                              1. re: Guinness02122

                                He's actually got helpers with him these days. And while it's not the fastest way to get a dog (they're cooked to order), it's not that horribly slow. And it's worth the wait anyway, if you ask me.

                                1. re: bachslunch

                                  I agree, except when you're getting 13 of them for your co-workers

                                  1. re: Guinness02122

                                    Or when you're stuck behind someone who's getting 13 of them for his coworkers! ;-)

                            2. When I first saw this post, my immediate was response was Speed's in Boston or George's Coney Island in Worcester. George's are like the typical chili dogs I grew up on in New Jersey, though they also have their own distinction. They are tremendous and the funky setting and atmosphere just add to the experience. But, Speed's dogs are an entirely different thing. Other than a true Chicago dog, I've never seen a dog as distinctive and unique as Speed's. The concept and execution are perfect. But just like George's, the setting and ritual is as much a part of the experience as the food itself.

                              To say one is better?....I don't see the point in that. They are so different I don't see how one would begin to compare. For me, I'm just happy I occasionally have the opportunity to sample both.

                              At one point in my life I had delivery job that let drive many of the secondary roads of Worcester County, both northern and southern. I remember many a fine dog from lunch trucks parked at 'busy' intersections. This was in the 80s and early 90s and I always wondered about this. Has anyone else encountered "speed-like" trucks on the sleepy roads of Worcester Country and are any of them still there. Another place I used to frequent was Pops Dogs on Rt. 12 in Winchendon(?), but I believe it closed a while ago.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: jpsox

                                1.Speeds.

                                2. Casey's in Natick

                                3. Harv's hot dog truck in southboro- these are steamed in beer and served on grilled buttered rolls

                                1. re: jpsox

                                  I believe there still is a Hotdog truck operating across from Culley's snowmobiling (more like mudmobiling) ranch on Rt 117 just a bit across the Bolton/Lancaster line in Lancaster, MA.

                                  Course, I've never understood the grouchy Culley and his Mudmobile races.

                                  1. re: jpsox

                                    Yeah, pop's closed a while ago... ;-(

                                  2. I used to go to Coney Island in Worcester all the time when I was growing up. A hot dog and a pickle and I was happy. Plus, the entertainment of reading all the graffiti on the booths.

                                    I keep meaning to venture over to Speed's. Too bad it isn't more convenient to where I work.

                                    -----
                                    Coney Island Lunch
                                    158 Southbridge St, Worcester, MA 01608

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: mangorita

                                      Do yourself a big favor and go to Speed Dog. Make sure not to go to the imposter who goes by a similar name, and idolizes Speed (I admit, I took the bait). His dogs aren't bad, but you could be easily fooled since they have similar trucks. The new jack has a shinyer truck, and he gets the food to you 12 times as fast. However, when it's all said and done, you'll be left with that I-could-have-made-this-at-home feeling. Speed's son should create an email group containing his legion of followers. He can then blast off emails when he feels like working on any particular day. After all, I can always say I FEEL THE NEED FOR SPEED!

                                    2. As a displaced N'Yawker, I have to agree Speeds is in a class of its own. He's so good that his bizarre hit-or-more-likely-miss business hours and gourmet-prices can't keep people away. He does everything you can do to a dog and somehow it all holds together and more or less works together. I remember the first time I went, I thought I could buy two dogs for how much I ended up paying for one. Anyway, it's still worth it, if you really care about the quality of the dog.

                                      I also like Spike's for a chain-restaurant version of a good dog...not inedible, decent curly fries, and much better locations/hours. Of course, I'm always game for a simple NY dog, with just that patented hot red onion relish and mustard. Chicago dogs are a bit too much for me...they try to stuff them the way they stuff the pizzas. I have mixed feelings about them. On the one hand, I like the way they taste. But I feel as if I'm eating a hot dog salad in a bun.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: NYA Joe

                                        This cracks me up! This has been going on for almost a month now! I started the topic cuz I was just a bit peeved at the mod's here tossing me on another subject that I don't think I crossed any lines on, inquiring about a restaurant and having high hopes/ remarks about a favorite chef of mine. Not a close friend or relative. Just a chef. We all have ones we admire most. NO. I won't mention his name or restaurant. Don't want them tossing me again. Thing is, I happen to know he abhors hot dogs. But not me...

                                        I'll toss another hot dog joint from central MA in. My sister's favorite. Hot Dog Annie's out on Rt 56 in Leicester. I've enjoyed a few there myself.

                                        And I still am looking forward to trying Speed's!

                                        1. re: NYA Joe

                                          I have a pretty good recipe for that delicious red onion relish... got it from the NY Post a few years ago...

                                          2 Large onions, chopped
                                          3 tbl veg oil
                                          1 cup Heinx Chili Sauce
                                          1 tsp grnd cumin
                                          S+P

                                          cook onions for about 10 min in the oil over med heat covered. stir a little bit. Uncover, stir alot and brown to golden hue, add water if they start to burn, for about 20 min... Add everything else until thick...

                                          works when I am craving a dog and watching the Yankees....

                                        2. speed's is the best i've had in mass.

                                          casey's in natick is good if you're in the mood for an old-fashioned boiled dog.

                                          also, spike's isn't bad at all and has several locations. plus their hours are predictable.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: shoofirbin

                                            Please, someone tell Spike's to ditch their roll. They are fine for chicken sandwiches and subs. But a hot dog roll would greatly improve their dogs. At least offer them as an option.

                                          2. white hut in west springfield. great cheeseburgs with fried onions as well

                                            1. Not a stand, but the finest hot dog is the natural-casing Blue Seal, made in Chicopee. They can be hard to find in markets outside of Central Mass., but they are available on-line. Eons ago, Wiegert's made a great dog. Try to find Blue Seal if you are cooking them yourself. Decent kielbasa, too.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: oystertripe

                                                Blue Seal is a 4 meat dog:

                                                Pork
                                                Beef
                                                Veal
                                                BACON! :-)

                                                1. re: oystertripe

                                                  Oh my. I realize this is an old thread, but Harry Weigert was my great-grandfather. Just about everyone who worked at Weigert's was a relative. Before it closed in the late 60s we used to go there on Saturdays. My great grandfather and gear grand mother (Lily) and his sister (Emily) and other relatives I barely remember lived in the big yellow three-decker that shared the parking lot with the store on Greenwood street.

                                                  They did everything themselves: slaughtered animals, made sausage, smoked meat. The hotdog recipe is now at my mom's house. It's scrawled in pencil on white lined paper. I want to frame it.

                                                  If they could have hung on for a few more decades (!) they would have been considered "artisanal." Was a great store. Thanks for mentioning it in this thread.
                                                  Dave

                                                  1. re: Dave Westerberg

                                                    I would love to have this recipe,as I am always looking for a good Chili recipe.

                                                    thanks

                                                2. I've never had anything as good as a GRILLED Pearl Hot Dog made here in Randolph Massachusetts.

                                                  Perfection!

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: sinned61

                                                    Well hate to say since pearl moved to there new plant they have moved away from quality and good dog, to a cheaper dog and less flavor, Quality has went to the dog sinc e they have moved(cheaper cheaper dog and quality). Thank god SPEED REALIZED THAT BEFORE THEY ALSO WENT TO THE DOG. GREG has kept Speed Wagon running and to the fulliest to its name

                                                  2. Any recs in Western Mass??

                                                    6 Replies
                                                    1. re: Bookistan

                                                      How about Teo's in Pittsfield MA

                                                      1. re: yankintigerland

                                                        I like the speciality dogs at ugly american. The Bacon cheddar dog, the griddle dog, the godzilla dog, and the Jalapeno dog. They also do a good chili dog.

                                                        1. re: yankintigerland

                                                          Second Teo's. Was disappointed when Whorles stopped making their dogs, but have gotten used to the new ones. Still great guilty pleasure food.

                                                        2. re: Bookistan

                                                          I know Teo's is legendary and has its champions, and I've had many a Teo's hot dog, but I must profess a weakness for the hot dogs at Jack's in North Adams.

                                                          1. re: NickM

                                                            Since this thread has been revived, I have to chime in on Teo's and Jack's, which I wrote up in a recent 'western Mass report'. Jack's was a bummer even tho it looked like it was gonna be great with the right look, cool sign, smelled yummy. But I think that was all the burgers. It was a sad mushy dog with zero snap on a mushy roll. Cheap but not great by any means. Teo's fared a little better and the Hot Dog Ranch (in Pittsfield) was in between. I agree with those who like Top Dog in Rockport. It's gotta be on a grill for me to rave about it, and more raving when the bun is buttered and grilled. Mushy roll out of a pkg just doesn't cut it. I'm afraid Connecticut has us beat in the hot dog war.

                                                          2. re: Bookistan

                                                            the hot dog ranch on linden st. in pittsfield. may just be called 'the ranch'. they have the tiny 'tight skin' dogs there.

                                                          3. Sorry ugly American is in Fall River Ma.

                                                            1. There was a festival on Boston's City Hall Plaza on Saturday (free "Food Should Taste Good" chips will always get my attention), and the Speed's truck was there.

                                                              $7 for a dog. This better be a good dog. Saw it. It's HUGE! Asked wife "will you help?" She's not a big dog or red meat fan, but she said she'd take a couple of bites.

                                                              Thank goodness I'm stronger than her (and a little faster) or I wouldn't have gotten any of that dog.

                                                              Next time I'm unemployed, I'm looking for a job that puts me near the Speed's truck in Roxbury. Oh my.

                                                              1. Best dog I've had in a long time - and I'm still thinking about it almost a year later - was from Top Dog in Rockport - it hits on all cylinders. And a wide assortment of toppings to choose from and good fries too.

                                                                I wish I had been able to try a Speed's dog before the change - because that sausage that they now serve does not meet my definition of a hot dog or satisfy my craving for one. Also not a fan of the sweet grape jelly relish - thought that sausage would be better with just onions and mustard - sauerkraut would be win as well, but I don't think its available.

                                                                -----
                                                                Top Dog
                                                                2 Doyle Cove Rd, Rockport, MA 01966

                                                                1. Had a Hippy Dog in Cleveland Circle last week. Very good and reasonably priced. Yesterday: Casey's. Today: Sullivan's.

                                                                  1. CONEY SAUCE: growing up in NJ you could get hot dogs with this unique sauce just about anywhere. In New England? It took me 10 years to discover "George's Coney island lunch" in worcester. But... are there ANY other places in all of New England that serve this kind of sauce? Though George's is good, whenever I go back to Perth Amboy, NJ and stop at the coney island lunch there (even though its not the original original...) even theirs is better than george's. Hoping to find more options rather than 1 hour east of me!

                                                                    1. Coney Island in Worcester, Hot Dog Annie's in Leicester, Jack's in North Adams. (and the Montreal Pool Room in Montreal)