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Mar 31, 2008 11:43 AM

Hot dogs

What's the best place to get hot dogs in Boston and Cambridge, besides Speed's? I'd like to go there, but it's a bit out of the way, and the hours are limited.

Btw, has the owner of Speed's considered setting up his food truck in a location with more customers, like Downtown Crossing, Fenway Park, or Faneuil Hall? He would be swimming in money if he did.

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  1. A Speed's dog takes about 10 minutes to prepare. If he was in a place with more traffic, either the line would be blocks long or the quality of the dog would suffer, neither of which would be good in the long run. A Speed's dog is about art, not commerce.

    Speed's truck has been where it is for 33 years. If he wasn't doing all right financially, he wouldn't have been there that long. (And at $7 a dog, there is no reason to believe he's not doing all right financially!)

    1 Reply
    1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

      art may be a little much....they're not for everyone. big as a baby's arm with lots of toppings.

    2. anyone that serves pearl hot dogs is great I imagine. I think Summer Shack even has one on their menu. I Love hot dogs especially with mustard and onions.

      1. I believe he's well into his 90s, don't think the $$ would motivate him to move.

        5 Replies
        1. re: bakerboyz

          Well, Speed is officially retired as of this season anyway. He still owns the truck, but the new guy is running it single-handed.

            1. re: trufflehound

              Last time I saw the man himself was early last summer.

              1. re: trufflehound

                Nope. New guy -- who I suppose also has a name, but I don't know what it is -- says he never even comes out anymore. He is 100% retired.

          1. Not many options, IMO. Simco's in Mattapan has some of my favorite hot dogs, and Grumpy White's in Quincy has an excellent foot-long hot dog. I hear that New England Hot Dog Company in Everett is good, and the hot dog place in the Garage in Harvard Square might also be decent, but I haven't been to either place yet.

            18 Replies
            1. re: hiddenboston

              I drive by NE Hotdog in Everett a lot and each time I remind myself that I need to try it, but so far I haven't. On the high end, people who have tried the dog at the Butcher Shop have reported favorably (although, again, I have not tried it). Summer Shack (which in general I dislike a great deal) makes a decent dog; you grill the roll in that much butter and anything's gonna taste good!

              1. re: Blumie

                I've driven by NE Hotdog a lot too. Now I'm curious. Has anyone else posted on this place?

                1. re: yumyum

                  The closest I have to a first hand report is that the mother of my former secretary (both live in Everett) likes the place! We need a hound to take the plunge.

                  1. re: Blumie

                    I sir will be that hound. I'm craving a dog anyway. Report to come asap.

                    1. re: yumyum

                      Well, if it's not to your liking, at least you'll be within striking distance of a few other chowhound destinations: Abbondanza in Everett, New Bridge in Chelsea, and Angela's in East Boston.

                      1. re: Blumie

                        Oh, I'm not worried. Worst comes to worst and I pop into Kelly's drive-thru for a roast beef with horseradish. I'm sure there are better rare roast beef sandwiches around, but man, that one always makes me happy. I think it's the buttered/grilled roll.

                        1. re: yumyum

                          FWIW, my former secretary recommends Mike's, on Route 99 in Everett, over Kelly's. She also likes the fried clams there.

                          1. re: Blumie

                            I was also going to suggest Mike's if you're in Everett. Still need to try their fried clams.

                      2. re: yumyum

                        I tried the NE Hotdog in Everett about 3-4 months ago. I was very disappointed. Not a very good tasting dog and expenive. I don't remember how much but remember being surprised when it came time to pay, It was lunch time and the place was empty. Maybe Speeds has spoiled me.

                        1. re: catsmeow

                          NE Hot Dog

                          Absolutely abysmal. The onions were smashed, not chopped.
                          I took one bite, threw it away and left.

                2. re: hiddenboston

                  Big thumbs down on the place in the Garage, although in their favor, they're the only place I know of where you can get a corn dog round these parts.

                    1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                      Youc an get a corn dog at Summer Shack. It's ok, nothing great. I doubt it's hand dipped but I could be wrong since it's been 3+ years since I had one. Then again, it was on the happy hour menu so what did I expect for a few bucks?

                      1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                        I'll second Barmy's big thumbs down on the Doghouse in Harvard Square at the Garage. The time I went, the woman at the counter tried to overcharge me and held her ground even when I pointed out (twice!) that the exact description of the dog I ordered was listed on their menu board at $1.00 less that she was asking -- in fact, I said I would refuse the dog unless she charged me the correct price. And when I got the dog, it was mediocre at best.

                        The Doghouse does offer a corn dog, it's true -- I've had them before at their outpost in Faneuil Hall. It's OK, though I prefer the ones you get at places like the Topsfield Fair. Thought the corn dog at Summer Shack was a leaden, greasy disaster.

                        1. re: bachslunch

                          I guess that's the issue: to be a proper corndog, it has to either be eaten at a fairground or in the parking lot of a convenience store.

                          Speaking of convenience store hot dogs, I have literally gone to the Hess station at the corner of Brighton and Linden and gotten one of the $1 hot dogs with mustard, relish and banana peppers and eaten it leaning against the ice cooler rather than going to Spike's directly across the street. Because as crap as those hot dogs are, at least they taste like hot dogs. At Spike's, all I can taste are those freakishly enormous demi-baugettes they try to pass off as hot dog rolls!

                          1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                            Haven't had the Hess dogs, but have been to Spike's once and agree that once is enough.

                        2. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                          i think soul fire has corn dogs on their menu as an appetizer. if i remember correctly, they come 4 pieces to an order (2 dogs each cut in half) and are hand-dipped.

                          1. re: lschow

                            Oh, right. I had those once. Batter was half raw. And it kind of needs to be on a stick for me. I'm a purist on my corn dogs!

                      2. BJ's used to have a 4oz hot dog at their snack bar - it was one of the brands they stocked in 40-oz. packs: Best Dinner Franks. Now they seem only to have the smaller size, which is 15 long franks to a 40-oz. package, at around $7.50. These are all-beef, garlicky, and my only reason for shopping at BJ's. There's always a package in my freezer; I pry one off as needed. I much prefer them to Pearl or any other brand. I'd always wanted to try Fred's wagon in Wakefield, and the time I went I'd just shopped at BJ's. I told them I was a newbie, and when they asked how I liked my dog (they use Pearl) I told them it was good, but Best's are better, and gave them one. The guy cooked and tasted it - his eyes lit up and he said he'd save the rest for Fred to try. I don't know if they decided to use them.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: greygarious

                          You might mean Best Kosher. If so, the Best Kosher 97% fat free hot dogs are by far the best I've ever had. Unfortunately I don't know anywhere to get them anymore - BJ's only carries the full fat variety and I (as well as my entire family) think the low-fat best kosher are in a different (better) category. If anyone knows where to get these, I'd love to know. I've called the manufacturer before and they weren't much help.