Hot Dogs!, Get Yer Hot Dogs Here!
Growing up and being at the ballpark as often as possible I could have dined on hot dogs three times a day, covering each meal, and then one as a snack before bed.
Probably the reason I have such a fondness of the perfect snack today. I do love a great steak, or pasta from the kitchen at Casa Di Amore(shameless plug for my favorite Italian in Vegas), but give me a good hot dog and all's right with the world for those next few minutes.
Whats a “good” hot dog mean to me? It means 100% beef, well cooked and or steamed correctly, it means a bun the way you enjoy it, and it means quality toppings all at a reasonable price for the situation. Simple.
I will eat a 15-dollar hot dog at Serendipity 3 if I find myself hungry while spending outrageous money anyway in the Caesar shops. On the other hand, I will enjoy a one dollar hot dog, sipping a dollar and a half Budweiser at The Stage Door bar while watching the freak show pass by the windows at three in the morning, after a night of winning blackjack half a block up on the Strip.
Hot Dog Day/Week should be a holiday but since I couldn’t find it referenced much, with the exception of the 4th of July’s mega popular Hot Dog eating Championship thing, I am making one up………May 14th-19th is (only according to me at NeonVacation) EAT A DOG DAY. Coincidentally this falls in line with my next trip to Vegas. So I will do my in depth research and report on the best and worst hot dogs I run across. In the past I have sampled about every style and brand of hot dog Vegas has to offer.
Nathan’s has a large corner of the market on the Vegas Strip. Stands and kiosks can be found at NY NY, Flamingo, Venetian, Mgm, Bally’s, Slots of Fun and Luxor. The Fashion Show Mall has a spot and so does The Palms off strip. If you're downtown you can get a Nathan's dog for cheap at Mermaids, and while conventioning jump over to Paradise Rd and there’s a Nathan’s to be found there as well. That’s IF Nathan’s is what you consider a “good hotdog”. There are many options besides Nathan’s to try if it isn’t.
For individuals such as I, who like to grab and go or eat on the go, hot dog stands or carts can be found at Sports books in many of the Downtown casinos. Fremont and Binion’s both have pretty regular vendors around their books, and on the Strip, Bill’s and Excalibur are the most recent I’ve visited.
If there’s a food court in a casino, there’s hotdogs at that food court and most are nothing special. "Hot Dog On A Stick" exists in three malls around town, this franchise has been around since 1946. Coming from Southern California, they have stores in the Meadows, Boulevard, and Fashion Show Malls. They are popular with the mall going crowd.........not my thing.
Strip restaurants try and outdo each other when it comes to "gourmet dogs". I mentioned Serendipity earlier; Pinks at Planet Hollywood are known for their dogs, as well as PBR Rock Bar. PBR has a full hot dog menu for the connoisseur to explore, and at half the price of Serendipity.
If you get off the strip or away from downtown a few places come highly recommended. I only recommend these if you are a local or trying to get away from the strip for a while. Oh and you might recognize a theme to these hot dog joints.
Starting above the Strip and even Downtown is “Chicago Hot Dog” This is a hole in the wall on Rancho, but the quality of food is excellent. The only bad thing here is the prices do get a little high, and it's about as far as you want to drive as a tourist looking for great hot dog spots.
N.W. of Mid Strip, "Chicago Jimmy’s" is a small hot dog stand tucked inside a distant Smarty’s convenient store on Durango Dr. I’m not sure what makes hot dog lovers like this place so much but they do. Prices are middle ranch and its a minimal menu. Just south of Chicago Jimmy's and on the same street is "Amore Taste of Chicago" which is more of a pizza joint but they have awesome Vienna brand all beef hot dogs for cheap, their menu is larger than most but they have a great variety of Chicago favorites. Are you getting the theme yet?
Staying west of the Strip but heading South at Jones (inside Lucky's casino) is "Taste of Chicago", They serve Chicago style hot dogs in a Chicago setting, yes, they are Vienna brand all beef as well. They have a larger menu with more of a Greek theme to it. Crossing the Strip now to the East but staying South of the airport there's "Chicago Tasty Dog" on Eastern. They have a very simple menu as well, but as far as hot dog specialists go they are high priced.
Ending the CHICAGO theme but not the Chicago taste, we're heading North and right across the street from UNLV. "The Lunch Box" is a small joint perfectly located on Maryland for college cuisine. Their menu is simple, a couple hot dog and brat varieties and Ice cream sandwiches all at a price set for a student's budget. Just North of The Lunch Box sits the Boulevard Mall with the aforementioned "Hot Dog On A Stick" franchise in its food court. Which completes our circle of the Strip hot dog scavenger hunt.
Plenty of bars in the Vegas Valley offer hot dogs in some form or another as a bar snack, but trying to keep the theme closer to the Strip and tourist friendly, you have to try (only if you're in the area) The Stage Door hot dog. At a buck or buck fifty it’s a full beef hot dog cooked on a grill style roller right at the bar. It’s like you're sitting, enjoying a beer inside a 7-11. They have gaming at the bar and the hot dog is about the same price as a beer. This place is located a block down Flamingo from Bill's Gambling hall.
As I stated in the beginning I could eat hotdogs all vacation day long, but there are a few I will avoid. I’m not a huge Nathan’s fan, for one there way over priced as is Pinks and usually any food court you visit. The single worst hotdog in Las Vegas is the foot long hot dog in the food court at the back of Casino Royale. I’ve given it more than enough chances to change my mind, and with each trip it got worse.
My suggestions for quality at a reasonable price would be “The Lunch Box” if your around UNLV and “Stage Door” if your drinking cheaply, Fremont Sports book’s .99 foot long if your downtown or PBR Rock bar and their patio with a Strip view, enjoy a Bacon N Cheese dog and people watch.
Years ago, my favorite spots for a good dog consisted of the sports book at Stardust, Slots o Fun (pre Nathan’s), The Riviera used to have a great footlong dog at the deli and Pre-implosion Last Frontier’s little food court section by their sports book. Those days are long gone, but good hot dogs shouldnt be too hard to find. I believe it takes a lot to screw up a hot dog.
If I overlooked your favorite dog dealer, or gourmet hot dog joint, let me know. Comment below or reach me with any suggestions. Don't forget to celebrate EAT A DOG DAY with me between May 14th and May 19th.