Somerville staple Trina’s Starlite Lounge is a veritable hot dog joint, which dedicates an entire portion of its menu to griddled hot dogs. Our favorite—no disrespect to the Corn Dog or the Tofu Pup—remains the Starlite-Style Dog. The signature iteration dresses up an all-beef, locally made Kayem hot dog with French fries, coleslaw, and creamy, tangy “Starlite” aioli. (Check out TFL’s cookbook, Dining In Boston, for the special recipe.) Should you ever tire of the classic, check out the Dog of the Day, which has formerly featured specials topped with everything from crispy wontons to cheese curds.
Where to Find the Best Hot Dogs in Boston
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It’s no surprise that a proud baseball town like Boston places the humble hot dog on a pedestal. There are plenty of franks to be had at Fenway, of course, but when you’re craving something a little more adventurous—say, a hot dog wrapped in bacon and buried under bonito flakes—here’s where to find Boston’s best topped hot dogs.
This isn’t your average chili cheese dog. A bacon-sheathed Pearl hot dog loaded up with refried beans, Longhorn cheese, chipotle mustard, crema, and roasted salsa, the Mexican Dog was formerly a delicacy only found at Lone Star Taco Bar’s Cambridge location. But since the Allston outpost expanded with a bigger kitchen, bar, and patio, this unbeatable behemoth was added to the menu full-time. Now, no matter what side of the river you’re on, you’re never far from this smoky, spicy, salty creation—and a cold can of Tecate (or a Mugarita) to wash it down with.
Hot dogs appear just once a week at the Downtown Crossing wine bar Haley.Henry, but “Wiener Wednesdays” are worth planning for. Jumbo-sized, 100% beef hot dogs are spruced up each week on a special theme, typically announced on Instagram an hour before the start of service and available until sell-out. Previous Weiner Wednesdays have witnessed street-corn inspired dogs topped with cotija cheese and avocado puree, “animal style” dogs garnished with crushed chips and secret sauce, pizza-inspired red sauce and anchovies, and much more tucked into a toasted bun.
The Quiet Few
The comfort food menu at The Quiet Few pairs well with one of Boston’s best whiskey selections. Behemoth sandwiches are the main event at this essential East Boston spot, such as the Hell Yeah Burger of two alcohol-mopping patties, and jumbo Pearl hot dogs loaded into sub rolls. The Frito Pie Dog is always available, covered in adobo-stewed pork, pickled onions and jalapeños, crema, and crumbled corn chips. Wednesdays Are the Wurst lets other ‘dogs out: Recent Wednesday specials, typically announced on Instagram, have included the Picnic in the Park Dog, topped with house-made Red Bliss potato salad and bacon bits.
The Tentacle Hot Dog at Ivory Pearl is not a hot dog in the traditional sense, but we wouldn’t have it any other way from this chill Brookline raw bar. Their under-the-sea interpretation places a single, braised octopus tentacle between a house-made Japanese milk bun with toppings both traditional (mustard, sauerkraut) and alternative (sliced apples, fish roe). If you happen to be feeling extra fancy, you can always add on caviar mayo.
Updated by Jacqueline Cain