This Somerville staple dedicates an entire portion of the menu to hot dogs, but our favorite—no disrespect to the Corn Dog or the Tofu Pup—remains the Starlite-Style. The signature iteration at Trina’s Starlite Lounge dresses up a griddled 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 this standby, though, 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 wonder that a proud baseball town 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, wrapped in bacon and buried under bonito flakes—here’s where to find Boston’s best topped hot dogs.
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 next door with a bigger kitchen, bar, and patio, this unbeatable behemoth was added to the menu. 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 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, and much more.
This South End oasis may be best known for tropical cocktails, but Shore Leave has gotten serious about hot dogs this summer for a camp-themed patio pop-up. The offerings include a Classic New Englander with yellow mustard, sweet onions, and relish; a version of a classic Chicago Dog; and a bacon-encased Kimchi Dog kicked up with spicy mayo, sharp mustard, scallions, sesame, and bonito. While the toppings of all are enjoyable, it’s the perfectly cooked, snappy, and juicy hot dogs that keep us coming back for more.
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 new Brookline raw bar. Their under-the-sea interpretation places a single, braised octopus tentacle between a housemade 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