San Diego is no stranger to hot dogs: the city boasts several joints serving sausage and frankfurters from carts, stalls, brick-and-mortar storefronts and inside food halls. From Tijuana to Chicago-style with plenty of artisanal sausages to boot, there’s something for every kind of meat lover—and a few for those who don’t eat meat, as well.Read More
The Essential Guide to San Diego Hot Dogs
San Diego has all kinds of tubular meat to enjoy
Outside of the aptly-named bar, The Dog, in Pacific Beach is the Wobbly Wieners food cart. They have a stacked list of hot dogs, which include both Tijuana and Chicago-style and turkey and beef dogs, but the secret is their vegan dog, which is so true-to-the-real-thing that eaters swear it must be meat.
Billed as purveyors of Mexican gourmet hot dogs, Doggos Gus delivers on the goods. Since 2010, Gus had been serving his bacon-wrapped hot dogs around San Diego’s farmers markets, but now he has a brick-and-mortar in Twisted Taps on El Cajon boulevard.
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North Park mainstay Tiger!Tiger! are sausage specialists, which are served alongside its long craft beer and wine list. There’s sausage in a baguette or on poutine with gravy and fries, for example. Sausage with mustard and sauerkraut and sausage with kimchi. They have a sausage-of-the-day, too, which is always different. Basically, for all sausage and beer needs, Tiger!Tiger! has it covered.
Lefty's Chicago Pizzeria
Your correspondent happens to think that Chicago-style hot dogs are the finest example of hot dogs on the planet. With a poppy-seed bun, mustard, onion, pickle, relish, sport peppers, celery salt and tomato, few things are as satisfying as chowing down on one of the Windy City’s most signature treats. Lefty’s, with two locations in Mission Hills and North Park, boasts a fine example of the Chicago dog alongside its deep dish pizzas and other Chicago specialties.
Mastiff Kitchen at North Park Beer Co.
What originally started as a food truck has now resulted in a spot in Liberty Station and a proprietary kitchen in North Park Beer Company for Mastiff Sausage Company. Diners can get sausage in links, taco, sandwich or platter form.
Daddy's Hot Dogs
This no-frills Hillcrest joint specializes in sassy service and nothing but hot dogs. Go Tuesday, when hot dogs are $1 off and try The Alexander, which is a buffalo hot dog topped with jalapeño relish & Russian dressing.
Mateo’s Hot Spot
This food truck in Hillcrest is best visited after a night of hitting the bars, in particular Rich’s San Diego, from where it has a near-permanent perch. All-beef jumbo hot dogs are served with a seemingly endless choice of toppings: homemade chili, nacho cheese sauce, onions, jalapeños, cream cheese, sweet relish, bacon and more.
The Regal Beagle
Mission Hills gastropub The Regal Beagle does mainly two things and makes sure to do them well: craft beer and sausage. The main draw is the 1⁄3 pound sausages, which are handmade in San Marcos and come on a Sadie Rose bun with a side of chips. Guests can choose two from this list of toppings: grilled onions, grilled peppers, sauerkraut or shredded cheddar cheese.
Dog Haus Biergarten in the East Village serves a wide range of creative hot dogs, including the Sooo Cali, which is adorned with arugula, spicy basil aioli, crispy onions, tomato and, of course, avocado.
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To the uninitiated, this may seem like a strange choice. One of the universe’s greatest open secrets is that giant wholesale retailer, Costco, serves a mean hot dog with the perfect snap, available to members who stop by its food court. For just $1.50, lucky diners can get both a drink and a hot dog with all the fixings: sauerkraut, relish, ketchup, mustard and onions.
Fathom Bistro, Bait, and Tackle
A strong portion of Fathom Bistro, Bait, and Tackle’s menu is dedicated to hot dogs or sausages. In particular, guests crave their “World Famous” Fathom Explodo Dog, which is a Vienna Beef hot dog wrapped in bacon and loaded with pepper jack cheese, kimchi and mustard.
The standard TJ Dawg plate at La Puerta includes two bacon-wrapped turkey hot dogs smothered in diced tomatoes, grilled onion and poblano, jalapeños, ketchup and mayo, plus fries, for $9.99. But regulars know that TJ dogs are just $3 each, alongside $3 tacos and $3 Tecates, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. every Taco Tuesday.