Gourmet Hot Dogs (credit: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)
Food trends come and go, yet the great American hot dog adapts and somehow seems more relevant than ever, as evidenced by the hot dog and sausage spots all over the Bay Area. Check out these five popular hot dog emporiums that offer the stuff of uncompromised quality.
4288 Redwood Highway
San Rafael, CA 94903
Jimbo’s has been serving delicious hot dogs and cold drinks under the same management for 25 years. While Jimbo’s is known for some of the best hot dogs in the North Bay, its fans say it’s actually one of the best hot dog restaurants in the entire Bay Area. This is a simple spot with lots of regulars who seem to know the other regulars in this laid back, no frills hot dog joint. Recommended here are the Jimbo’s dogs ($3), the chili dogs ($4.75), and the Polish sausage ($3.75) – that pretty much takes care of the Jimbo’s menu. Sure, the dogs would go great with some crispy fries, but don’t ask – Jimbo’s doesn’t sell fries. There is cold beer though, and outdoor and indoor seating, but no wi-fi, no table service and no credit cards. Jimbo’s is cash only, so be sure to remember that when you go.
3224-1/2 22nd St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
No ordinary hot dog, Los Shucos combines the universal appeal of the American hot dog with the unique Guatemalan street food culture and spicy flavors that are the Shuco, Guatemala’s very own hot dog reincarnated, spiced up with the flavorful ingredients of Guatemalan cuisine. Shucos means “dirty dogs,” because the popular food began as a street food in Guatemala City. Let’s start with the Los Shucos Original ($5.95), a sliced Spanish chorizo or all-beef frank, repollo, avocado, mayo maya – Los Shucos’ own spin on mayo – and mustard, on Los Shucos’ artisan bread, and consider yourself initiated into the culture and much loved street food of Guatemala. These “Latin Hot Dogs” are really something special and served on custom shuco bread – lighter than traditional hot dog buns – toasted on the grill. Shucos ($5.95 – $7.95) includes a vegetarian dog, too ($1.25 extra), so no one is left out. Catering is available.
2445 Springs Road
Vallejo, CA 94591
As requested by everyone on our Facebook page, (more like demanded), Sac’s in Vallejo offers the best chili dog around. Get there early as it normally has a line of people waiting for their share of the awesomeness that is Sacs.
329 Fell St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
With destination locations in San Francisco and Napa, the Fatted Calf is a an artisanal charcuterie and butcher shop producing tasty meat goods in small batches. The shop’s dedication to sourcing the best ingredients assures the highest quality meats for customer enjoyment. The Fatted Calf works with small farmers that work with passion and hold the high standards the shop values. The Fatted Calf uses only pasture-raised meats and says, “We source the best pigs and products because we care about the quality of life our animals receive.” The Fatted Calf sells meats by the pound: all beef hot dogs ($12/lb) and a variety of sausages, such as Basque Coils ($12/lb), Brockwurst ($12/lb), Boudin Blanc or Noir ($12/lb), Breakfast Sausage ($10.50/lb), Calabrese Sausage ($10.50/lb), and Craft beer Links ($12/lb), plus a range of specialty meats, including Duck Crepinettes with Picholine Olives ($5/each), Fennel Sausage ($10.50/lb), Lamb Crepinettes with Green Peppercorns and Cilantro ($5/each) plus other meats, depending on availability. Additional highlights include: Butcher’s Happy Hour, Classes and Events, Cooking Tips, and a cookbook, “In The Charcuterie.”
1020 Market St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
Sadly, owners John Clark and Gayle Pirie decided to close their eatery after seven years at the Market and Taylor location. As of the end of December 2016, a sign was posted on the door that read: “Show Dogs wish to thank you for the opportunity to serve the San Francisco community for seven+ years! As native sons and daughters of San Francisco, it has been a pleasure doing business and creating food we believe in, in our hometown, on historic Market Street! Stay tuned, The Show Dogs and Machine Team.”