When traveling through the Triangle, you would truly be missing out if you didn’t make a point to experience at least one of the numerous locally-owned hot dog joints. From all-beef-made-on-site dogs, to secret family recipe toppings, to vegetarian options, the Triangle has it it all.
So that you can spend your energy enjoying our fantastic dogs and not trying to figure out what the best options are, here are our top picks for the best hot dog joints in Wake, Durham and Orange counties.
The Roast Grill: This local favorite since 1940 serves only grill blackened hot dogs with toppings limited to mustard, onions, slaw and “unreal” homemade chili. That’s because The Roast Grill's owners feel toppings to be “unnecessary for the true hot dog connoisseur,” especially when it comes to ketchup. The owner’s grandmother spent so much time making the chili that she was afraid customers couldn’t taste it if they put ketchup on the dog. Walk up service. 7 S. West St., Raleigh. 919.832.8292
Snoopy’s: With five locations in Wake County, you’re sure to find a Snoopy's near you. Snoopy’s Famous Hot Dog features mustard, onions and chili unless you tell them differently. Their dogs, which are special ordered and cannot be bought in a store, are boiled and then steamed in the bun when they’re ordered. Walk up service. Raleigh locations include original location, which opened in 1978, at 1931 Wake Forest Rd., 919.833.0992; 600 Hillsborough St., 919.839.2176; 3600 Hillsborough St., 919.755.9022; and 2431 Spring Forest Rd., 919.876.3775. The Garner location is at 82-101 Glen Rd., 919.779.2545.
Cloo’s Coney Island: Serving the Triangle since 1988, the favorite dog at Cloo's Coney Island is All the Way, which is a traditional Coney Island dog with chili, mustard and onions. One of the things that sets these dogs apart is their natural lamb casing, which gives them a pop when you bite into them. Indoor and outdoor seating and walk up service. 2233 Avent Ferry Rd., Suite 102, Raleigh. 919.834.3354.
Joe’s Diner: Joe's Diner the restaurant is temporarily closed, but they have a food truck serving hot dogs daily at the restaurant location. Joe grills, butterflies and steams his all beef hot dogs with the most popular option being the quarter-pound dog served with a variety of toppings. A half-pound size is also available, as well as the “famous” one-pound dog. Walk up service. 2100 Angier Avenue, Durham. 919.381.5110.
Bull City Burger and Brewery: While Bull City Burger and Brewery is a full service restaurant, it deserves inclusion on our list because they make their own all beef hot dogs with 100 percent pasture raised meat from local farms. The dogs are boiled, then grilled to order and served on house-made buns. You can choose between building your own or one of their specialty dogs, but we’ll tell you outright that a loaded dog with homemade slaw and chili is the favorite here. Table service. 107 E. Parrish St., Durham. 919.680.2333.
King’s Sandwich Shop: Even though ownership changed in 2010, King's Sandwich Shop has been a part of downtown Durham since 1942. The menu, including all beef dogs grilled to order and served on steamed buns, is the same as the original King’s with the addition of a few items such as veggie dogs. The most popular hot dog is the King’s Southern Red Dog served with King’s sauce (a mustard and mayonnaise hybrid) and homemade slaw and chili. Walk up service with covered outdoor seating. 701 Foster St., Durham. 919.682.0071.
Durham and Orange counties
The Dog House: Having served the Triangle for 45 years, this is another local hot dog chain you don’t want to miss. With four locations in Durham and one in Hillsborough, The Dog House prides itself on “hot dogs with whopper toppings.” Those toppings include fresh slaw and chili made with a 45-year-old family recipe. Walk up and drive-through service. Durham locations include 931 North Miami Blvd., 919.682.3109; 2009 Guess Rd., 919.286-9200; 5279 N. Roxboro Rd., 919.471.3800; and 3521 Hillsborough Rd., 919.383-7900. The Hillsborough location is at 114 Boone Square St., 919.644-0100.
Sup Dogs: Sup Dogs' Chapel Hill location offers something for everyone with 23 exotic all beef Sup Dogs to choose from, including the Real Deal Veggie Dog. If you’re wondering which one to try first, we recommend their signature Smokehouse Dog, which comes with homemade chili, bacon, cheese and their famous “secret recipe” Sup Dog sauce. Just so you know, Sup Dog sauce is served with everything, even if it’s on the side. Table service until midnight. After midnight, order at the bar. 107 E. Franklin St., Chapel Hill. 919.903.9566.
Trolly Stop Hot Dogs: Trolly Stop Hot Dogs in Chapel Hill is part of a five location North Carolina franchise. The Surfer Dog, served with deli mustard, melted cheese and vegetarian baco’ bits, is the most popular dog option here. This can be made with any of the five hot dogs they offer – all beef (gluten free), beef/pork, Carolina Smoked Sausage, vegetarian or the Fat Free Turkey Dog. Those who need gluten free even have an option for their bun. Walk up service. 306 W. Franklin St, Suite B, Chapel Hill. 919.240.4206.
Sutton’s Drug Store: Sutton's Drug Store has been a Chapel Hill mainstay since 1923, and while they serve a variety of menu items, you have to try one of their hot dogs at least once. Sutton’s is known for its quarter-pound, 100 percent beef hot dogs with inspired flavor combinations such as “The Luau” (spelled “the Lulu” on the menu), which features cream cheese, pineapple, lettuce, bacon and onion. FYI: Tuesdays and Thursdays are hot dog days where two dogs (not including the gourmet dogs) and fries cost $3.89. Table service. 159 E. Franklin St., Chapel Hill. 919.942.5161.
Robyn Mooring is a 23-year Triangle resident and lover of local food.