NH restaurants are putting their own twist on the classic hot dog

Kids and adults alike will love these inspired creations

Few foods scream summer like a good old-fashioned hot dog. From the snap of the casing to the endless topping options, hot dogs are one of the most quintessential foods – especially during this season. Fortunately, chefs from casual dining restaurants to roadside hot dog stands have taken notice, and are dressing up hot dogs in delicious new ways.  

The dish: Amelia’s Reuben
Where to find it: DH’s Doghouse

1451 Front St., Manchester

Why it’s worth trying: Amelia’s Reuben (named after the owner’s granddaughter) is just one steamed or grilled creation you can get at DH’s Doghouse – a seasonal spot open April through November. “There's no weird request at DH's,” said Megan Wilkins, daughter of owner Denis Huard. Although the Amelia is a specialty dog – a 7-inch all-beef Fenway Frank topped with sauerkraut, cheddar cheese, Thousand Island dressing, and bacon bits – you can pretty much create any dog you want here. Topping options are endless, including everything from relish to jalapenos to cheese. “The sky’s the limit,” Wilkins said.

The dish: Chicago Dog
Where to find it: The Kitchen

171 Islington St., Portsmouth

Why it’s worth trying: It’s not surprising that this frankfurter is a house favorite at The Kitchen. Wrapped in a natural casing, this Old Neighborhood-brand hot dog is topped with green relish, tomato, pepperoncini, and a pickle spear and served on a potato roll. “We are huge sports fans, so we wanted to offer hot dogs that represent some of our favorite cities,” said Matt Greco, chef and owner. The Manhattan, Greco’s personal favorite, is topped with their house spicy onion sauce, sauerkraut, and yellow mustard.

The dish: Knock Dog
Where to find it: Elm City Brewing Company

Colony Mill Marketplace, 222 West St., Unit 46, Keene

Why it’s worth trying: The Knock Dog is basically all about you. With this creation, diners have their choice of grilled knockwurst or bratwurst, served on a grilled garlic French roll that’s topped with the customer’s choice of house-made grain, yellow, or honey mustard. For added flavor, guests can also add chili or sauerkraut, for just a dollar more each. For the full experience, wash down your dog of choice with a beer that’s brewed right on the premises.

The dish: Jersey-Style Dog
Where to find it: Black Mtn. Burger Co.

264 Main St., Lincoln

Why it’s worth trying: The Jersey-Style Dog is deep-fried and served on a toasted roll, with French fries on the side (which can be substituted with a slew of optional sides, such as poutine, bacon stout baked beans, or house-made mac and cheese, to name a few). Deep-fried not your thing? Black Mtn. also serves up a Chili Dog, a Franks and Beans Dog, and a plain old hot dog for the “kids at heart.”

The dish: Build-Your-Own Hot Dog
Where to find it: Eastern Burger Company

157 Portsmouth Ave., Stratham

Why it’s worth trying: If you like having options, Eastern Burger Company is the place for you. Here, guests can build their own plain or bacon-wrapped dog with a variety of unique and traditional toppings. The more indulgent topping options include mac and cheese, fried pickles, potato sticks, or chili, while the more unique include horseradish aioli, sun-dried tomato and basil aioli, or pickled red onion aioli, to name a few.

The dish: Hot Dog with Bacon
Where to find it: Clam Haven

94 Rockingham Road, Derry

Why it’s worth trying: Clam Haven has been in operation since 1954 – in other words, they know what they’re doing. Their Hot Dog with Bacon, for example, is a Kasem hot dog that’s wrapped in bacon and deep-fried. Do we really need to go on? To make this dog even better, diners have the option of ordering the Hot Dog Special with Bacon, which gets them two dogs, or topping thier dog with "The Works," which consists of mustard, onion, and relish.

The dish: Beans and Dogs
Where to find it: Gilley’s Diner

175 Fleet St., Portsmouth

Why it’s worth trying: Frankfurters and beans may not seem unique, but at Gilley’s, it’s the quality ingredients that set this dish apart. The beans are made from scratch: they’re soaked overnight and baked for a full eight hours. The hot dogs, which are made from beef, pork, and veal, come from Shields Provisions, a family-run business located not far up the road in Kennebunk, Maine. Added bonus: this meal is low on the carbohydrates, as there is no bun – just franks and beans.

The dish: Chili Cheese Dog
Where to find it: KC’s Rib Shack

837 Second St., Manchester

Why it’s worth trying: Chili is always better when served on top of a hot dog. At KC’s, they take an all-beef dog and top it with chili, cheese, mustard, and onion. Guests have their choice of one or two dogs, and each frank comes with one side and a pickle – sides include indulgences such as mashed potatoes, mac salad, or baked beans, to name a few. For diners who prefer their dogs chili-less, KC’s also serves up Fenway Franks and franks and beans. 


Michelle Lahey is a food writer who was born and raised in New Hampshire. She also blogs about food at www.ahoppymedium.blogspot.com.

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