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Crif Dogs
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

The best cheap hot dogs in NYC

A perfect frankfurter doesn’t need to be pricey—these best cheap hot dogs in NYC are delicious proof

By Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner and Time Out contributors

There’s perhaps nothing more New York tasting than a cheap hot dog plucked right off a street cart for a single dollar—rivaling the satisfaction of dollar slices—but sometimes you want your hot dog experience to be a bit more, well, tasty. While most of the city’s best cheap burgers still clock in at more than $10 each, just a few bucks buys you some of the best hot dogs in NYC.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best cheap eats in NYC

Best cheap hot dogs in NYC

Papaya King
Photograph: Courtesy Papaya King

1. The “original’’ at Papaya King

Restaurants Hot dogs Upper East Side

Tubesteaks-and tropical-quaff purveyors are aplenty in this city, but the King is the original, an Upper East Side mainstay since the 1930s. Amidst the multicolored tiles and neon signs, find hickory-smoked hot dogs and milky papaya juice in a variety of combinations: The $5 “original” consists of two franks crowned with kraut, onions or relish alongside a 16oz sipper; or double down for a “Grand Slam,” which gets you two specialty dogs (chili-and-cheddar, coleslaw-and-pickle), a papaya drink and curly fries for $9.99.

Original hot dog at Nathan's Famous
Photograph: Virginia Rollison

2. Original Hot Dog at Nathan’s Famous

Restaurants Hot dogs Coney Island

Tourists and tube-steak zealots make the trek to this Brooklyn landmark for a taste of hot-dog history. Established in 1916, the former 5¢ stand still does a roaring trade. The bun is flimsy, but in the end, it's just a vehicle for the chain-spawning wiener, which has a tight casing that gives way to a juicy interior. $3.99.

Shake Shack
Photograph: Courtesy Shake Shack

3. Shack-a-go Dog at Shake Shack

Restaurants Hamburgers Flatiron

Danny Meyer's fast-food joint brings Gothamites a taste of the Midwest with this Chicago-style snack. The Vienna beef dog is split and griddled on a flattop, then nestled in a pillowy potato bun. It comes fully loaded with toppings, such as pickled green sport peppers and relish from Lower East Side pickle-maker Rick's Picks. $4.29.

Kings of Kobe
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Kings of Kobe

5. The Waffle Dog at Kings of Kobe

Restaurants Hot dogs Hell's Kitchen

You can find all types of fancy franks at this hot-dog outlet using all-natural American Wagyu beef, but if you’re watching your budget, stick with the waffle dog served, appropriately, on a stick. Replacing corn batter with a crisp waffle drizzled in spicy maple syrup, this breakfast-inspired take on the corn dog is good day and night.

Crif Dogs
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

6. Lil Ma Dog at Crif Dogs

Restaurants Hot dogs East Village

While the Spicy Redneck and egg-topped Good Morning Dog both have their loyal fan bases, Crif Dogs’ most unique frank creation should not be overlooked: A peanut butter– spread bun is lined with crushed potato chips and pickle slices, and filled with a bacon-wrapped dog.

Hoyt dog at Mile End
Photograph: Beth Levendis

7. Hoyt Dog at Mile End Deli

Restaurants Delis Boerum Hill

This nouveau Jewish deli is best known for bringing Montreal-style smoked meat to the city, but it also makes its mark on a New York classic with its from-scratch hot dog. Each component is made in-house, from the griddled all-beef frank to the tangy sauerkraut and thick, poppy-seed–studded bun. Hot dog $8, combo $11.

Hot dog at Dominick's Hot Dog Truck
Photograph: Krista Schlueter

9. Hot Dog at Dominick’s Hot Dog Truck

Restaurants Hot dogs Queens

Since 1959, Queens lunchers have been lining up for the old-school franks at this food truck outside St. John Cemetery. Get the boiled natural-casing Sabrett on a steamed bun with homemade spiced and sauted onions or punchy sauerkraut, and wash it down with a soda, in flavors like black cherry and cream, from 140-year-old White Rock. $3.

Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Paola S.

11. Super Perro a la Mexicana at Prontito

Restaurants Hamburgers Elmhurst

Though a $2.50 simple hot dog at this Colombian frank shop will certainly hit the spot, the $7.50 Mexican hot dog with the works—that includes guacamole, pico de gallo, cheese, salad, chips, bacon and a quail egg—is what you came for, proving you can never have too many good things in one bun.

Gray's Papaya
Photograph: Alex Strada

12. Recession Special at Gray’s Papaya

Restaurants Upper West Side

Though it’s nearly doubled in price since the combo debuted after the 2008 recession (it’s now $5.95), this double hot dog and drink deal is still a bargain—and a tasty one at that. Get two franks topped with kraut and a side cup of papaya juice, all to scarf down at the counter before you move on with your (hopefully healthier) day.

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