Hot dogs are getting their day in the sun

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

The hot dog is getting a second chance in today’s age of foodie culture. The simple frankfurter, often looked at as the less-sophisticated cousin of the burger, is being appreciated and dressed up all over town.

Some hot dog sellers are also trying to correct the food’s image as being over-processed tubes of questionable meat by using vegan substitutes, halal meat or all-beef franks with natural ingredients and no hormones.

This Memorial Day Weekend, if you’re seeking a quick bite, or inspiration on how to top your backyard dogs, look no further than these area restaurants, food trucks and pop-ups:

Atomic Dawg: Both a brick-and-mortar restaurant and mobile Airstream kitchen, Atomic Dawg serves nearly a dozen versions of an all-beef frank. Try the hula dog, topped with teriyaki sauce, grilled pineapple, grilled onions, lettuce and Japanese cherry mayo. 2705 Coolidge, Berkley. (248) 398-3294 or

The Dog House: This Dearborn dog stand is busiest during the month of Ramadan. Folks line up after dark for New York- and Chicago-style dogs, coneys and the cheesy dog, which has nacho cheese and crushed Doritos. The most popular wiener, though, is the volcano dog with nacho cheese, jalapenos and hot Cheetos. Parked at 10450 W. Warren, Dearborn.

Doug’s Delight: Chef James Rigato and his team at his popular Mabel Gray restaurant have renovated and revamped this old ice cream shack. Sundaes and soft serve remain and are joined by a menu of dogs like the “hot mess” with coney chili, kimchi, onion, sauerkraut and nacho cheese. 24110 John R, Hazel Park.

Hippo’s Hot Dogs: These guys, in business for more than two decades, are going for the Windy City experience with Chicago-style dogs (mustard, relish, onion, tomato, pickle, sport peppers and seasoning) and Italian beef sandwiches. Bill Swerski’s Superfans would approve. 1648 Rochester, Troy. (248) 524-9778 or

Hot Dogs R Fun: This new Hamtramck-centric pop-up offers pop culture-themed hot dogs. Earlier this month they served Elvis-themed dogs at Outer Limits Lounge, and they’ll return for another service there on Wednesday. 5507 Caniff, Hamtramck.

Imperial: Known for Southern California vibes (and killer margaritas), this Ferndale hot spot serves bacon-wrapped Sonoran dogs. For the month of May, the special features marinated pork, baked beans, jalapeno nacho cheese, white onion and cilantro. A vegetarian Sonoran is on the regular menu, too. 22828 Woodward, Ferndale. (248) 850-8060 or

The Mean Weenie: This roving food truck and catering trailer serves classic chili dogs, as well as vegetarian soy dogs. Their Detroiter dog is a Michigan beer-braised brat with whiskey barrel beer cheese, bacon and pretzel crumbles. Visit to check out where the big orange truck will be this week.

Mercury Burger Bar: Burger is in the name, but this Corktown spot also has a menu of dogs, including Detroit, Chicago and New York styles, $6 or two for $10. 2163 Michigan, Detroit. (313) 964-5000 or

Rocket Dogs: Another orange food truck serving franks, Rocket Dogs serves Dearborn natural casing dogs on a crunch baguette instead of a traditional bun. They can be found every Tuesday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., outside of the Ferndale District Library.

Shake Shack: This national fast-casual chain splits and grills its all-natural Vienna beef dogs on a flat-top, then serves them on a potato roll. 660 Woodward, Detroit. (313) 672-0501, 850 W. Big Beaver, Troy. (248) 817-1529.

Village Gourmet Hot Dogs: The specialty here is a frank loaded with onion rings and barbecue sauce. Choose from a traditional hot dog bun, or pretzel bread or poppy seed bun. 449 N. Wayne, Westland. (734) 729-9555 or

Coming soon: Vegan Detroiters are anxiously awaiting the debut of Chili Mustard Onion, a 100 percent plant-based coney joint in Brush Park (3411 Brush, Detroit). Later this summer, Loaded Links will open in Troy (800 E. Big Beaver) with beef dogs free of hormones, steroids or antibiotics, including Wagyu beef.