Hot Dogs! Yep, Hot Dogs!

It’s high summer and summer and hot dogs go hand in hand. And, it just so happens that July is National Hot Dog Month; in fact, today, July 26th, is National Chili Dog day! So, naturally, I had to go out exploring hot dogs in the Cincinnati area.  These franks are more gourmet than your typical backyard barbecue dogs (unless your barbecuer happens to be a master chef).  While we did taste a lot of great hot dogs on our own hot dog tour, for this post, I’m going to focus on three of my faves: Eli’s BBQ, Mr. Gene’s Dog House, and Piper’s Cafe.  

Eli’s BBQ (east side and OTR):

  • Locally owned and operated
  • Took me a long time to try a hot dog here because I love the ribs (but that hot dog is oh so good)
  • Dogs served on toasted buns
  • All beef dogs are topped with slaw, barbecue sauce, and pork chitlins
  • Great texture and taste; sinfully messy and gloriously good
  • Comes as an order of two
  • Can eat inside or sit outside under the big tent

Eli’s all-beef, flash fried dogs.

Mr. Gene’s Dog House (west side):

  • Another locally owned and operated business 
  • At 56 years it’s a west side staple
  • Walk up windows (eat in car or tables out back)
  • Hot dogs and sausages are sourced from Queen City (also local)
  • Love the Chicago-style dog fully loaded (onions, peppers, tomatoes, pickles)
  • Great Italian Sausage topped with sauteed onions and peppers
  • Super nice kick in the Hot Chili Cheese Mett

Mr. Gene’s Chicago-style dog.

Mr. Gene’s hot mett and Italian sausage.

Piper’s Cafe (northern KY):

  • Located in Covington (Mainstrasse)
  • Again, all beef hot dogs (uncured)
  • Walk up windows with tables outside for sitting
  • So many interesting choices (we kept going back for more)
  • Love the Reuben Dog because the sauerkraut has a nice crunch from the cook on the cabbage 
  • The Bat Masterson is the most interesting (sage, worcestershire sauce, and spicy mustard); has almost a wasabi taste; plus, dog split down middle and grilled open face
  • Chili dog is a Tex Mex kind of chili made with goetta and topped with white sharp cheddar (my fave chili dog for sure)

Piper’s Bat Masterson and Reuben dogs.

Piper’s chili dog.

I know many locals are die hard coney fans so I decided to stay away from talking about the typical Cincinnati cheese coney because everyone has their opinion about which restaurant is best!  Not originally from Cincinnati, I learned all too quickly about that great Cincinnati debate.  So, if you have a favorite place to get a gourmet hot dog, I’d love to hear about it! Or, if you’re like my dad and an all beef hot dog is a lunch time staple, what do you take on your dog?

GO THERE (Mr. Gene’s, Piper’s Cafe)!  TRY THAT (Chicago-style dog, Chili dog)!  

Piper's Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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