There’s nothing quite like a great hot dog. For many, the first smack of a tasty dog recalls memories of summer barbeques and school lunches, afternoons spent at the local hot dog joint and first jobs. Hot dogs are part of the American fabric, and if you ask any local you’re sure to hear all about the city’s best. When you’re in the mood for a quick bite, you can’t go wrong with any of the following ten hot dog joints scattered throughout the Commonwealth.
Famous Uncle Al’s is a Hampton Roads favorite. Al’s has provided Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, and Norfolk with juicy, inexpensive, and delicious dogs for over 35 years. Come in between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday for $2 hot dogs, $1.60 hamburgers, and 99-cent fries with free toppings. The humble Al’s locations are more concerned with their food than the accoutrements. The authentic, mom-and-pop vibe is palpable from the first step in the door.
You can’t talk about hot dogs in Virginia without talking about City Dogs. Voted “Best Hot Dog in the City” by Richmond Magazine and “Best Late Night Bites” by Style Weekly, the 13 different types of hot dogs, styled after major U.S. cities, and seven types of cheeseburgers offers something for everyone. Come on in for a weekly special and stay for the live music, trivia, or to watch sports. With two convenient locations, a City Dog is always in reach.
Sam’s Hot Dog Stand is all about perfecting the basics: A great, all-beef hot dog with steamed buns and coleslaw made daily from scratch. The chili sauce is a special recipe and a must for any first timer. Sam’s Hot Dog Stand was founded in 1983 and now has over 40 locations around Virginia and West Virginia. A favorite order? Two dogs with chili, crinkle cut fries, and a hand-spun milkshake.
Skeeter’s Hot Dogs in Wytheville have sold over nine million “Skeeter-dogs” since opening in 1925. The recipe hasn’t changed. As one of Virginia’s oldest operating restaurants, Skeeter’s provides a vintage feel, in addition to their doggie delicacies. Rachel Ray acknowledged Skeeter’s as one of her Top 64 hot dog joints in the United States. And, special fact, President Woodrow Wilson’s wife, First Lady Edith Bolling, was born in the same building. Take in our nation’s history while enjoying a world-famous treat.
Perfectly Frank in Norfolk, Virginia opened in 2005 and has since become a Norfolk staple. Old Dominion University students frequent the joint, so prepare for a college crowd. Perfectly Frank offers daily specials, including “Military Monday,” and “Throwback Thursday”. Boar’s Head hot dogs are the go-to, but don’t overlook the hot sammies, melts, burgers, and desserts.
Jack n’ Jill’s foot long chili dogs are enough to bring customers over the North Carolina border, if a recent comment on their Facebook page can be believed. The customer wrote, “Came to pick up a foot-long hot dog and a cheese burger and fries and yet again it was the best food ever.” Jack’n Jil customers remain loyal for life.
The Roanoke Weiner Stand received the Readers’ Choice Dining Award from The Roanker Magazine for best hot dog, and for good reason. Since 1926, the Roanoke Weiner Stand has provided grilled dogs to generations of customers. The most popular dog, “all-the-way,” comes with mustard, onions, and a spiced chili sauce. The first location, in the original 1926 spot, is a local landmark, while the second offers a more updated feel with the same great taste.
Retro’s Good Eats is conveniently located in the Historic Area of Williamsburg, near the College of William and Mary. The family-owned soda fountain lists “French fries cut fresh daily, and real dairy custard, frozen on site daily” as their signature items in addition to the hot dogs. The 14 toppings include unique options, such as blue cheese coleslaw and sweet potato mustard. Sandwiches, blue plates (like meatloaf), burgers, soups, and salads round out the menu.
Haute Dogs and Fries offer more than just clever wordplay: They offer a yummy hot dog at an affordable price and delivery options. The titular Haute Dog comes on a homemade, New England style roll with house onion relish, mustard, mayo, and celery salt. Make your own dog out of the twenty toppings, including jalapenos, mango pineapple relish, and rainbow sprinkles. Gluten free buns and veggie dogs are available to those with special dietary restrictions.
James Bowling is known in Rocky Mount as the “Hot Dog King” for his incredible dogs. While he no longer owns the restaurant that bears his name, his legacy lives on. Founded over 60 years ago, Bowling’s is known for having the county’s best hot dog, adorned with a secret chili recipe. The restaurant is housed in a cinderblock building with a red stripe around it—easy to overlook if you don’t know about the magic inside. If you’re ever in Rocky Mount, you’ve simply got to have a Bowling dog.