There is something about chilidogs. Yes, they have cards, no they are probably not Paleo (or really on any diet). Yes, they vary in quality and price as much as wine. No, they will never make a comeback on a Buzzfeed list of “top ten foods we have discovered are actually healthy.” Regardless, they are yummy and oh so SUMMER.
Wikipedia doesn’t even try to give a history of the chili dog. A recent article in The Atlantic claims that chili dogs have single-handedly transcended all of our countries current deep divisions, which strikes me as radically highbrow, especially for a hot dog.
Still, there are days, especially in the summer, when a chili dog is the answer to all of our troubles. And even if a chili dog doesn’t provide a universal panacea, they are usually associated with places that also sell French fries and ice cream. Anyone can find comfort in that holy trinity.
Listed below are the ten places we that have great chili dogs. Feel free to glam on and add your own! By the way, it is ok to try each and every one of these places. We just don’t recommend doing it on a single day.
Top Ten Chili Dogs
- Netty’s: Netty’s is one of those places that is old school in the extreme. It is more reflective of a 50’s drive in than a modern multi-location eatery. They have been around since 1978, have 4 local locations and one in Marblehead OH, and offer ice cream as well. Look for the white and orange stripes.
- Rudy’s: Rudy’s has been around since 1920 and their hot dog sauce can easily be found in local markets. With 6 locations around town, they are worth a drop in. Don’t be deceived by hot dog moniker, Rudy’s also serves sandwiches and breakfast. Still, go for the chili dogs…
- Packo’s: Pretty iconic when it comes to chili dogs, although Packo’s puts a great twist by adding the Hungarian sausage instead of a regular hotdog. Plus, when you order a dog you get some of the pickles. Now with 5 locations. However, if you have never been, go to the original on Front Street.
- Jan’s Famous Chili Dogs: With only one location, it is easy to overlook Jan’s. Don’t. They are worth a trip. They have been around since the early ’80s and they now have a couple of carts working around town as well. Like Netty’s, they also have ice cream.
- Ideal Hot Dog: Located right in the heart of the south end, Ideal is another place that has carved a name for itself. They also serve breakfast and standard lunch fare.
- Coney Island Hot Dog: Located in Downtown Toledo, this is another Toledo classic that has so much more to offer than a chili dog, including breakfast, Greek specialties, and homemade soups. They are worth a pilgrimage.
- Central Hot Dog: Right across the bridge from downtown on Front Street is Central Hot Dog. This probably falls under the “hidden gem” category. Besides hot dogs, they have somewhat iconic breakfasts. One recent review claimed, “best Coney dogs period,” which strikes us a gauntlet being thrown.
- Monroe’s Original Hot Dog Drive In: Yes, it is in Monroe Michigan and any review of chili dogs would be incomplete without mentioning Monroe’s. After all, they bring your stuff to the car so what can be bad about that? Plus, if you want to make a day out of it, just go for a walk along Sterling State Park and you can work up a good hunger for chilidogs.
- Jolly’s Drive In: Here is another “worth the drive” type of place. Of course, it is known in and around Tiffin but it probably should be known more broadly. They are closed on Sunday so plan your trip accordingly.
- Dino’s: Probably not known for chili dogs as much as chili mac. However, it’s the same chili so it’s worth visiting. AND they have tater tots, which strike me as a worthy companion to chili dogs.
Timbo’s Cones and Coneys: Dogs are such a part of their culture it’s in the name! Known for their coneys (and ice cream cones), this is a must stop place on the local chili dog circuit. Stay tuned to their Facebook page for seasonal information.
Duecedawgs: Chili dogs are, inherently, the purview of food trucks and carts and Ducedawgs does chili dogs right. Check their website for appearance sites and if you have a random encounter, count your blessings and grab a dog.