Hot Dog Trail

It should come as no surprise that this all-American city has perfected its own version of one of the country’s favorite foods. Buffalo boasts more than 250 years of collective hot dog history thanks to long-time frankfurter manufacturers Sahlen’s and Wardynski’s. Generations of roadside stands in Buffalo have been charcoal broiling them for decades, ensuring their crispy casing snaps and bursts with flavor upon every bite. Order a footlong, cover it with all the toppings (known here as the “the works”) and pair it with hand-cut fries, incredible onion rings and delicious milkshakes at these top spots to grab a hot dog.

Beach-goers and cottage-dwellers along Old Lakeshore Road have made Connor’s Hot Dog stand their go-to lunch and dinner spot for more than 75 years. Connor’s is one of the only hot dog stands in Buffalo serving hot dogs made by Wardynski’s, a Buffalo institution since 1919; top it with pickles hand-cut in house and a hot relish made by Weber’s mustard in Buffalo. This roadside stand along the Lake Erie shoreline owned by the same family since the 1940s also sells some of the region’s best French Fries, sourced from a potato farm just a few miles away. Potatoes in the ground in the morning could be your fries by lunchtime. Take a drive along the water and feel the lake breeze in Connor’s open-air seating area at this can’t miss summer experience.

Connors Hot Dog Stand

Sure, the footlong charcoal broiled Sahlen’s and hand-cut curly and sweet potato fries at Taffy’s are amazing. But it just might be the milkshakes that have kept customers coming back to this legendary Orchard Park roadside stand for more than 70 years. Taffy’s serves more than 130 varieties of milkshakes, from banana nut bread and key lime to maple walnut, Mallow cup (chocolate, marshmallow and coconut) and the ever-popular funky monkey (chocolate, banana and peanut butter). Grab your dog, fries and shake from the small stand topped with a vintage neon sign and head to Taffy’s large outdoor patio that features booths covered by small awnings that sway like rocking chairs. One sip of a funky monkey and bite of a char-grilled footlong will reveal why generations of Southtown residents have made this their favorite summer stop.

A plate of food at Taffy's

In my opinion, any of the eight Ted’s Hot Dogs locations are a must visit for a tourist traveling through Western New York. Ask any Buffalo ex-pat what they miss the most about their hometown, and Ted’s is sure to be on their list. Their signature menu item, a charcoal broiled Sahlen’s hot dog, sounds deceivingly simple but is one of the best meals in Buffalo at any time of the year. If you’ve never visited before, the friendly and helpful staff will guide you on your hot dog adventure. They operate like efficient assembly lines, with the customer going down the counter and customizing their hot dogs at each step. I recommend ordering everything on top but you definitely can’t miss out on their spicy hot dog sauce. Since their prices are so affordable, you can really splurge and order some extra sides. I specifically recommend their onion rings. They are sliced thin, lightly breaded and well worth $3.

This family business started in 1927 with a humble stand in the West Side and they haven’t stopped serving hot dogs since. Regardless of where you find yourself now from Orchard Park to Williamsville, there’s a Ted’s hot dog nearby. We recommend checking out their oldest location in Tonawanda. While most of the locations look very similar, this Sheridan Drive restaurant has historical significance and some fun photography from the location’s earlier years on display.

A hotdog and frys at Ted's

If you drive down Niagara St. in Tonawanda along the river, it’s impossible to miss the one-two punch of Mississippi Mudds and Old Man River. Owned by the same company for well over 25 years, these two seasonal hot dog stands are stand alone restaurants about a block apart from each other. It’s almost impossible to talk about one without mentioning the other, not to mention Northtowners get into arguments over which one is better. The Chicago-style hot dog at Old Man River has all the proper toppings and their seafood shack offers deep fried shrimp, lobster tails, clams and even steak and BBQ options. Don’t miss out on the sweet potato fries, either. They are some of the best in the region. Mississippi Mudds has a very similar menu of hot dogs and hamburgers in addition to chicken sandwiches, Italian sausage and beef on weck, but you can dine on their roof and enjoy the scenery of the Niagara River and a lovely breeze. They also have a great ice cream menu to top off the night with. You really can’t go wrong either way. Our regular trip involves grabbing a hot dog and fries at Old Man River and finishing the day with ice cream in a waffle cone on the roof of Mississippi Mudds.

Mississippi Mudds

Frank is maybe the newest and fanciest hot dog on our crawl, but their hot dogs can stand up next to any of the classics. Run by brothers Frank and Paul Tripi, they hit the streets as a food truck in January 2013, followed by a brick-and-mortar restaurant that opened in a converted auto shop in 2018.  Frank’s menu has evolved to showcase artisanal hot dogs and additional house made toppings. The current menu features chili dogs, kraut-covered dogs, all beef dogs, Banh Mi dogs and homemade vegetarian dogs. The toppings also continued to get better and more adventurous. You’ll find dogs topped with tomato jam, pickled veggies, blueberry BBQ sauce, sweet potato chili, and Tijuana cream sauce. Don’t sleep on their burgers and freshly cut fries either; they are some of the best in the area and served with delicious house made dipping sauces.

A hotdog and fries at Frank's

Located in Boston, NY a bit south of Chestnut Ridge Park, George’s has been cranking out hot dogs to loyal customers since 1967. A favorite summer dinner location for many families in the Southtowns, George’s has pretty standard run of the mill hot dog stand offerings. Hot dogs, hamburgers, curly-q fries (a must order, they are fresh cut and perfectly crisp) and milkshakes join chicken sandwiches, sausages and even some salads on their large overhead menu. While not groundbreaking, the food is consistently fresh and satisfying. Hotdogs and hamburgers are char-broiled, as many in Buffalo prefer, and the rolls are provided by another Buffalo staple, Costanzo’s. Condiments are of the standard variety; ketchup, mustard, onions and pickles. Be prepared to wait in line (and make sure you have cash), especially once soccer and little league is in session, but it’s worth it. After you order you move down the counter, watching your receipt fly down past your head on a zipline in front of you. Diners can eat inside at a few tables (which no one does) or at one of the many picnic tables surrounding the building outside. What makes George’s great is that it doesn’t pretend to be anything fancy. There are no bells and whistles. It’s a simple seasonal hot dog stand that offers consistently good summer comfort food. There are few things better on a warm July night than a hot dog and fries at a picnic table while you forget that winter even exists.

George's Hot Dogs

— Donnie Burtless (@BuffaloEats on TwitterInstagram and Facebook)




Ted’s Hot Dogs – Tonawanda

2312 Sheridan Drive
Tonawanda, NY, 14150

(716) 675-4662


Hot Dogs

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Mississippi Mudds

313 Niagara Street
Tonawanda, NY, 14150

(716) 694-0787


Old Man River Restaurant – Doghouse & Seafood Shack

375 Niagara Street
Tonawanda, NY, 14150

(716) 693-5558


Frank Gourmet Hot Dogs

707 Kenmore Avenue
Buffalo, NY, 14223

(716) 440-9397


George’s Hot Dogs

5808 Herman Hill Rd
Hamburg, NY, 14075

(716) 648-0320