Friday, May 1, 2009

Hot Dog Heaven Takes Reader’s Choice for Best Hot Dog in Orlando: Results & Review

Hot Dog Heaven, on East Highway 50, took top honors in Eating Orlando’s April poll of the Best Hot Dogs in Orlando. Readers chose the perennial winner as their favorite by a large margin, besting second place finisher, the cart in front of Home Depot, by 43 points. Famous Uncle Al’s in Winter Springs was a distant third. Detroit Joe’s in Orlando, and Chubby’s in Maitland, finished fourth and last respectively.

Best Hot Dog in Orlando Results:

Hot Dog Heaven 64%
Cart at Home Depot 21%
Famous Uncle Al’s 10%
Detroit Joe’s 3%
Chubby’s 1%

The readers got this one right for sure. Hot Dog Heaven easily serves the best hot dogs in the area. Eating Orlando’s review:

Sure, Hot Dog Heaven is not in the best part of town, but you can’t beat its visibility on Colonial Drive near the intersection of State Road 436 on the east side of town. Its sign features a giant wiener speared with a two-pronged fork, and has become an Orlando landmark. I bet if you asked anyone in Orlando where Hot Dog Heaven is located, nine out of ten people would know, even if they’ve never visited.

But Hot Dog Heaven is not just a legend in this town because of its famous sign. They serve the best Chicago-style hot dog in the area, hands down. On a recent visit, I sampled three different dogs: A Chicago Dog ($2.89), a Slaw Dog ($2.89) and a Chili Cheese Dog ($3.19). All three wowed me.

First of all, Hot Dog Heaven uses only Vienna Beef wieners, the dogs that dominate Chicago. They even use Vienna Beef poppy seed buns, when they could easily buy them from a local bakery. It’s obviously important to HDH to keep everything as authentic as possible.

They definitely know how to make a Chicago-style hot dog. According to Chicago expats that I know, a Chicago dog must be served on a requisite steamed poppy seed bun, with a touch of yellow mustard, diced onions, bright green relish, chopped tomato, a pickle slice, whole stadium peppers and a sprinkle of celery salt. HDH makes an authentic Chicago dog alright. The first bite of the dog is an explosion of flavors as the natural casing on the wiener breaks and releases its juice. It’s a masterpiece of a hot dog. All the combined tastes result in the best dog I’ve ever had - in Orlando, Chicago, New York, wherever. It’s that good.

Being a Southerner, however, I’m also a fan of the Slaw Dog. The Slaw Dog at HDH is pretty dang good too. Same bun, same dog with a snap, but with nothing but runny, sweet cole slaw on top. Salty and sweet are a great combination, and this dog delivers it in abundance. Who knew Chicagoans could make such great slaw?

The Chili Cheese Dog was also excellent. Mine was served with bean-less chili, mustard and onions. Again, same bun, same dog, but topped with runny chili and melted cheese. Is there such a thing as a bad chili dog? Maybe so, but the one at HDH was delicious.

The restaurant itself is very clean and the staff is friendly and efficient. There’s seating inside and out, but sometimes you have to stand or take out because it seems there is always a full house and a line out the door. Dealing with crowds and waiting in line is never fun, but the payoff here is pure Hot Dog Heaven.

5 Angelic Wieners out of 5


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J.G. said...

You totally got this one right! They are amazingly consistent: a perfect dog every time, no matter what your order.

Thanks for featuring one of the best local joints in town!

Eating Orlando said...

Dog after dog they get it right everytime. Agree with you j.g.

akeorlando said...

OK, I'm not the biggest hot dog fan (although I love me some corn dogs), but I've driven by this place many, many times and have always wanted to stop-in. Maybe now I'll have to!

Eating Orlando said...

If you've never been to Hot Dog Heaven akeorlando, you have got to stop in and try their dogs.

Minor-Gross said...

The cart in front of Lowes on 436 is so much better that home depots....

akeorlando said...

@eating orlando Well, I if do ever make it over, you can be certain there will be a post on our "Pulse" blog.