ATLANTA -- Everyone has a different idea as to what makes a great hot dog. There are those who prefer the original Coney Island style hot dog, while others will only take the Chicago style dog, complete with neon-colored relish and "sport" peppers.
In Metro Atlanta, you can find both - but who has the best? It's entirely a matter of personal preference and opinion.
HD1, at 664 N. Highland Avenue, is the brainchild of Atlanta chef Richard Blais, and features not only the "Classic" dog with mustard and sauerkraut, and the "South of Chi-town" with chow-chow, fried green tomatoes and barbecue sauce, but such fare as the "Eastbound and Down" with Carolina pulled pork and slaw, or the "Whiz" with cheese sauce and shoestring fries on it.
HD1 doesn't stop at hot dogs - they sell several types of sausages, including chipotle buffalo sausage and an Irish banger. Sides like pulled pork poutine and spiced boiled peanuts round out their menu.
The Varsity is Atlanta's legendary hot dog stand featuring hot dogs, slaw dogs, chili dogs, chili cheese dogs, chili cheese slaw dogs - you get the picture. They are as basic as it gets, and as good as it gets. The original location at Spring Street and North Avenue still features the old carhops who will bring your food to you carside, or you can step inside as so many have done over the years, including President Obama, who stopped by during an Atlanta visit last year.
Hot dogs aren't the only thing on the menu there - burgers, sandwiches, fries, onion rings, their legendary Frosted Orange and their fried apple pies are also on tap. In addition to downtown, The Varsity has locations in Athens, Gwinnett County, Alpharetta, Kennesaw, Dawsonville and at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
Barkers Red Hots, in the Terraces at Windy Hill Shopping Center is at the corner of Windy Hill and Powers Ferry Roads in Marietta, just off of I-75. Barkers cooks their hot dogs over a charcoal fire, and gives them a blistering char, just like you would if you made them on your grill at home. If you don't want yours cooked that way, you can have a steamed city dog, which cooks them just as well, and gives you that old fashioned New York street vendor taste.
Barkers has Polish and Italian sausages and veggie dogs for those whose tastes run a little differently. They also have a grilled flank steak, or "beef on weck" as they call it.
Atlanta's legendary gastropub Holeman & Finch Public House has a hot dog that they top with pickled jalapeno peppers and ballpark mustard. A primer on the food at Holeman & Finch could take up an entire story to itself, but the other thing that so many fans of this gastropub rant and rave about is their hamburger.
Ten p.m. is the witching hour when it comes to their burgers. Only 24 burgers are produced each night. That's right, only 24. They go on sale at 10 p.m., and when they're gone, they're gone. Some nights, the burgers sell out in just a couple of minutes. Holeman & Finch is at 2277 Peachtree Road in Buckhead, and they don't take reservations.
If you're taking in a Braves game, hot dogs are standard fare, but at Turner Field, take the time to get over to Section 207 and grab a dog at Top Dog Express. Want a New York Dog with kraut, mustard and onions? They've got it. How about a Chicago Dog with mustard, relish, tomatoes, sport peppers, pickles and onions? They've got that, too. They've got 21 different types of hot dogs for sale there, including the Georgia Dog, complete with slaw, and Vidalia onion relish.
Your favorite dog not listed? Use the comment area to tell us who you think has the best hot dog in Metro Atlanta. Who knows, maybe we'll be able to feature them online here!