Debatable: Top [Hot] Dog

In today’s inaugural edition of Debatable (name subject to change if we come up with a better name), our man on the street tackles a burning question: what hot dog reigns supreme over Princeton University?

hot-dog-costume5The hot dog’s got a lot going for it. No really, it does. It’s portable. Wildly customizable (crazy Chicago with its celery salt and its pickle spears!). Unofficial sandwich of baseball and camping trips.

And it’s cheap. Like, really cheap. And, because Princeton eats can get real expensive real quick, the hot dog can be the perfect meal (or late night snack) hungry students looking to chow down on the cheap (and the success of the Free Food @ Princeton email list seems to suggest that there are plenty).

Now that we’ve spoken to the merits of this noble sausage-in-roll, where’s the best place to get your mitts on one of these bad boys in town? Our committee of one counts down his hot dog rankings, using the massively unscientific method of “thinking about times he’s eaten a hot dog and trying to recall a vague sense of the experience.” Are you as excited as we are? Then without further ado…


4. Footlong Dog, Chuck’s Wings

There’s nothing wrong with the footlong at Chuck’s, per se. Basically griddled and stuffed into a normal sized bun, there’s something enjoyably cartoonish about this dog. But the wiener pales in comparison to the other offerings of this Spring St. eatery, and just doesn’t hold up to the competition. Seriously, if you’re going to Chuck’s, you’re there for the wings, or you took a wrong turn.

3. Standard Hot Dog, Studio 34

Mostly I just want to talk about Studio 34, the Platform 9 3/4 of the Princeton on-campus dining world. I have never been able to find Studio 34 in less than thirty minutes, or during daylight hours [Note: I recently discovered that this is because Studio 34 opens at 8 p.m.]. But come late night study sessions (or, you know, other reasons a Princeton student might be out and about after a certain hour), the Studio magically appears from somewhere deep within Butler College. The hot dog is standard – self-serve, cooked on the sort of rotating grills you find at convenience stores, slathered in ketchup and mustard, and eaten in the tinfoil wrapping the buns come in. This one’s all about the journey.

2. Wawa Hot Dog

You never expect too much, and it’s always a little bit better than you thought it was going to be. Plus, chopped onions.

1. Olives Hot Dog

The Olives hot dog is a thing of beauty. Toasted sub roll, a split frank on the griddle, and a world of condiments. Red onion’s nice. So’s hot sauce. Go nuts and toss in some tomatoes if that floats your boat. And it doesn’t cost a whole lot — more breakfast sandwich prices than not-breakfast sandwich prices. It’s a classy hot dog. Grab a seltzer in a glass bottle by the front door or something. Eat it in the courtyard by the library if its nice out, or wrangle a seat at one of the stools along the back wall if it isn’t. A change up? To be sure. But a worthwhile one.