Weekend Special--Walter's Hot Dog Stand, Mamaroneck, New York

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Walter's Hot Dog Stand in Mamaroneck, NY, stands in parkland across from the high school.

To celebrate National Hot Dog Month, and the impending Nathan's hot dog eating contest, Fork in the Road traveled to Mamaroneck, NY, an easy 30-minute train ride from Grand Central. One of the iconic hot dog stands of the United States, Walter's is located a half mlle south of the train station. Though Walter Harrington established his first stand in 1919, it wasn't until 1928 that he built the picturesque pagoda on parkland across from Mamaroneck High School, and it's been a favorite of locals, tourists, and high school students ever since. In fact, Walter's rated as #7 in Our Ten Best Hot Dogs. On the next page, find more pictures of Walter's, including their strange franks.

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Walter's hot dogs are split open and grilled.

The hot dogs are composed of a combination of beef, pork, and veal, giving them an alarmingly light tint, more gray than pink. They're split before being griddle cooked, so that the inside develops a caramelized surface and a slight crunch. The bun is also warmed, and the attendants use tongs on them, so they get a bit squished, which is part of the fun. Condiments are applied before the dog is delivered, and you have a choice of grainy, dark brown mustard (a proprietary recipe of Walter's), and the same mustard  dotted with a modest amount of sweet-pickle relish.

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Walter's doesn't sell burgers or hoagies or any other main dish, but it does dabble in sides. While you can get regulation fries, the stand also sells potato puffs, which may look like 'tater tots, but are really quite different. Take a bite and find a buttery (actually, margarine-y) fluffy spud interior, falling away from its crisp brown crust. Along the same lines, an elongated sweet-potato puff is also offered.

Walter's makes world-class shakes from its own soft-serve, including, our favorite, the extra-thick chocolate malt. The stand also sells souvenirs galore, including T-shirts, playing cards, mugs, and baseball caps. Afterward, Rye Playland is a short cab ride away.

If you want ketchup on you hot dog at Walter's, you've got to put it on yourself.

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