NYC's 7 Messiest Hot Dogs
The Louisiana Purchase Exhibition of 1904 - more commonly known as the St. Louis World's Fair - was supposedly the first time a hot dog was crammed into a bun. Before that time, hot dogs had been handed out with a pair of white gloves at such events as Chicago's Columbia Exposition of 1893, so you could hold your weenie without greasing up your fingers.
Yes, the bun was invented to keep your hands clean, which is why it's highly ironic that in the rush to make the humble hot dog a complete meal by piling on tons of gloppy ingredients, you can once again no longer eat a frank without making a gigantic mess.
Here are the worst culprits (or maybe we should say "best"), mess-wise, to be found in the city today.
7. Hoyt Dog at Mile End Sandwich (above) -- It comes heaped with sauerkraut and a sticky pickled onion-mustard relish, so that you can't even get your lips around this thing without spilling condiments in your lap. Must be eaten with a knife and fork. 53 Bond Street, 212-529-2990
6. Cheese Chili Dog at Papaya King -- You may laugh at the assertion that this frank can't be eaten with the hands, but remember the chili con carne and the "cheese" sauce are boilingly hot as they're spooned on, and very liquid, too, so that the slightest tilt sends them shooting your way like lava out of a volcano. 179 East 86th Street, 212-369-0648
5. Hot Dog at Bark on the High Line -- In good weather, the Brooklyn hot dog maven Bark -- famous for brushing their wieners with smoked lard -- mounts an outdoor operation, with a customizable frank that turns gloppy as the toppings multiply. Moreover, those toppings are irresistible (and free), so that any Bark frank purchased on the old railroad roadbed is going to be a giant mess.
4. Umami Dog at Japadog -- Sneeze on this thing and bonito flakes fly all over the place. Tilt it and thick soy sauce and mayo drool out the ends. Put this on a flat surface, push back from the table, and eat it at a distance. 30 St. Marks Place, 646-476-2324
3. Amerro-Perro at Los Perros Locos -- Believe it or not, this is the Colombian version of the American chili dog, featuring Fritos, chili con carne, and a mayo based sauce, and the only thing that keeps from it from ascending to number one, is that the chili is dry and not messy. You can almost eat this with your hands, except then you'll be dusting greasy Frito fragments flecked with mayo off your lapels. 201 Allen Street, 212-473-1200
2. MegaDog at Hello Deli -- Consider every aspect of this umkempt dog to be a threat: Onion, lettuce, bacon, french fry, even floppy yellow cheese can act as a missile to deliver a smear of ketchup or mustard to your outfit. This remarkably cheap construction is so messy, it was featured on the Letterman show. 213 West 53rd Street, 212-489-7832