I am an American and I Eat Hot Dogs

Dog Crawl NYC Stop 1: Katz’s Deli, E. Houston St., NYC
Filed under: General — paul @ 3:00 pm

1 x dog with “everything”, $2.95

Super Bow Sunday 2008 and we embark on our first official NYC Dog Crawl. This is our pregame: a 1pm meet-up at Katz’s and then a walking tour of lower Manhattan’s more well-established hot dog eateries. I’ve been living in Brooklyn for about 5 months now, and I’ve barely had a chance to check in with the local flavor, so I’m primed and ready for the marathon.

Katz’s is a legendary deli on Houston, and I’ve always heard good things about their hot dog. It seems to make all of the “10 Best” lists of dog joints in NYC, but after our visit, I’m assuming that it’s making those lists based on reputation and not product.

The hot dog itself was actually fine, but their biggest affront, both to hot dog eaters nd to humanity, was that when I asked for a hot dog with everything, the dude behind the counter put a stripe of ketchup on the hot dog. I was shocked. I’m not even sure how to adequately describe what I felt. It was like being in a zombie movie where you’re at the counter ordering food and you suddenly realize that all the people working are zombies, everyone in the restaurant is a zombie, and then you look to your friends for backup and realize that they’re zombies too. The whole world had turned itself inside out. If you were to go back and read through this blog, over 150 entries at this point, not once have I ever been served a hot dog with ketchup. What the hell was going on? Was it this guy’s first day? As soon as I saw that red stripe, I said, “Wait a sec, are you putting ketchup on that hot dog!?” “Well, you asked for everything.” OK, yeah, I asked for everything, but I don’t think that’s meant to be taken quite literally. When it comes to hot dogs, there’s a regional specificity to the word “everything.” In Chicago, it’s mustard, relish, a pickle spear, lettuce, tomato, sport peppers and celery salt. In Cincinnati, it’s chili, mustard, onions and shredded cheese. And in New York City, it should be mustard, onions, and kraut. Ketchup should never enter the picture. Not in New York, not anywhere. I think I was actually offended!

Now I highly doubt that Katz’s could maintain their spot on these top 10 lists by serving hot dogs with ketchup. It’s my suspicion that this was an employee-motivated attack on our sensibilities. Maybe it was this dude’s first day? Maybe he’d never worked behind the hot dog counter before? I’m actually considering writing in to Katz’s deli asking if ketchup is an approved and regular part of their “everything” routine. If any Katz’s representatives are reading this, please feel free to write in to address this issue.

That being said, the ketchup error was quickly corrected, almost as if the employee knew what he was doing was wrong. He quickly discarded the ketchup-ridden dog and fixed a new one up for me. It had a real classic New York feel, highlighted by lots of snap and a fine onion sauce. I suppose this is the real reason why this place ends up on those lists, but I’m still not feeling it. It was a fine dog, but it’s nothing that’s gonna blow your mind.


  1. try jimmy’s quick lunch, hazleton, pa

    the best coney dogs you’ll ever eat

    Comment by bill — 4/22/2008 @ 6:26 pm

  2. There is a Katz’s Hamburgers in Denton and it’s amazing. Maybe it’s affiliated?

    Comment by lindsay — 4/27/2008 @ 1:25 pm

  3. two places to try … Simco’s in Mattapan, MA (near Boston) and Amazing Hot Dogs in Bound Brook, NJ


    Comment by joanne — 7/13/2008 @ 4:55 pm

  4. Have you ever tried a hot dog wrapped in bacon and deep fried?

    Comment by Jen @ JenuineJen — 7/19/2008 @ 10:00 am

  5. I have a hot dog cart here in scranton pa. called Hot Dog Mattys If you ever get a chance to be in this area I would like you to stop by and try one of my dogs. I am set up at NayAug Park in scranton. And tell me what you think and if you have any ideas to make my dogs better i am all for it. Matt

    Comment by matt — 12/25/2008 @ 5:51 pm

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