Hot dogs are both an all-American classic and a conduit for imagination—boiled, deep-fried, grilled, or split, the hot dog retains its essence while providing a canvas for culinary tinkering. The classic frankfurter is the official food of American summer, no matter if it’s cover in chili or pickled onion-mustard relish.

Daniel Boulud has no doubt helped to promote the potential of the haute dog through his East Village restaurant DBGB, while Crif Dogs keeps New Yorkers satisfied with decidedly clever topping combos like chili, coleslaw, and jalapeños. But across the board, New York’s myriad hot dog offerings demonstrate the tubesteak’s ability to straddle the highs and lows of the culinary landscape.

Here are our five favorite places to grab a hot dog in NYC.

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