A true American classic, the chili dog. As synonymous with the diner as the cheeseburger, the hot dog (and the obsession there of) has become a national pastime. We love our dogs piled high with chili and all sorts of condiments and relishes. Folks seem to enjoy the challenge of attempting to construct the perfect dog. For those that are really serious, there is even a degree available at the Hot Dog University located at the Vienna Beef headquarters in Chicago, Illinois.
The chili dog has been around for a long time. This “fill you up” and “stick to your ribs” sandwich became popular at diners and walk up windows during the great depression. The coney dog, which is a hot dog smothered in a meaty chili (no beans), topped with large amounts of minced onion and yellow mustard, became famous at a boardwalk stand by the name of Nathans in Brooklyn. This version of the chili dog is reported to have actually been created in Michigan, although it is now associated with Coney Island.
Chili dogs are also popular in areas that have large Mexican-American populations, such as California, Texas and Arizona. The major difference between chili dogs in the Southwestern United States and coneys in the east, is that the Southwestern dogs use a spicier chili (usually with beans) and are served with brown mustard or no mustard at all. Pink’s, a west coast tradition has been serving hot dogs at the corner of Melrose and La Brea in Los Angeles since 1940. Originally started as a pedestrian cart, this diner claims to be the most famous hot dog stand in the country.
Located near the corner of University and Evans in Denver, Mustard’s Last Stand is very popular with nearby DU college students. Serving Chicago style dogs at this location since 1970, this hot dog stand has become a Denver tradition.
But probably my favorite place to get a chili dog is the Coney Island Boardwalk. Rescued from is original location in Denver on west Colfax avenue (near Davie’s chuck wagon Diner) this most interesting building is now located on highway 285 near the small town of Conifer, Colorado.