He doesn't play arias and his dogs cost more than 50 cents, but Joseph Feleman knows that the right atmosphere gives every snack an added boost of flavor. The friendly Feleman came from Russia seven years ago to find his fortune. Now he waits outside the library every day for hungry bookworms and serves them Sabrett ("It's expensive, but in this country, you get what you pay for," he says), the New York franks with natural casings. He's got variations on them, too: turkey dogs, beef and pork mixed, an all-beef Russian sausage, Polish sausage and chorizo. And he hands everything over with such loving respect that you've gotta take these puppies seriously. But if you try to tip him, he gives you a candy bar. Hot dog!
Readers' choice: Mustard's Last Stand
Benders' Brat Haus
15343 E. 6th Ave., Aurora
When best comes to wurst, Benders blows the casings off the competition. Beverly and Chuck Bender have been pumping out their own brats from scratch for eighteen years, as well as making the accompaniments: a rich and creamy German potato salad and briny sauerkraut. Although the brats are served here in sandwiches, the cost-conscious can buy them in bulk and cook them at home.