Cafe Society

Ten Denver hot dog joints to help you welcome back the boys of baseball

Nothing goes with Opening Day like hot dogs. Why would you even try? And while the grilled dogs and brats - with everything, please - you can get at Coors Field are truly delicious, even if the buns never seem to hold up, Denver is rich with other options.

The following are ten of the best places in town to get your wiener on.

Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs 16th & California 17th & Arapahoe 303-550-8231 There are dogs. And then there are Biker Jim's dogs. A former repo man, Jim Pittenger created a dining scene all his own when he opened his first cart downtown selling Alaskan reindeer weenies topped with grilled onions soaked in Coca-Cola, German white-veal brats, wild-pheasant sausage and on and on. Now he's almost as recognizable as the mayor and he runs two permanent carts and a roving one that graces the parking lot of Argonaut Liquors. The lines are occasionally long, but the dogs are worth the wait.

Steve's Snappin' Dogs 3525 East Colfax Avenue 303-333-7627 The choices at this temple to the almighty hot dog are almost endless. From the Dallas Dog (chili con carne, cheddar jack cheese) to the Memphis Dog (BBQ sauce, bacon, grilled red onion and coleslaw) to, yes, the Rippin' Rockies Dog (deep-fried with green chili, grilled red onions, sour cream, jalapeno peppers, yellow mustard and diced red onions), owners Steve and Linda Ballas will have you in hot dog heaven.

Mustard's Last Stand II 2081 South University Boulevard 303-722-7936 A Denver landmark, this DU stalwart has been welcoming hot dog lovers since the 1970s and doing Chicago dogs right long before anyone else. Straightforward and simple, you'll find plenty of people here - and for good reason.

Old-Fashioned Italian Deli 395 West Littleton Boulevard, Littleton 303-794-1402 The Old Fashioned won Westword's Best Hot Dog for three years running. Why? Because the family-owned joint has been making a truly delicious, Buffalo-style dog for two generations. The standard here comes with Weber's horseradish mustard, dog sauce and jalapeños and much more — to go.

Snarf's 1001 East 11th Avenue 303-832-9999 Yes, Snarf's is a sub sandwich shop, but their sammies are like no one else's, and neither is their hot dog. Wrapped in American cheese and bacon and nestled into a roll, this bad boy is delicious. Traditional? No. Get it with everything.

Mile High Vienna Stand 258 Santa Fe Drive 720-379-4600 Sonny Jarock turned a little abandoned building in the Baker neighborhood into one of Denver's best places to find a hot dog. Specializing in Chicago dogs and the Double Dog, which doubles your pleasure, Mile High also offers a hot dog happy hour: $2 dogs and fries from 3 to 6 p.m. daily.

Chicago Style Beef and Dogs 6680 West Colfax Avenue, Lakewood 303-233-0500 Another ode to the Chicago way, this place is loaded enough Windy City memorabilia and dogs to make you think you're in Illinois. It's all-beef dogs come with yellow mustard, Ripon green relish, chopped onion, tomato, pickle, peppers and celery salt. But they also have Polish sausages, jalapeno cheddar dogs and a slew of sandwiches.

Billy's Gourmet Hot Dogs 2445 Larimer Street 303-284-2714 Owned by Chicagoan Bill Feid, Billy's opened in February just blocks from Coors Field, serving eight different Vienna beef, Polser and salmon hot dogs and sausages, including bratwurst, hot and sweet Italian and Polish. Billy's also has beer and four kinds of fries.

Bernie's Hot Dog Co 1601 Mayberry, Highlands Ranch 303-683-0500 This independent spot in the Highlands Ranch Town Center in Highlands Ranch is also a recent entry into the world of wieners, having opened a year ago, and it's got a new, healthier menu and a liquor license as of April 2. You'll find Vienna beef dogs, footlong dogs, all-natural dogs, veggie dogs, gourmet local sausages and beer-battered fries. Interstate Kitchen & Bar 901 West 10th Avenue 720-479-8829 Happy Hour (both of them!) at Interstate is made all the merrier by the existence of the lap dog. Priced at a buck each, these portly little guys are topped with hot mustard, pickled carrots, onions and peppers. Don't want a footlong? Try a lap dog.

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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes