Indulging in a crispy, deep-fried corn dog is an experience cherished by many Americans, evoking memories of carnival fun and carefree summer days. The history of this delectable treat is shrouded in mystery, with various locales claiming its invention, including the Oregon Coast and the Lone Star State. However, rather than dwelling on its origin, let’s embark on an exciting journey to discover the finest corn dogs the United States has to offer.
From the iconic Fletcher’s Original Corny Dogs in Dallas, Texas, to the unique twists at Stix in San Francisco, California, and beyond, we’ll explore a myriad of mouthwatering options that will leave you craving more.
Fletcher’s Original Corny Dogs (Dallas, Texas): A State Fair Tradition
At the heart of the Texas State Fair stands an iconic tradition: Fletcher’s Original Corny Dogs. With roots dating back to World War II, the ingenious Fletcher siblings, Neil and Carl, crafted a battered sausage that could withstand frying, offering customers a portable delight on a stick. The Corny Dog was born, and it has been captivating carnival-goers ever since.
What sets Fletcher’s apart is the painstaking effort put into perfecting their recipe. Over a decade of experimentation went into creating the ideal cornmeal mix, complementing the premium frank, a blend of beef and pork. The result is a symphony of flavors that will make your taste buds dance with delight. Classic toppings such as yellow mustard add the finishing touch to this state-wide tradition. For an authentic taste of Texas, indulge in the legendary Original Corny Dog and experience the magic that has enchanted fairgoers for generations.
Cozy Dog Drive In (Springfield, Illinois): A Route 66 Classic
As Route 66 winds its way through America’s heartland, it leads us to the Cozy Dog Drive In in Springfield, Illinois. Founded by Ed Waldmire, this beloved eatery introduced the world to the Cozy Dog, a unique take on the classic corn dog. Seeking a faster cooking method for brats, Ed found inspiration in military kitchens, eventually bringing his creation to the great American highway.
What sets the Cozy Dog apart is its savory breading, eschewing the traditional sweetness of corn dogs at carnivals. The recipe, carefully preserved since 1949, yields a crunchy and flavorful delight that harkens back to simpler times.
Enjoy your Cozy Dog with a side of skin-on fries and immerse yourself in the vintage ambiance that makes this stop along Route 66 truly special.
Pronto Pup (Grand Haven, Michigan): A Midwest Delight
In the heart of the Midwest, Pronto Pup has captured the hearts of many as the battered hot dog of choice. With locations in Oregon’s Rockaway Beach and the Grand Haven Boardwalk in Michigan, Pronto Pup’s crispy delicacies have garnered a devoted following.
Pronto Pup’s secret lies in its unique batter, a rice flour dusted with sugar, resulting in a blend of gummy, crunchy, sweet, and savory sensations. One of the main attractions is the Pronto Pup’s thinner batter, offering a delightful contrast between its crunchy interior and airy exterior. For those seeking an authentic Midwestern experience, the Pronto Pup is a must-try treat.
Bangers & Lace (Chicago, Illinois): Where Brats and Beer Reign Supreme
In the vibrant Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago, Bangers & Lace serves up beefy dogs alongside an impressive selection of international beers. While the focus may be on beer, the brats menu is a testament to the restaurant’s creativity and originality.
Toppings like Mexican-style street corn and pimento cheese add a delicious twist to the traditional corn dog. Prepared with an old-school taste, Bangers & Lace’s corn dog takes us back to the roadside gems of our youth, transporting us to a time when the fairground was the epitome of culinary delights.
Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill (Austin, Texas): Corn Dog Bites for the Adventurous
In the heart of Texas, Austin’s Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill brings a touch of eccentricity to classic Southern cuisine. Their inventive take on corn dog bites, known as Corn Dog Shrimp, is a delightful surprise for the adventurous foodie.
The Corn Dog Shrimp features curled prawns encased in a coat of cornmeal, resulting in an airy, crunchy, and not overly sweet creation. The accompanying honey mustard zig-zagged with tart blueberry defies expectations, elevating this dish to new heights of flavor. A visit to Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill promises a culinary adventure that merges traditional Texan tastes with innovative flair.
World’s Best Corn Dogs (Provo, Utah): A Mobile Delight
Hailing from Provo, Utah, the World’s Best Corn Dogs food truck claims to offer the best corn dogs in the world—and its loyal following agrees. Since 2013, this husband-and-wife team has been serving their scrumptious fried-from-scratch franks throughout the Southwest, delighting school fairs and office parties alike.
The secret to their success lies in the use of pure beef sausages, expertly browned to a crispy, golden hue in canola oil. The menu boasts a variety of mouthwatering options, from the Footlong Corndog to the Halfsie, and even a meatless stick filled with Tillamook Colby Jack Cheese. For an unforgettable twist, try slathering sticky honey on your corn dog and let your taste buds revel in pure delight.
Fannie Farkle’s (Gatlinburg, Tennessee): Whimsy and Greasy Eats Collide
In Gatlinburg, Tennessee, whimsy takes center stage at Fannie Farkle’s, where carnival-esque fun meets greasy delights. Fannie Farkle’s is home to the Ogle Dog, a colossal corn dog that lives up to its name, measuring a whole foot in diameter.
The Ogle Dog boasts a cornbread coating crafted from a carefully guarded recipe, yielding a fluffy and crunchy delight that captures the essence of the fairground. Reviewers raved about the authentic fried-to-order treat, declaring it to be the best corn dog they’ve ever had. At Fannie Farkle’s, the playful ambiance and delectable treats combine to create a memorable experience that will make you feel like a kid again.
Little Red Wagon (Anaheim, California): Disneyland’s Delicious Delight
As we venture to the Happiest Place on Earth, Disneyland’s Little Red Wagon offers a culinary indulgence that park-goers can’t resist. With a scratch-made batter that creates a dense crunch atop a doughy interior, Little Red Wagon’s corn dogs are truly a magical delight.
Though pricier than beachside alternatives, the extra dollars are well worth it when you bite into a corn dog that has been hailed as “superb” and “heaven on a stick.” As you explore Disneyland, be sure to track down the original caboose on Main Street, U.S.A., or discover equally delightful options at Stagecoach Cafe or Corn Dog Cafe in California Adventure.
Grill (Charlotte, North Carolina): Eccentric Charm and Unique Creations
Pinky’s Westside Grill in Charlotte, North Carolina, is a haven of eccentricity, both inside and out. With a patriotically painted vintage car atop the roof and a menu boasting items like the White Trash Burger, Pinky’s offers an unforgettable dining experience.
Among their standout creations is the Viking Corn Dog, a fantastic concession that takes corn dogs to new heights. Prepared with Nathan’s beef links, sizzled on the grill before being plunged headfirst into a cornmeal batter, this Viking-inspired delight will transport your taste buds to a realm of pure satisfaction. But Pinky’s doesn’t stop there—the Corn Dog Shrimp elevates this classic treat with plump prawns, battered and fried to a crispy perfection. Pair your corn dog with one of their numerous tantalizing sauces, such as Buffalo or Wasabi Ranch, for a truly delightful experience.
Stix (San Francisco, California): Korean-Style Corn Dogs in Multitudes
In Northern California, Stix kicks off the trend of Korean-style corn dogs, offering a unique blend of gummy, crunchy, sweet, and savory flavors. Their inventive take on the corn dog has made them a favorite among hot dog lovers seeking a delightful departure from the ordinary.
Stix’s foundation is a batter made with rice flour dusted with sugar, and from there, the possibilities are endless. Concoctions such as ramen, corn flakes, and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos coat these delightful treats, appealing to the adventurous foodie in all of us. For a taste of Stix’s culinary innovation, try their Potato Dog, offering a sense of what sets them apart from traditional corn dogs. Pair your corn dog with their creamy Boba tea or fruity fruit coolers, such as the crowd favorite Pink Guava, for a uniquely refreshing experience.
The Viking Truck (Orange, California): Barbarian-Themed Meaty Goodness
While Little Red Wagon brings corn dogs to Disneyland visitors, The Viking Truck serves up meaty goodness across Orange County. With a menu dominated by weenie-centric delights, including vegetarian-friendly options, The Viking Truck ensures that nothing sits on the sidelines when it comes to culinary satisfaction.
A standout on their menu is The Nemesis Corndog, a creation that rivals the offerings of any average hot dog stand. With a thicker style of link than the usual ballpark frank, The Nemesis is coated in a hearty “sweetcorn batter” by hand. The result is a corn dog that satisfies even the most insatiable appetites. Served with a variety of sauces to suit your palate, The Viking Truck offers a gastronomical adventure that will leave you craving more.
Clowndog Hot Dog Parlor (Albuquerque, New Mexico): Unleashing Your Inner Freakazoid
Froot Loops, peanut butter, and chocolate sauce may sound like a fro-yo counter, but at Clowndog Hot Dog Parlor in Albuquerque, New Mexico, these unconventional toppings unleash your inner freakazoid. Embracing playful and creative takes on the classic corn dog, Clowndog lets you craft the corn dog of your dreams.
The build-your-own format allows you to customize your corn dog with a plethora of toppings, resulting in a culinary experience like no other. German brats may not be available, but the beef, turkey, and plant-based wieners provide plenty of options for blissful juiciness. Toppings like nacho cheese and Chipotle maple sauce take your corn dog to the next level, making Clowndog Hot Dog Parlor a must-visit destination for foodies seeking a wild and enjoyable adventure.
Arbetter’s Hot Dogs (Miami, Florida): A Miami Institution
For chili dog enthusiasts, Arbetter’s Hot Dogs in Miami, Florida, is nothing short of legendary. Founded in 1959 by the Arbetter family, this unassuming establishment has become a Miami institution, serving hot dogs worthy of the nation’s finest ballparks.
While Arbetter’s menu boasts a variety of delectable treats, including tater tots, fries, and onion rings, their corn dog has garnered significant praise from loyal patrons. Toppings are free of charge, and the corn dog batter is the epitome of crispness and fluffiness. Reviewers have lauded its similarity to carnival-style wieners, making it a nostalgic and authentic delight. For an affordable and satisfying meal, Arbetter’s Hot Dogs is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking a taste of Miami’s culinary heritage.
Dirty Frank’s Hot Dog Palace (Columbus, Ohio): A Hidden Gem from the Buckeye State
In Columbus, Ohio, Dirty Frank’s Hot Dog Palace has earned a devoted fan base with its kaleidoscopic array of weenies and fixings. Offering beef franks, Polish brats, veggie dogs, and bacon-wrapped links, Dirty Frank’s caters to all hot dog enthusiasts.
For those seeking a delightful corn dog experience, Dirty Frank’s does not disappoint. The breaded dogs are a standout on the menu, and arriving hungry is rewarded with a discount that allows patrons to indulge in not one, but two or three breaded dogs at an unbeatable price. Prepared fresh and to perfection, Dirty Frank’s corn dogs have been praised for their authentic taste and are guaranteed to leave you satisfied and coming back for more.
CornDog With No Name (Dallas, Texas): Fine Stick Food with a Gastronomical Twist
CornDog With No Name, located in Dallas, Texas, brings a gastronomical twist to fine stick food, and their inventive offerings are causing quite a stir. As a member of the Fletcher family, this eatery draws inspiration from Texas Corny Dogs, but the similarity ends there.
CornDog With No Name experiments with upscale ingredients and creative fillings, such as breakfast sausage and bison, elevating their corn dogs to a higher level of culinary delight. With options like The Bacon, featuring a sausage combining cheese and jalapeño pepper and coated in crunchy bacon, and The Pickle, offering vinegary zing, this eatery proves that the carnival can be taken out of the corn dog while still delivering unforgettable flavors.
From coast to coast, the United States offers a cornucopia of corn dogs, each with its own unique twist and flavor profile. Whether you seek a traditional carnival-style delight or an adventurous Korean-inspired creation, the options are endless. So, let your taste buds embark on a delicious journey through America’s finest corn dogs, and discover the one that leaves you craving more.