Chicago has its celery salt and pickles, and New York has its sauerkraut and mustard, but here in the Southwest, we've got Sonoran dogs. The baconified dog (usually wrapped) is covered in mayo, tomatoes, beans, onions and a variety of other sauces, typically served with a roasted pepper on the side. Though there are many variations of the Sonoran dog, this is what we've come to know and love about the local delicacy. Whether you find it roadside off of a food truck or in a more typical restaurant, there are nine local joints that are known for serving this dog up right.
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Moreno's Mexican Grill While Moreno's is a more typical restaurant atmosphere outposted in Chandler and Mesa, the dogs are served solely from a food cart on the patio. For about $2.50 plus tax, you get your dog todo (with everything), which includes the basics. However, Moreno's piles bacon on top of its dog rather than wrapping it. Usually, this would be considered sacrilege, but in this case, it results in a more intense smoky bacon flavor.
Nogales Hot Dogs Nogales is somewhat of a staple when it comes to Sonoran dogs. The little stand and tent off of 20th Street and Indian School Road has won Best Ofs from us, likely due to the polite and speedy service. If you get one and decide to spring for another, you'll have your second dog in hand in about a minute. Plus, the stand is reliably at that location serving dogs every night, which is a big deal in the Sonoran dog world.
La Frontera South a few miles from Nogales Hot Dogs is the La Frontera food truck off 16th Street just south of Van Buren. Day and night you can pull up and get carside service for your hot dog cravings. We go for their hot dog con papas (with French fries) for $4.
El Exquisito New Times food critic Laura Hahnefeld sings the praises of El Exquisito, claiming these exquisite specimens of Sonoran dog splendor to be the best in town. The massive roasted chile on the side adds spice to the already jazzed up with ketchup, mustard, mayo, and green chile salsa dog. While we haven't always been able to find the stand off of 39th Avenue and Indian School Road on any given night, when we do -- it's a treat.
El Sabroso Just west on Indian School Road from El Exquisito, you'll find the El Sabroso food truck. With it's large circus-tent-like red and yellow awning it's easy to spot from the road and more reliably open than its neighbor. We love to pair their dogs with a cold, refreshing Mexican Coke or Fanta on hot summer nights. Admittedly, El Sabroso uses bacon crumbles rather than wrapping the dog, but the generous heaping of toppings ensures a dog bursting at the bolillo with flavor.
Red Hot Grill at Chase Field Uh-oh. You know the Sonoran dog craze has hit when you can even catch one at the ballpark. Recently, Red Hot Grill locations in Chase Field have begun offering Sonoran dogs wrapped in mesquite-smoked bacon and topped with pico de gallo, beans and a drizzle of mayo. While it isn't the most authentic dog in town, it's a great alternative to typical ballpark fare -- just be wary of its ballpark price.
Micky's Micky's is well-known by Sonoran dog connoisseurs for its consistency in hours, location, and quality. Though we think their dog could use a bit more bacon (we had to check to make sure it actually had some after our first bite), we love to drop in anytime we're near downtown Mesa for a quick bite to eat.
La Pasadita/ Taquifiesta Hot Dogs While the name has been either La Pasadita or Taquifiesta on any given visit, this west side hot doggery is always delicious. The fresh roasted chiles and strong bacon flavor along with tons of salsa options on the tables makes it one of our favorite Sonoran dogs in town -- we don't care what they call it, just so long as those dogs keep being tasty.
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Tacos Atoyac So Tacos Atoyac techinically serves a "Oaxacan" dog, as they specialize in Oaxacan cuisine, but the spirit of the dog is the same as its Sonoran friend. While it still has bacon (on top), it has crema rather than mayo and adds jalapenos and avocado slices. The added avocado really helps us fool ourselves into thinking this is a fresh and even maybe health conscious dish, but it isn't. We love to pair this dog with Tacos Atoyac's tasty cabesa taco for a meat-splosive meal.