National Hot Dog Day: The Hot Dogs of Pittsburgh

It was quiet morning in the super secret iheartPGH headquarters until one intern abruptly cried out “It’s National Hot Dog Day!” The Yinzterns rejoiced and it was decided that they would take a crawl through the various hot dog vendors of Pittsburgh. Here, we share our ups, downs, and general stomach aches after consuming multiple dogs.


Name Hours Cost Fun Fact

Steve's New York Hotdog Shop on Urbanspoon

Breakfast & Lunch


$ The proprietors of Steve’s were on vacation at the time of the crawl. We will be back for you Steve…
Yovi's on Urbanspoon

 Lunch & Dinner


 $ An interesting hybrid of Chicago and Pittsburgh, they serve up a mean hot dog. They are also located in a basement, so keep your eyes peeled or you will miss a delicious spot. It’s also cash only.
Franktuary - Lawrenceville on Urbanspoon Lunch & DinnerMonday-ThursdayLunch, Dinner & Late NightFriday-SaturdayBrunch


 $$ Franktuary is now offering a Sunday brunch at its Lawrenceville location. They also have trivia Tuesday nights!
Station Street on Urbanspoon

 Lunch & Dinner


$$$ Station Street has been open since 1915.
Packs & Dogs on Urbanspoon

Lunch, Dinner & Late Night


$ Decent beer collection, pop in for a hot dog.
D's Six Pax & Dogz on Urbanspoon Lunch & DinnerSunday- WednesdayLunch, Dinner, & Late NightThursday-Saturday $$  Over 1,000 types of beer with a wide offering of food beyond just hot dogs.
Dormont Dogs on Urbanspoon

Lunch & Dinner


$  This dog joint packs in a lot of character. Cash only.
Wiener World on Urbanspoon

Lunch & Dinner

Monday- Friday



$  Beyond selling dog hots, Wiener World is known for its fish sandwich.


Steve’s New York Hot Dog 

This place has great reviews on Urban Spoon. Unfortunately, Steve decided it was a good idea to go out of town during one of the most important hot dog related holidays on the year. We yelled out in agony as we drove by, vowing to return at a later date.


Unassumingly tucked into a basement right outside of Market Square, Yovi’s brings Chicago dogs to Pittsburgh. It’s simply decorated with both cities’ memorabilia and they also offer sandwiches and deep-fried pizza puffs. The token all-beef Chicago dog was topped with mustard, green relish, diced onions, tomato wedges, a pickle spear, sport peppers, and celery salt, on a poppy-seed bun. It’s a great, cheap, and friendly place to pop in for a quick lunch while downtown.


The new Franktuary location in Lawrenceville is charmingly rustic and beautiful, not to mention very spacious compared to the original downtown location. They have a variety of unique hot dog styles (including vegan tofu dogs), plus salads, poutine, pierogies, desserts, and more. We loved the Memphis dog (slaw, barbecue sauce, and crunchy potato sticks) and the Pittsburgh dog (smooshed pierogi and slaw). Their bar is fully stocked with tasty cocktails and craft beers, and you can sit at the open garage door windows when it’s nice out.

Station Street 1069151_10152063507612892_425551302_n

This hot dog joint has opened and closed a few times since it’s creation in 1915. The latest version is run by restauranteur Kevin Sousa. Bringing food science down to hot dog level, Sousa includes a couple crazy combinations on the menu. I went out on a limb and ordered the Kimchi Dog, topped with seaweed, kimchi, and tangy mayo. I was pleasantly surprised how delightful the tastes were together. The beef hot dog is delicious stand alone, but I’m anxious to try a few more combinations. Station Street also offers Vegan doggies for those less inclined to meat  The only downside? It’s a bit pricey for your everyday hot dog–save this spot for special lunch occasions (like National Hot Dog day).

Packs & Dogs

The first thing you notice when you enter this shop in Mount Washington is its expansive beer collection. The bar is lined with bottles and two plasma screen tvs.  You have to go to the far back to order your hot dogs.  The varieties have canine-themed names, such as the German Shepard (sauerkraut and spicy mustard) or the Chihuahua (chili, cheddar cheese, and onions). Beer is definitely Packs and Dogs’ forte.  There was not much outside seating, as there were only two tables outside, but there are a nice number of booths and bar seating.

D’s Six Pax & Dogs992822_10152063996622892_1121186585_n

Located in Regent Square, D’s is the perfect place to pop in for a dog. While you are there, make sure to check out the legendary Beer Cave, where you will find over 1,000 different brews. The Chicago Veggie dog was a classic that didn’t disappoint with relish, onions, pickles, tomatoes, sport peppers, and yellow mustard. D’s offered some interesting varieties, such as the Big Ben with fries, creamy cheddar and coleslaw and the Angry Tiki loaded with fries, creamy cheddar and coleslaw.  We can’t forget to mention how great the poppy-seed buns were, which can also be substituted for whole wheat.

Dormont Dogs

Dormont Dogs was one of our favorite stops of the day. Located a bit out of the city, it was worth the voyage. When you first walk in, you are taken back in time with the lovely decor. The hand written menu and little colorful tables added to the character at Dormont Dogs. The dogs were very good, as well as the buns. The menu featured hot dogs styled after different states (and streets in Dormont), from Louisiana in the south to Wisconsin in the west to Connecticut in the north. We also learned that in addition to being a hot dog shop, the area used to be a barber shop and a waffle/pottery shop.

Wiener World1075327_10152065147047892_1440397719_o

Wiener World is located in the heart of Downtown Pittsburgh on Smithfield St. and you can’t miss the giant neon sign. This place is a hot dog shop. This is a take out spot or stand-at-the-counter-and-eat-your-hot-dog place, no tables, chairs or restrooms, just hot dogs (or a hoagie). We ordered the all beef hot dogs with all of the fixings, well ok most of the fixings, which was more than filling enough. We’ll have to try the fries on a return visit. The beef hot dog was great and next time I’ll limit the fixings to one or two and let the hot dog take center stage.


We know there are a ton more hot dog spots in Pittsburgh, but we couldn’t stomach another after a full day of chowing down. Where do you think the best dogs are in Pittsburgh? Check out our Facebook album for more pictures of our day-long crawl.

Best of the Fall Fests: Fort Ligonier Days & Brady’s Run Gear and Beer

In case you need a reason to get outside and experience fall in western PA this weekend – here are 2 great fall festivals that are just a short drive from Pittsburgh.

Fort Ligonier Days – October 12-14, 2012 @ Downtown Ligonier

  • Parade (Saturday Morning)
  • Reenactments of the battle of Fort Ligonier
  • Festival food – in my opinion some of the best festival food around
  • Craft vendors, kids activities and more
  • Read more about Fort Ligonier Days food in the Tribune Review here
  • Festival Facebook Page –


Gear & Beer Fall Fest – October 14, 2012 @ Brady’s Run Park

  • Hosted by the Ohio River Trail Council – proceeds will go toward bike trail development connecting the Montour Trail in Coraopolis to the Great Ohio Lake-to-River Greenway trail.
  • Activities include a mountain bike ride, 15-mile, 35-mile or 50-mile road bike ride, 5K run/walk, kayaking and canoeing, Calland Arboretum Trail Tour, auctions, raffles, children’s bike rodeo & live music
  • Food, drink and free wine and craft beer tasting with proper registration!
  • More details – including race registrations – are available here – be sure to scroll way down on the page for the registration links.
  • Read more about the Gear & Beer Fest in the Tribune Review here.

Capital Cuisine

The Capital Grille invited us to try their new small plates meals – here is a run down of the visit.  What places downtown or elsewhere do you think offer a quick, tasty lunch?

One of the city’s tastiest (and more expensive) restaurants is making life easier for The Burgh’s lunch crowd.

The Capital Grille, which is located on 5th Avenue downtown, just added new seasonal fare to its “small plates” menu.

Launched in October last year, the small plates give diners the opportunity to choose any combination of a starter, entree and side — a completely satisfying meal for $18 (which is chump change at the Grille) and it’s quick!

Designed for a quick lunch, both courses are served in about 45 minutes, so you can down your martini and get back to the office.

Lucky for us, the Capital Grille gave the I Heart PGH crew the chance to sample a bit of the menu.

To start, we tried the carrot ginger soup and the clam chowder. Both were delectable. The clam chowder was definitely good, but not a stand out from other clam chowders. However, the carrot ginger soup was a whole ‘nother story. Not too carrot-y and not too ginger-y, this seemingly wacky concoction hit the spot. The carrot flavor is subtle and the ginger gives it just enough kick, without feeling like you shoved a sushi plate side-item in your mouth.

For entrees, we tried the lobster roll and beef tenderloin sliders. The Capital Grille lobster roll has no shortage of lobster-y goodness. It’s packed with fresh ingredients and is almost too big to finish. Even better are the tenderloin sliders. The beef is insanely tender and flavorful, and they’re served on soft, buttery mini brioche buns slathered in herb cream cheese. The truffle fries could stand alone, but still make the perfect complement to the rich sliders. No side of ketchup or ranch for dipping needed, which says a lot for this crowd.

If you’ve got enough time left, the Capital Grille has a saliva-inducing list of sweet treats to top off your meal (we recommend the creme brulee or the trio of homemade ice cream).

Here are some other small plate options:

  • Wagyu Cheeseburger with Fried Egg and Crisp Onions
  • Tomato and Watermelon Salad with Feta Cheese
  • Seared Sea Scallops with Sweet and Sour Tomatoes

In Search of Croissants in Pittsburgh

Check out these 4 awesome places for a flaky, buttery snack in Pittsburgh – due to time and transit constraints the team didn’t make it to Jean-Marc Chatellier’s Bakery in Millvale – I promise you there will be a follow up on that.

(Beautiful pictures by Iva. Words by Sarah and Ray)

In order to bring you info on the best croissants in the city, the I Heart PGH gang went on a croissant tour, sampling four bakeries. (Eating delicious croissants all day was an enormous burden, but you’re welcome.) We chatted with the staff and rated each croissant by buttery-ness, flaky-ness and rip-ability.

La Gourmandine, Lawrenceville

This authentically French bakery has unique pastries and crazy buttery croissants. It’s owned and operated by a French couple who bring their recipes straight from the cafe of Paris. They make their own dough and bake each piece of buttery goodness fresh. They have a few different types of croissants, including a chocolate flavored morsel that perfectly blends cocoa, butter, and bread.

There’s a variety of pastries filled with the likes of pistachio and hazelnut cream and a basket of baguettes. But the real piece de resistance here is the croissants. Make sure the get there early if you want an almond croissant, they tend to sell out.

The space at La Gourmandine is also limited. There’s room to stand and eat your goodies at two tables, but if you’re with a big group, it’s maybe not the best hang-out space.

  • Price: $1.90
  • Buttery-ness: 8.5 (made with European butter)
  • Flaky-ness: 6
  • Rip-ability: 4

Crepes Parisiennes, Oakland

The croissants at Crepes Parisiennes are a delish, but a little more bread-y and dense. Their flaky and crisp outside are a nice contrast to some of the other croissants we tasted, especially when paired with a chocolate filing.

Crepes Parisiennes is a perfect place to meet a friend or two in Oakland. Its service was quite fast and its atmosphere was surprisingly relaxing for a busy cafe in the city. Anyone preparing for a French exam would be wise to study in Crepes Parisiennes for a few hours, so long as the delicious crepes don’t distract you.

  • Price: $1.75
  • Buttery-ness: 5
  • Flaky-ness: 6.5
  • Rip-ability: 6

Allegro Hearth Bakery, Squirrel Hill

Four words: bigger than your face. That’s how big these mega-croissants are at Allegro bakery. In addition to the lovely breads and pastries, there’s a small cheese case if you want to slap a savory topping onto your croissant.

Allegro is nicely situated in the heart of Squirrel Hill on Murray Ave next to the Pinskers Jewish book store. The staff is really friendly and the open space gives you a great view into the bakery. Anyone passing through Squirrel Hill should stop in to Allegro, even if its just to see the biggest Croissants in Pittsburgh.

Take your goodies to go though, this place doesn’t have anywhere to sit.

  • Price: $1.89
  • Buttery-ness: 8
  • Flaky-ness: 9
  • Rip-ability: 6

Paris 66, East Liberty

We all agreed that this was by far the best croissant that we tried all day. Although, we will admit, Paris 66 might have a slightly unfair advantage since they bake your croissants when your order them. Regardless, these babies are good. They’re aesthetically pleasing, in addition to having the most flaky crust and gooey inside we encountered all day.

Inside, the restaurant smells like heaven. Between the fresh bread baking filling the air, the authentic french cuisine, or the beautifully decorated walls, Paris 66 brings the full french cafe experience right to Shady side.  It’s more of a sit-down place, so it might be easier to plan on eating a meal rather than just a cup of coffee and croissant.

  • Price: $2.00
  • Buttery-ness: 7
  • Flaky-ness: 10
  • Rip-ability: 3 (it’s soo gooey)

La Gourmandine on Urbanspoon

Crepes Parisiennes on Urbanspoon

Allegro Hearth Bakery on Urbanspoon

Paris 66 on Urbanspoon

Links Worth a Look – August 16th

Here are some links/articles/blog posts that are worth a look:

  • Review: Smiling Banana Leaf – FoodBurgh – The blog FoodBurgh has a nice review of The Smiling Banana Leaf in Highland Park. This place has been reccomended by a couple of IheartPGH readers in the past as well. Check out Mike's thoughts on the food and some photos of the place too.
  • Steeltown Anthem Visits CommonWealth Press – Pittsburgh design blog, Steeltown Anthem, visits Commonwealth Press's shop on Carson St. – Lots of great photos of the shop, Pittsburgh t-shirts, posters and more.
  • Relay in Doubt! : Venture Outdoors – Check out the story and the photos of the Venture Outdoors annual 24 hour ride from Washington DC to the point.

Follow IheartPGH on Twitter – we share more links there almost daily!