Sunday, April 19, 2015

Hot Dog Hot Spots: Top Dog

I visit a lot of hot dog places...a lot. I rarely get super excited about any one hot dog hot spot, but there is a stand in Berkeley that pushes all of my buttons.

Top Dog has been a sausage staple in the east bay area since 1966 when the first Top Dog spot opened. Flooded by fans headed to a football game the first day they opened, Top Dog got off on the right foot and has been serving up the dog done right for nearly 40 years. Top Dog has had several locations throughout the years, with an apex of five spots there are now three in the greater Oakland area where one can bite down on one of the nation’s best natural casing dogs.

I visited the original site at 2534 Durant Avenue in Berkeley, just a short walk from the UC Berkeley campus. I spent some time chatting with owner covering a broad range of topics that included some serious hiccups in a trip to my town of Tulsa to historic center fielders. One thing that impressed me most was his outlook on business. He claims he would rather “have five dollars next year than a nickel today.” That means his approach is to sell a lot of dogs at a reasonable price than a few at a higher price. The result? One of the most delicious and most affordable dogs on the west coast.

Using a hot dog supplier from Chicago (where they know hot dogs) Top Dog uses a sliced baguette for their signature “Top Dog.” There is an array of other quality meats to satisfy any palate but you cannot go wrong with the all beef kosher Top Dog, at a price of $3.00. Best dog for value I have encountered, and the tastiest.

What could make it better? For the Oakland A’s to get off of their duff and invite Top Dog to open a stand in Stadium. Both the A’s and the fans would win. The team could bring in a local flavor and the fans could enjoy watching the A’s with a Top Dog in hand. It’s a win-win. Are you listening

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