If we’re being frank, hot dogs never really took off in Melbourne. Maybe it’s an Australian thing. We already have sausage rolls and sausage sizzles, both of which are streets ahead of the classic American dog (fight me). You’re not going to see hot dog carts selling suspicious meet on street corners in the CBD any time soon.
But still, there are places in Melbourne that make solid hot dogs, if you know where to look. Mostly these are American-style, wiener-and-white-bun combos—I’m still waiting for some genius to launch Danish-style pølsevogne dogs, with onions, apple ketchup, remoulade and hot mustard. One day… Ready to go ham? Here are the best places to get hot dogs in Melbourne.
Massive Wieners is one of the few dedicated hot dog venues in Melbourne that has actually survived. Owners Dave Brennan and Liam Magee originally opened their doors on Greville St, before moving to Chapel Street in 2013. This place slings 12” dogs all day long—till 4:30am on Saturday nights. It’s a real life-saver when you hit Revolver a little too hard. Don’t worry if it looks un-staffed and abandoned. That’s totally normal.
Hot Dog Hustle
Hot Dog Hustle aren’t trying to do the standard NYC hot dog thing. Their dogs are inspired more by L.A.’s food truck scene, along with some unorthodox Asian flavours. Put it this way: there’s a Bulgogi Cheesesteak Hot Dog on the menu. These guys started as a food truck in 2017 and now have three bricks-and-mortar locations: Chadstone, Braybrook and Footscray. They even took out ‘Melbourne’s Best Food Truck’ in 2020. Highly recommend.
Café Lafayette popped up in the old Restaurant Shik space, down Niagara Lane in the CBD. Their hot dog is a hot dog only in the loosest sense, given its made from eels. But damn it tastes good. The Unagi Hotdog is made from chargrilled Japanese eel, topped with tamagoyaki omelette, kewpie mayo, coral lettuce, pickled onion and crispy nori, all stuffed into a brioche roll. Hot dog purists, brace yourself.
Leave it to Ferdydurke to nail the dirty dancefloor dog. The sausages here are pint-sized Polish Parówki, cooked slowly in a broth of craft beer and sauerkraut, wrapped in fluffy, New York-style buns. The guy responsible is Rob ‘The Sausage King’, who (legends say) has cooked dogs almost everywhere, including in the middle of the desert at Burning Man. The Royal is the way to go here, with jack cheddar, diced pickles and onions. Vegans can grab the meat-free Hippy Frank for an extra $2.
8bit is known more for its burgers, but there are two dogs on the menu that deserve a mention: 8bit Dog (a beautifully smoked frank with pickle relish, ketchup, mustard and spring onions) and Wonder Boy (topped with a heart-stopping mix of bacon, grilled onions and BBQ sauce). Unlike some other places, 8bit doesn’t overload their dogs—there’s nothing on there that shouldn’t be there. Don’t forget a side of beer-battered cheese and gravy fries.
Bratwurst Shop & Co
Queen Vic Market
Bratwurst is the name, and Bratwurst is the game. You won’t find frankfurters here, just giant brats, cooked to order on the hot grill, snug in a white roll, and smothered in tangy, house-made sauerkraut and fried onions. Bratwurst & Co has been a staple at Queen Vic Market for years. Newbies should start with their mild bratwurst, with its coarse blend of beef and pork. Load up with double sauerkraut and gherkin relish, then go back for seconds.
Walker’s is one of the more legit, American-style doughnut shops in Melbourne, but they also make killer franks. The standard Yankee Hot Dog is pretty good value for $8, with its no-nonsense frankfurter, ketchup and mustard (always upgrade to the Triple Play—comes with a drink and a doughnut). If you want to kick things up a notch, the Micky Mantle dog with Polish Kransky, melted mozzarella, onions, jalapenos and hot chilli sauce is also delicious.
Did we miss any dogs? Let us know and we’ll update the list.