Another popular upstate New York phenomenon is the Hot Dog Stand. In New York City they have the famous street carts, and Nathan's, but I am talking about long standing, locally famous and irresistable hot dog stands. Many of them are famous for their hot dogs with the "works." From my experience this is usually mustard, onions and the specialty meat sauce of the particular place.
My very first "favorite" hot dogs, and still my number one choice, were from "Hot Dog Charlie's" in Watervliet, NY. They are 3 inch long hot dogs made locally and distributed by Hembold's in Troy, NY. They are served on steamed mini-buns and come with mustard, onions and a thin meat sauce. The Capital District area of Albany, Troy and Schenectady, NY is home to the small hot dog. Other places to get these small hot dogs are at "Gus' "in Watervliet and at "Famous Lunch" in Troy.
When I was little, my dad would take us to Hot Dog Charlie's. I remember going and watching them make the hot dogs. The owner would line the buns up right on his bare arm from his wrist to elbow as seen in the above picture.He would then build the hot dogs and place them on your tray. This wouldn't pass any current health code I am sure, but it was a great show before we worried about things like food preparation safety. One of the problems with these small hot dogs is that I can easily eat 12 or more of them! I can only eat three full size hot dogs but for some reason I can eat an amazing amount of these little hot dogs. They are delicious and addicting!
When I moved out of state I missed being able to get Charlie's hot dogs. When I lived in Florida, my parents brought me some of their bottled sauce and I was able to find small packaged hot dogs in the lunch meat section of the grocery store. I think they were made by "Ballpark Franks." I can't find them in NY, but they worked in Florida for a Hot Dog Charlie's feast. My in-laws lived in Florida and they also remember Hot Dog Charlie's from when they grew up in Latham. We all enjoyed those pseudo Charlie's.
When I moved back to New York, I was able to get my fix of these hot dogs again. I buy the sauce and have it on full length hot dogs when ever I want, but nothing beats those little hot dogs once in a while. I think we are due for a trip to get some soon.
There are also many local famous hot dog stands in the Glens Falls area. There is New Way Lunch in Glens Falls which is well known for it's Dirty John's Hot Dogs, or Dirt Dogs as the locals call them. There is the Dog Shack in Hudson Falls, and Mandy's in Hudson Falls. All of these places are famous for their hot dogs locally and I have enjoyed all of them from time to time.
There are surely other local favorite hot dog places, but these are mine.
Visit http://www.hotdogcharlies.com/ to order their meat sauce. If you live in upstate NY you can buy it at some Hannaford stores.