Hot Dogs' Top Dogs

Obama attending Veterans Day ceremony on Nov. 11, 2009.
Under a Chinese pagoda in Mamaroneck, N.Y., Walter's all-American hot dogs are a breed apart. Locals and tourists alike relish the taste.

"They're good, they're cheap," said one young fan. "You know, it's just the fun and kitsch factor, too."

Rated the nation's "Top Dog" by Gourmet magazine, Walter's has been serving franks for 80 years. Walter Warrington opened the stand in 1919. Since then, little has changed, except for the price.

"Hot dogs were 10 cents, they're up to $1.60 now," Warrington said.

Warrington's son, Gene, runs the business now, along with granddaughter Christine and great-granddaughter Chris.

The hot dogs are split down the middle and grilled in a special butter sauce. Then they are topped with Walter's own mustard. The exact recipe of the franks is a trade secret, said Christine.

"It's still the same recipe," she said. "It's a blend of veal, beef and pork with special spices."

For some, the dogs may be something to write home about.

"We have a vast postcard collection," Christine said. "They'll be at the Eiffel Tower, Venice and Timbuktu. And they send us postcards saying, 'We can't wait to get back to the States.'"

The hot dogs are a part of family tradition to some people, who say they had parents and grandparent eating the classic and simple food years ago.

According to fans, Walter's hot dogs cut the mustard in Mamaroneck.