You know how the song goes: “Take me out to the ball game…buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack.” But there should be a verse about the glorious ritual of enjoying a game day hot dog, which might as well be considered the official food of baseball season. From a dressed-up venison dog that’s topped with a pear chutney to a classic Rockie Dog that you garnish at a DIY topping station, here’s where to satisfy a hot dog hankering on game day.

Fanciest Hot Dog: Sunday Vinyl

Sunday Vinyl's venison hot dog. Photo courtesy of Sunday Vinyl
Sunday Vinyl’s venison hot dog. Photo courtesy of Sunday Vinyl

The venison hot dog at Sunday Vinyl came together as a happy accident as Charlie Brooks, chef de cuisine, was making venison sausage and discovered it was better as a hot dog. He wanted to top it with something sweet and sour and landed on pear chutney. This spring, Brooks will be transitioning the topping to a more seasonal green tomato relish that he promises will have just as great of a spice profile, but be more vegetal with the green tomatoes and green bell peppers. “In order to build the ultimate bite, we add crunchy pickled cabbage for a wet crunch, garlic chips for a dry crunch and the relish to bring it all together—zang!” Brooks says. “I’m so psyched that people are loving it.” 1803 16th St. Mall

Best Corn Dog: The Rally Bar

Corn dogs at the Rally Bar. Photo by Brittany Anas
Corn dogs at the Rally Bar. Photo by Brittany Anas

Game day energy is palpable across the street from Coors Field at the Rally Bar, where even the drinks have team spirit (butterfly pea flower turns the signature vodka cocktail a pretty shade of purple). The Johnnie Dogs are all-beef hot dogs with a slightly sweet, perfectly crispy thin layer of corn batter. The gourmet corn dogs are served on a stick so you can give them a swirl in the accompanying honey mustard for a just-right bite. 1600 20th St.

Best Variety: Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs

If you’ve graduated from all-beef hot franks, ascend to Biker Jim’s, where you can order distinctive dogs like a spicy, smoky ostrich and elk jalapeño cheddar. The menu has plenty of regional riffs on hot dogs, too, from a coney dog with chili and chopped onions to “The International” topped with wasabi aïoli, caramelized apples, and shaved Irish cheddar. The “Drunk Pirate” comes smothered in a mustard cream sauce made with Upslope Craft Lager and fried pickled red onions. 2148 Larimer St.

Best View: Coors Field

The Rockie Dog at Coors Field. Photo by Brittany Anas
The Rockie Dog at Coors Field. Photo by Brittany Anas

Once inside Coors Field—the ginormous hot dog food hall where they play baseball—you’ve got all kinds of options from Biker Jim’s outpost to 505 Southwestern’s green chili topped dogs. Or, Polidori Sausage (the official sausage of the Colorado Rockies) slings garlicky beer brats and hatch green chile cheese sausages). If you’re a stadium hot dog purist, though, go for the Rockie Dog, which is a foot long dog cradled in a bun that you can take to a topping station and go ham with ketchup, mustard, relish, and diced onions. 2001 Blake St.

A Chicago dog at Buona Beef. Photo by Brittany Anas
A Chicago dog at Buona Beef. Photo by Brittany Anas

Best Chicago Dog: Buona Beef

No ketchup, no problem. Illinois-based Buona Beef operates a stall inside Milepost Zero food hall that has a few dogs on the menu, including a drug-through-the-garden Chicago dog. The all-beef hot dog is served in a steamed poppyseed bun and is topped with mustard, relish, onion, sport peppers (pickled and spicy!), pickle, tomato, and celery salt. The best way to enjoy your meal is to take it to go and grab a seat in McGregor Square, which has a 110-foot LED big screen that plays Rockies games. 1901 Wazee St.

Best Hole-In-The-Wall: Ballpark Vienna Beef

First, pick a weiner (Vienna beef, grilled Polish, spicy grilled Polish, or veggie). Then, pick your hot dog style, which ranges from a Denver dog with house-made green chile, cheddar, and sour cream to a Southern Dog with coleslaw, chopped onion, and mustard. Cubs fans (there’s a lot in Denver) will feel right at home, too, because there’s variations on the Chicago dog that have sauerkraut (the South Side) or grilled onions (Maxwell Street). As a bonus, Ballpark Vienna Beef is like a baseball fan’s time capsule, with MLB memorabilia decorating the walls. 1312 21st St.

Best Brat: Rhein Haus

If you tend to favor a brat over a hot dog, consider Rhein Haus your home base for hearty pre-game snacking. At this German restaurant, you can sink your teeth into a traditional homemade bratwurst (there’s a veggie sausage option available, too) with sauerkraut, diced onions, and spicy marinated peppers. Other options include the Munich with a house-made habanero cheddarwurst, cheddar cheese, and crispy sweet onions and the Denver Brat, which is covered in a cheddar fondue, topped with sautéed onions and bell peppers, and then spiced up with diced jalapeños. If you’re in the competitive spirit, try your hand at bocce ball. 1415 Market St.

Best Pre-Game Atmosphere: Cherry Cricket Ballpark

The burgers are, and forever will be, the star of the menu at Cherry Cricket. But, there’s also a no-frills hot dog on the menu and any of the burger toppings are fair game, which means you can design your own with three dozen options to choose from. Crispy onion strings! Ancho apricot barbecue! Pimento cheese! Go wild. With an arcade room in the back, the ballpark location is a fun place to hit up before a game. 2220 Blake St. 

Best Fry Menu: Billy’s Gourmet Dogs

For most, hot dogs are synonymous with summer. But for Billy Feid, they were a traditional pre-Thanksgiving meal in his Chicago household. The hot dog enthusiast’s gourmet menu ranges from a top-of-the-line Kobe beef frankfurter to a Denmark dog with Vienna beef, remoulade, brown mustard, crispy onions, and chopped onions. Just as impressive as the hot dog selection at Billy’s Gourmet Dogs is the fry menu, which includes garlic pesto blue cheese fries, chili fries, garlic fries, and more. 2445 Larimer St.

More Hot Dogs

While not within a short walking distance radius of Coors Field, these spots are also worthy of top dog status. 

Yacht Club is the best kind of juxtapositiona dive bar with craft cocktails—and if you follow them on Instagram (@yachtclubbar), you’ll pick up on the bar’s hot dog obsession. Pair your dog with boozy shave ice. 3701 N. Williams St.

Harley’s A Hot Dog Revolution boasts a menu full of creative hot dogs, like one with deep fried pickle spears and zesty jalapeño ranch and a chili dog topped with melted cheese and Fritos. We double dog dare you to try the Eddie Spaghetti hot dog. 1500 W. Littleton Blvd., Littleton

Mustard’s Last Stand was founded in 1978 by Dan Polovin, a Chicago native who filled a niche for Windy City transplants looking for a Chicago-style hot dog. Polish sausage, chili dogs, chili cheese dogs, and corn dogs share the menu with the famed Chicago dog. 2081 S. University Blvd.; 1719 Broadway, Boulder

Steve’s Snappin’ Dogs menu is a greatest hits list of regional hot dogs, including an Atlanta Slaw Dog with coleslaw and a Memphis Dog with bacon barbecue sauce. For game day, though, the deep-fried Rippin Rockies dog is a winner with green chile, red onions, jalapeños, and sour cream. 3525 E Colfax Ave.

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Brittany Anas
Brittany Anas
Brittany Anas is a Denver-based food and travel writer.