As I continued my journey for world class hot dogs, I stumbled upon Ted’s Hot Dogs in Tempe, AZ. Ted’s is a small hot dog chain based in the Buffalo, NY area. They have numerous locations, the one in Tempe being the only location that is outside the Buffalo area. A bit of background; Ted’s was founded in 1927 by Theodore “Ted” Spiro Liarosthe, a Greek immigrant who originally sold hot dogs off of a horse drawn cart. He eventually acquired a hot dog stand and the rest is history. 80 years later, Ted’s is still family owned and operates 8 locations.
I walked into Ted’s on a Saturday afternoon and the line was quite long, approaching the front door. I stepped into line and began to check out the menu. Ted’s has a few different types of hot dogs; a regular, a foot long, and an all beef. They also offer bratwurst, white hots, and burgers. Their sides are French fries and onion rings. I noticed that in order to make the food fresh and keep their service quick they ask you for your order while you’re still pretty far back in line. By doing this, your hot dog is grilled fresh and ready for you by the time you get to the cash register. It’s actually a really good system. The line wraps around the store and takes you right past the grill so you can see the cook making your dog fresh. When the time came for me to order I decided to go with the all beef hot dog and a side of onion rings. What’s pretty cool is that Ted’s charbroils all their hot dogs and burgers over natural wood charcoal. It’s a different approach to cooking hot dogs than some of the other places I have checked out. They also have an assembly line system in place – they grill your dog, then the next person adds condiments and toppings, then the cashier gets your drink and takes your money. You can get anything you want on a Ted’s hot dog – ketchup, mustard, relish, sauerkraut, chili, cheese, mayo, lettuce, tomato pickle…etc. I had them coat my dog with chili, cheese and onions. The other really cool part about Ted’s is that they make the onion rings fresh right in front of you; they do not use frozen onion rings. They start out with sweet onions, bread them, and drop them in the fryer right then and there. How are the prices? Pretty reasonable. My jumbo all beef dog was $3.20 plus chili ($0.60) and cheese ($0.60) bringing my hot dog cost to $4.40 plus $2.75 for the onion rings and another $1.39 for a medium iced tea. My total with tax came to $9.23.
I walked over to my table, there’s some east coast love going on in this place, they have racks with the local Buffalo newspaper for your reading pleasure and vinegar for your fries. they also have Buffalo decor all over the walls to add to the effect. I have to say, I was in hot dog heaven. I enjoyed sinking my teeth into this beauty, it was plump, smokey, and it snapped – it’s definitely the burn factor coupled with the natural casing of the hot dog. The chili was pretty good too, it’s a real thin chili with no beans… good for topping a hot dog. I have to admit though, I think the onion rings were the best part, they were so sweet, thin, and greasy. Ted’s gives you enough of these things to feed a small army. I couldn’t even finish the bag. With every bite I think I felt my arteries harden a little more. Ted’s has the hot dog biz figured out, I could easily make this place a regular lunch spot. If you’re looking for a good hot dog, Ted’s is sure not to disappoint.
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Ted’s Hot Dogs
1755 E. Broadway
Tempe, AZ 85282