The top 3 hot dog spots in Tampa

exterior of a hot dog shop with blue and red lettering hand painted on the front

The 4th of July weekend is almost here, and we are ready to sink our teeth into some delicious hot dogs. Tampa is home to some fantastic spots for the backyard bbq delicac, but we narrowed it down to three restaurants every resident and visitors need to try when in town.

These selections include old school haunts right next to Busch Gardens, and a hidden gem next to a highway on ramp and a gas station. Sometimes a dish is best when it’s uncomplicated, and these three Tampa hot dog treasures just do it the right way.

a hot dog on a poppyseed bun with a side of fries

Mel’s Hot Dogs

4136 E Busch Blvd

Mel’s Hot Dog is an old school joint serving up the “top dogs in Tampa.” The restaurant has been at it for decades. The concept has been family-owned and operated since it opened back on July 3rd, 1973. Mel’s is located next door to, on the corner of Busch Boulevard and 42nd Street. The restaurant prides itself in serving the highest quality food with a side of Mel’s legendary humor. 

The restaurant is famous for its Special hot dog: Mel’s Famous all beef natural casing hot dog served on a steamed poppy seed bun with mustard, onions, sauerkraut, relish and pickle.

A hot dog covered in peppers and onions

Chicago Paulies


1301 N. Howard Ave

Chicago Paulies uses 100% Vienna Beef for its hot dogs. The meat used in their beef products is 100% beef and beef trimmings from a carefully selected group of suppliers. They also grind and mix all of their own ingredients. Chicago Paulies produces real hickory smoke to finish off that signature Vienna look and taste.

The Chicago style hot dog is a staple. It features a Vienna Beef Hot Dog served on a poppy seed bun topped with mustard, relish, onion, pickle, tomato, sport peppers and celery salt. If you’re seriously hungry try the Polish sausage and the chili dog, which features a Vienna Beef Hot Dog served on a fresh bun covered in flavorful chili, chopped onion, mustard and cheese.

a super long hot dog topped with peppers, lettuce, and sauce.

Butters Burgers

777 N Ashley Drive

Butter’s Burger is newer than the other spots on this list. The restaurant is located in the heart of downtown Tampa just across the street from Curtis Hixon Park. The well reviewed restaurant is renowned for its massive burgers, but diners should not ignore the Pug Dog.

Savor a toot long all beef hot dog topped with cheese sauce, bacon, coleslaw, yellow mustard, jalapeño peppers, lettuce, diced tomato, and beef chili, hoagie roll.


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