Essential Hot Dog Tour of Arlington, Virginia

Like your hot dog with super spicy chili? Or just mustard, relish, some onion? Hot diggity, you’re in the right place.

Arlington Style Hot Dogs

The Washington, D.C. area has a delicious hot dog history and is rumored to have created its own hot dog, the half smoke. No one knows exactly who invented it – Ben’s Chili Bowl or Weenie Beenie -- so you will have to try them both!

Top Dogs

Hold on to your buns because two of Arlington’s hot dog purveyors are ranked among the top dogs nationally by The Daily Meal

• Ben’s Chili Bowl ranks on top of the list for its legendary half smoke, a hot dog that’s half beef and half pork sausage, rumored to be invented in D.C. by Ben himself, and is a favorite of celebrities and presidents whose photos adorn the restaurant’s walls. With two locations in Arlington, this family-owned, local restaurant chain’s chili-cheese dogs are so adored that travelers like to take some home. You can even mail order four-packs of the 4 oz. half smokes with enough Ben’s Chili Sauce to smother each of ‘em. 

• Shake Shack made the list too with its “split and griddled crisp” flat-top dogs. Known for its burgers, Shake Shack actually began as a New York City hot dog cart and expanded widely, including to our own Fashion Centre at Pentagon City. This eatery has stayed true to its roots with the Shack-cago Dog (covered with house relish, onion, cucumber, pickles and other veggies) and Chicken Dog (with chicken, apple and sage sausage).

And we’re only getting started on a hot dog tour of Arlington:

Tried and True

These restaurants have been serving up delicious hot dogs in Arlington for decades. 

• Have a half smoke the way Arlington residents have enjoyed since 1954 at Weenie Beenie. This popular neighborhood drive-in has been a fixture in the Shirlington neighborhood for decades. Try it “all the way” with chili, mustard, relish and onion, or enjoy a beef hot dog “all the way, you know.”

Weenie Beenie

• Hot dogs with craft beer are what you will find at Galaxy Hut, a fixture in the Clarendon neighborhood since 1990. Try their vegan version with soy bacon and a basket of their famous tater tots on the side.

Haute Dogs

These Arlington foodie spots are serving up hot dogs with a gourmet flair.  

  • Try the half smoke or the smoked kielbasa at Westover Beer Garden, which offers craft beer, live local music, and a neighborhood festive dine-in atmosphere. The Beer Garden uses local, grass-fed meats from their in-house butcher shop, and its adjoining market is known for its Great Wall of Beer.
  • You can also find bratwurst, chicken sausage and a half smoke at Continental Beer Garden, an outdoor watering hole in the Rosslyn neighborhood. While you enjoy the custom-made sausages, you can lounge on sofas and Adirondack chairs in seasonable weather in this urban oasis, dine at the communal tables, and play games like cornhole or bocce.
  • Take it up a notch at Lyon Hall, where Executive Chef Matt Hill and Chef Paul Stearman offer French/German cuisine. Try the Bohemian sausage platter with smoked cheddar bratwurst, porchetta and garlic sausage.

Need even more ideas for culinary exploration in Arlington? Try an Arlington foodie itinerary

Author: Kathleen Murphy