The Original Hot Dog Shop has quite a large menu, including pizza, hoagies, fish sandwiches, and hamburgers; but if the name of the place doesn’t clue you in to what’s good, the view behind the counter will. There on a broad grill are row upon row of lovely hot dogs – pale pink ones barely warm and darker ones cooked through and ready to be bunned, as well as a formation of deep red all-beef kosher dogs. Regular or all-beef, these are fine franks with a seriously meaty flavor, available plain or gooped with cheese or in a “Super” configuration with cheese and bacon, and with a full array of condiments that include ketchup, mustard, relish, onion, pickle, chili, mayo, and kraut.
On the side of whatever hot dog suits your taste, you must get French fries. Big O fries are legendary, crisp and dark gold with a wicked crunch that makes them such a good companion for just about any sandwich. Even a small order, for about two-and-a-half dollars, is a substantial dish; but you can get them in sizes all the way up to Extra Large (currently $7.24) for a plentiful potato orgy. Although cheese for dipping is available, as are gravy, hot sauce, and ranch dressing, these exquisite potatoes want only a sprinkle of salt.
Aside from great fast food and post-midnight hours, one reason Pittsburghers are so fond of the Original Hot Dog Shop is that it can trace its heritage back to the Original Famous Sandwich Shop, where the foot-long hot dog was introduced in 1928. Syd Simon, who opened the Original Hot Dog Shop in 1960, worked fifteen years at the old Famous.