Dog House Drive-In gets top-dog status

In Albuquerque, one local eatery has emerged as a top dog in a national ranking of the best franks in the USA.

Dog House Drive-In, which was featured prominently on several episodes of TV’s “Breaking Bad,” has been named the restaurant in New Mexico with the best hot dog by the website People.com.

People.com said it partnered with the editors of Food & Wine to find the best hot dogs in every state and the District of Columbia. Here’s what the website had to say about Dog House, which is located at 1216 Central SW:

“This no-frills spot on Route 66 serves footlong chili dogs (served with red or green chiles), tater tots and a killer Frito pie.”

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Maricela Trujillo works on a hot dog at the Dog House in Downtown Albuquerque. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)

Jimmie Hartley, who has owned the Dog House for 50 of its 70 years in business, said he wasn’t too surprised to hear about the restaurant’s top ranking. While he’s in the dark about the methodology used to qualify it as the best, he believes that the editors may have dug through thousands of user ratings or articles touting its signature food item. “We’re also on the ‘Breaking Bad’ tour,” he said, adding about 10-15 people a day are outside the building taking pictures of the landmark structure, which has a giant neon dachshund sign perched atop the tiny eatery.

As visitors snap away, the crew sells about 500 of the footlong creations on an average day at the old-school sit-down or take-out spot. Hartley, who is 82 and retired, splashes down once a week for his own splurge and to check up on things.

He said the chili, which is made in a multi-step process several times a day, is what makes the dog tasty. “The recipe (a secret) hasn’t changed for 70 years,” he said. Dog House nestles its wieners — which are split in two and grilled — into specially made buns that have an almost Hoagie-like consistency, said Hartley. Then the chili is slathered on, and topped with onions and cheese.

From Memorial Day to Labor Day, 7 billion hot dogs of the 9 billion sold annually are consumed in the U.S., according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council.

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