The Original Hot Dog Shop Review – Visiting an Oakland Institution

Last Updated on May 14, 2020 by Jeremy

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The Original Hot Dog Shop closed in March 2020.

The Original Hot Dog Shop is an institution in Pittsburgh's Oakland neighborhood as it has been serving up hamburgers, hot dogs, and late-night weekend eats to hungry college students since 1960.

While hot dogs are never my go-to choice of food when eating out, at this one you know it is exactly what I had to get.

The Original Hot Dog Shop Offers a Loaded Plate

Hot Dog and Fries at The Original Hot Dog Shop

The hot dog orders at The Original Hot Dog Shop are about as straight forward as they come. You can get an Original Hot Dog, an Original Cheese Hot Dog, or, for those who want it all, a Super Dog which is an original with cheese and two slices of bacon.  Toss on fries and a drink and you're looking at an order running just about $10 including tax- a bit high for a hot dog and fries, although the size helps make up for it.

Within moments of ordering your dog will appear on the counter and you have a chance to add on just about any condiment you like from mustard to relish, chili to ketchup, and everything in between (I opted for chili). From there, the real treat happens- the fries appear.

In most cases, an appropriate amount of fries are loaded up into their tray and served on your plate.  At The Original Hot Dog Shop, however, they like to take a bigger tray, load it up with fries, and then dump it onto your smaller tray such that you are overflowing with fries no matter the size you order. As such, a small side is like a large everywhere else, and a large is, well, I can't fathom how many college students a large would feed at 1 am on a Saturday.

After getting my order I made my way up to the completely empty (and slightly dirty) second floor to dig into my meal.

The first bite into the hot dog had something I was not expecting- a bit of resistance from the thicker casing. This added a rather nice contrast to all the toppings and was something I can quite appreciate. Beyond this, I really enjoyed the flavor of the meat, but the chili did overshadow a lot of it and I would probably skip that next time to truly appreciate the hot dog more.

Hot Dog and Fries at The Original Hot Dog Shop

The fries offered a similar feeling when eating as they are on the larger side of things with a thick, crunchy exterior and a rather doughy interior. I'd almost go as far as saying that the fries are too large for my liking, as they were quite doughy, but with the portions I can also see why there is a bit of a die-hard following behind them.

At 1 am after a few beers, I'd be all about it. But on their own at 2 pm and completely sober, they were a bit lacking for my own tastes.

Overall, The Original Hot Dog Shop is a popular late-night spot in Oakland and we can certainly see why. I'm not sure I'll crave their hot dogs regularly, but if I am ever in Oakland after a Friday or Saturday night of drinking and need a bite to eat, The O is the place you'll be able to find me. 

The Original Hot Dog Shop was located at 3901 Forbes Avenue in Pittsburgh's Oakland neighborhood and closed in March 2020.

Looking for more Pittsburgh institutions? Check out Primanti Brothers or Pamela's!

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