There are hot dog joints across Maine that have devoted, fierce followings but in the Bangor area, there are several places to get a really good hot dog, red or otherwise. Credit: BDN illustration by Eric Zelz | File

Let us now praise the lowly hot dog: the beloved, yet maligned meat product. Humble tube steak, nestled in fluffy bun, enrobed in condiments — why do you inspire such mockery, when you are such a quintessentially American food?

There’s no need to feel guilty about enjoying a dog. Especially a red snapper, the red hot dog New England is famous for.

There are hot dog joints across Maine that have devoted, fierce followings, like Wasses on the midcoast, or Simone’s in Lewiston, but in the Bangor area, there are several places to get a really good hot dog, red or otherwise. Here’s our list of the best places. Enjoy your dog with pride, we say.

The Family Dog
6 Mill St., Orono

With a name like ‘The Family Dog,’ if this place didn’t serve hot dogs it would definitely be weird and confusing. They do, of course, and lots of them: eight varieties of classic hot dogs ($4.50 each), and another 10 varieties of signature dogs (a larger dog at $8.55). Specialties include the West Virginia Dog (mustard, chili, coleslaw and chopped onions), the Griffon (caramelized onion, bacon and bleu cheese) and the Akita (grilled pineapple and spicy Thai slaw).

98 Wake n’ Shake
98 Central St., Bangor

The nice folks at this cozy little Bangor cafe offer one of the sleeper hits of downtown: an array of hot dogs on its lunch menu, all priced between $3 and $4 a piece. 98 Wake n’ Shake serves Nathan’s hot dogs, and doesn’t mess around with anything but the classics. Chili dogs (made with homemade chili), chili cheese dogs and Coney dogs (mustard, onion and chili).

The Grind House
1 Central St., Bangor

The Grind House may only have three different hot dogs on the menu, but they make them count. There’s a classic Chicago dog (mustard, relish, dill pickle, sport peppers and celery salt on a poppy seed bun), the pastrami dog (pastrami, thousand island dressing and slaw), and the T.J. Perro (bacon, guacamole, spicy aioli and salsa fresca). $5 each.

Jimmie’s Ice Cream and Grill
409 North Main St., Brewer

Jimmie’s in Brewer is the kind of place the locals treasure: no-nonsense food for the whole family. A warm-weather destination for folks of all ages, the ice cream and the fried seafood are the big hits, but really, you can’t go wrong with a classic grilled hot dog with fries. Best of all: Jimmie’s serves red snappers, the classic Maine red hot dog.

Hero’s
4 Washington St., Bangor

You’d think more places that serve hot dogs in Maine would serve red snappers, but only Jimmie’s and Hero’s have them on the menu in the Bangor area. At Hero’s, you can get two grilled hot dogs, with any topping you’d like, served with fries. We don’t know this to be a fact, but we bet if you asked nicely they’d put some of their famous mac and cheese on top of your dog.

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Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native and proud Bangorian, covering business, the arts, restaurants and the culture and history of the Bangor region.