Wiener World, Pittsburgh, PA
Locals and those ever popular and growing Food Network shows swear that the place for Dogs in Pittsburgh is the cult favorite “The Original Hot Dog Shop” on Forbes Avenue, and while I love the fact that the The Original is open 24 hours and serves seven-inch dogs, it’s hard not to rank Wiener World as the top joint in Pittsburgh after spending the last six months evaluating most of the Pittsburgh joints.
Wiener World, located at 626 Smithfield Street, is smack dab in the middle of the business end of Pittsburgh just steps away from the US Steel Building and the Convention Center and how can you ignore those giant neon letters (always reminds me of the Seinfeld episode with Kenny Rogers Roasters sign.)
Wiener World has a selection of all-beef hot dogs, Kielbasa, and my favorite, the natural casing wiener. They sit up on the grill and crust up for the extra snap that sets the natural casing dogs apart from the regular all-beef dogs. The place is a little messy, but for some strange reason that adds to the city atmosphere of a good joint. Their focus isn’t on cleaning up a napkin dropped by some patron, they’re focused on serving dogs and telling bullshit stories in between or complaining about Pirates or Steelers. That said, I still love the place and it’s close to my top 3 hot dog joints at the moment, possibly the #1. I’m not one to venture to far out of my comfort zone, so every dog I have had here has been ordered the same way: mustard, onions, and sauce… completed with a side of gravy fries. I didn’t realize how much I missed gravy fries living in Ohio until I found them on the Wiener World menu. It almost looked like a beam of light streaming in from the side window guiding me to “GRAVY FRIES” on the menu board. It’s the icing on the top that makes this close to my daily lunch.
Close up of the goodness. Note how the natural casing has a nice split in the middle from being on that flat top for some time. One visit they pushed one aside on the flat top assuming I wanted a more fresh one… I stopped them with a hell no, don’t throw that out, give me that older crusty one.
Grumpy at the register checking to see how much loot he’s pulled in today. The overall grumpiness of the staff is actually a little entertaining, especially if someone pulls out a credit card to pay (cash only here) and they direct you over to the ATM inside the place with a nice $3.00 surcharge. Come prepared; bring cash.
There counter isn’t big, but it works, complete with a mirror to see if anyone is sneaking up behind you.
I love this place and having eaten many dogs from both Wiener World and The Original, Wiener World is by far the best dog joint in Pittsburgh. Sorry Food Network, sorry locals, it isn’t The Original or Franctuary, it’s Wiener World.