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Hot Dog Lovers Go to Heaven at These SC Eateries

Libby Wiersema Libby Wiersema
Libby Wiersema lived in California and Alabama before settling in South Carolina 38 years ago, where she's covered the state's best culinary offerings and tells the stories behind the food.
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Customers order hot dogs at Jack's Cosmic Dogs
The fans of Jack's Cosmic Dogs come from near and far to enjoy the hot dogs and fresh cut french fries.

Chili, mustard, onions and a slick of hot sauce—for lots of South Carolinians, these are the musts of a proper hot dog. Slaw, kraut and pickle relish aficionados are also well-represented. And there’s nothing wrong with just a stripe of ketchup, though this is largely the preference of the kiddie crowd.

Of course, a flavorful wiener and fresh, warm bun are givens. While places above the Mason-Dixon Line are well known for their interpretations, there’s no shortage of hot dog love among Southerners.

From back road gas stations to dedicated hot dog joints, the Palmetto State is a hotbed of hot-doggery. Here are 20 suggestions—some off the beaten path—where you can experience a little hot dog heaven.


Hot dogs and taco
Love tacos and hot dogs? Get them both at Taco Dog.
  • Enjoy hot dogs generously topped with thick chili at Holmes Hot Dogs in Spartanburg, a little cafe with a vintage feel.
  • Southeast meets Southwest at this humming Spartanburg strip mall eatery called Taco Dog. Yes, tacos and hot dogs coexist amiably here and get equal top-dog treatment. While it makes for a great mealtime compromise when eating out as a family, it’s also a sweet option for fans of both.
  • When you walk into Hot Dog Cafe in Lyman, the first thing you’ll notice in the vintage cafe is the line of folks sitting along the bar noshing on chili dogs. That’s the only sign you need. You know what to do.
  • For more than 30 years, Red Hill Hot Dogs has supplied the hot dog-loving community of Lyman. Dogs are served fast, fresh and hot, ensuring this operation’s longevity.
  • A humble shop, O’Neal Hot Dog Shop  in Greer is a mainstay at a rural Upstate crossroads, where some customers have been ordering up dogs with freshly made chili since they were toddlers.
  • Nationally recognized Skins has crafted a recipe for hot dog success using simple, but proven principles: tasty wieners, fresh ingredients and friendly service. It has worked beautifully for this Upstate institution since 1946. Check their website for locations in Greenville, Anderson, Clemson and Seneca.


sausage dog and chips with beer
A grilled, grass-fed beef frank topped with peppers and onions makes this polish dog tops at Hoof and Hound in Hartsville.
  • Get a bit of local culinary history with a dog topped with chili made from a 50-year-old recipe at City Billiards in Aiken.
  • All the way (mustard, ketchup, chili, homemade slaw and onions) is the preferred way to go at Ebenezer Grill, Rock Hill institution featuring award-winning dogs.
  • This dedicated dog joint, Hot Dog Depot in Rock Hill, offers a long list of options, including the Homewrecker, a 1-pound footlong served all the way and cut in half for sharing.
  • Ultra-discerning hot dog fans can indulge their craving at Hoof and Hound in Hartsville, a bustling pub serving Fripper's famous handcrafted, all-beef links. Get them Chicago style or go classic Southern with chili, mustard and onions. Goes great with a cold craft beer.
  • It seems as if Ruth’s Drive-in in Hartsville has always been here, serving up satisfying chili dogs in its old-school, cozy cafe. Go ahead and drive through if you want, but dining inside with the locals will enhance your hot dog pleasure.
  • This back road gem, Tommy’s Self Service in Lydia, definitely is a throwback to hot dog days of old. Hot dogs, ribs, deli salads, bottled sodas and homemade cakes are the only fuel you’ll find at this former gas station in the Pee Dee. And judging by the constant traffic of customers, it’s a formula that’s working just fine. Sit at the counter and enjoy nostalgic noshing as you chow down on hot dogs with house-made chili.


Slaw dog with onions
Just like Fenway Park, Kayem franks are dressed and served up on a split-top bun.
  • North meets South at Fenway Grille  in North Myrtle Beach, a hopping hot dog shack, where you can experience authentic Fenway Park wieners.
  • An award-winning operation, Jack’s Cosmic Dogs in Mount Pleasant has garnered national attention for its dogs, considered by legions of fans to be out of this world. The Cosmic Dog, with blue cheese slaw and house-made sweet potato mustard, is particularly toothsome.
  • Belly up to the window at Johnny’s Hot Dogs in Mount Pleasantand order a Boars Head hot dog. Imaginative requests are encouraged here as evidenced by the massive variety of toppings: ranch dressing, steak sauce, chow chow and crumbled potato chips, among them.
  • The jukebox has been firing up at iconic Sam’s Corner in Myrtle Beach since 1976. This beloved beach spot is home to Sam’s “World Famous Dogs." When all that sun and sand awakens your hunger, there’s nothing like a good ol' Sam’s footlong and a cold beverage to fuel the rest of your beach day. Look for other locations along the Grand Strand.
Libby Wiersema
Libby Wiersema lived in California and Alabama before settling in South Carolina 38 years ago, where she's covered the state's best culinary offerings and tells the stories behind the food.