Ted’s began as a horse-drawn hot dog cart in Buffalo in the 1920s. It became a permanently-anchored hot dog stand under the Peace Bridge in 1927; and opened as a bigger store on Sheridan Drive in 1948. There are now eight Ted’s in Western New York, and one in Tempe, Arizona. We’ve never been disappointed at any of them.
Natural-casing Sahlen’s brand franks, available regular length or foot-long, are cooked on a grate over charcoal that infuses each one with pungent smoke flavor and makes the skin crackling-crisp. As they cook, the chef pokes them with a fork, slaps them squeezes them, and otherwise abuses them, thus puncturing the skin and allowing them to suck in maximum smoky taste.
In consultation with a person behind the counter known as “the dresser,” you decide how you want to garnish your tube steak. The stand-out condiment is Ted’s hot sauce, a peppery concoction laced with bits of relish. You also want onion rings, sold as tangled webs of crisp fried batter and limp onion. Better yet: half & half, which is onion rings and French fries. To accompany a foot-long and O-rings, the beverage of choice in these parts is loganberry juice, which is a kind of grand cru Kool-Aid.