Hunting Hot Dogs: Sacramento and Roseville

“Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made.”

— Otto von Bismarck


Tale of the dog

I spent much of last week in Carmichael house-sitting, and I always take advantage of my time there to check out various restaurants that people might like to visit. When I told my friend Russ Salazar that I was going to be there, he said he had to be in Sacramento one day on business and that we should meet and try some of the hot dog places that we had been talking about.

Salazar showed up with an itinerary and his GPS and said, “We are going to visit three places: Wiener Works, Parkers Hot Dogs of Santa Cruz and Sonic. I figured if we split two dogs at each place we could do it.”

Wiener Works

Wiener Works is located at 5207 Madison Ave. For more than 20 years it has been in the same location. They take cash only, are a bit pricy, have no WiFi and, as someone commented, really haven’t given the place a thorough cleaning since they opened. On the plus side, the food is great, they steam their dogs in beer and, I’m told, they either make their own sausages or have them made for them.

They have lots of different sausages in different sizes, but we stayed small and ordered a chili dog ($5.95) and, something different, a red cabbage (cooked) and cheese dog ($6.40).

The dogs were delicious, all beef, solid and with a casing that snapped when bit, exactly what we were looking to find. The buns, chili and cabbage were good, but the cheese had very little flavor. I asked if they had any other cheeses other than shredded mild cheddar, and they said they didn’t.

They serve soda and beer, burgers up to a pound is size and great fresh-cut French fries (one-half pound is their “tiny” serving). They are open Monday to Wednesday from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m., Thursday to Saturday until 8 a.m. and on Sunday until 4 p.m. For more information call 916-334-8711.

Parker’s of Santa Cruz

Parker’s Hot Dogs of Santa Cruz is located in Roseville at 1604A Douglas Blvd. Their dogs are “old fashioned foot long 100 percent beef” and more reasonable that those at Wiener Works.

We ordered a “pick-me-up chili dog,” ($4.19) and a Ruben dog ($3.99). When we got the food, we commented to each other, “Who puts beans in the chili for a chili dog?”

The dogs were solid and good, the buns were good and the kraut on the Ruben dog was tasty and not so juicy that it soaked through. But, shouldn’t a Ruben dog have Russian or 1000 island dressing, not just kraut and cheese?
There are lots of good looking dogs on the menu, along with fries and onion rings. Soft drinks are available. The place is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, until 6 p.m. Call 916-786-2202 for more information.


Sonic — America’s Drive-In” is also in Roseville, 913 Pleasant Grove Blvd., and is a real drive-in, with carhops on roller skates (some of them). They also have some outside tables, which is where we chose to sit.

At the moment the specials are the wholly guacamole dog ($2.99) and the chili cheese Fritos Coney ($1.99). We ordered one of each, asked them to cut them in half and asked for water to drink (25 cents — but it was a big cup and came with ice, a cover and a straw). The dogs (and the napkins) are a bit skimpy, but what do you expect at those prices. Both the dogs were OK (the wholly guacamole dog was best), but more than a bit salty and soft. Overall they were worth the cost.

They have lots of other dogs, burgers, chicken, breakfast and more, and soda and speciality drinks like slushies. It is open from 6 a.m. until midnight. For more information call 916-771-4422.

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