Jack O’Flanagan, owner of Hot Dog Heaven in Amherst, admits that barely a day goes by when he doesn’t grab a hot dog to eat right off the line. O’Flanagan opened the dining attraction in June 1976 after chowing down at the Hot Dog Shoppe in Warren. He’s been celebrating one of America’s favorite foods ever since. He shares how to build a great dog: 

The Basics
It all comes down to personal preference. Start with beef or pork. Extra-hungry? Go for a quarter-pounder. Feeling like something a little different? There’s always kielbasa.

The Veggies
They may not qualify as a solid, mom-approved side dish, but onion, cole slaw and sauerkraut definitely add flavor. Or choose a dog with “the works,” topped with lettuce, tomatoes and jalapenos.

Pile on the Chili
O’Flanagan makes his chili and chili sauce from scratch. Not to be confused with the coarse-ground beef, pinto bean and green pepper chili, O’Flanagan’s chili sauce is made from 18 pounds of beef, finely ground with his “special technique.” He produces 100 pounds of chili sauce every three to four days. Half an ounce is piled on every chili hot dog.

Get Creative
Chili, cheese, onion and chili sauce may rank No. 1 here, but with 23 toppings and 6,000 combination options, there are many ways to reach hot dog heaven. Fan favorites include chili and onion; chili, onion and cole slaw; chili, cheese and bacon; and chili, cheese, bacon and sauerkraut.