Tryggvagata, 101 D4
The Grapevine has a soft spot for Bæjarins Beztu. The famous hot dog stand is conveniently parked right outside our offices and for the small sum of 500 ISK it’s difficult to find a better hot dog and a coke.
Originally, when the stand opened 75 years ago, hot dogs were served without buns and you could get a sip of milk instead of the soda, Magnea Steiney Þórðardóttir tells me. The nineteen-year-old is fourth generation to work at the stand since her great grandpa opened it in 1937.
She’s been working four years, but her “training” began at a far earlier age. “Every Wednesday when my little sister and I were young, my grandma would pick us up from school and we would go straight away to get a hot dog. So when I was young I’d have a hot dog at least once a week,” she tells me.
“Whenever we spent the night at grandma and grandpa’s, my grandma would tuck us in and say the prayers and then she would add, ‘And remember, when you start working at the stand, always put the hot dogs in the water to keep them warm.’ And that’s when we were really, really young—maybe six years old.”
After years of working there and being inundated with the smell of hot dogs, she can’t stomach even just one more, but there must be something special about them because they fly out the window in incalculable numbers. “It’s a nice location and I think the hot dogs must be good as people come again and again,” she says. As far as what makes them better than other hot dogs, she’s not ready to give me any hints. “It’s a family secret,” she’s quick to say.
Now don’t be misguided by the framed picture of Bill Clinton or the cartoon featuring him eating a hot dog, ordering “A Clinton” is not especially recommended for you will receive a boring hot dog with nothing on it except for sinnep.
The proper way to order is to ask for “Eina með öllu” or “one with everything,” which will get you a toasty bun filled with steiktur laukur (crispy fried onion), freshly diced onion, ketchup, sinnep (Icelandic mustard), remúlaði (remoulade sauce), and naturally the Icelandic hot dog itself.