Hot Dog Bar

This summer I’ve been hooked on Hot Dog Bars.  I think it’s a great idea for summer barbecues, birthday parties, and other informal events; after all who doesn’t love hot dogs!

We set up a hot dog bar for my grandson Jett’s second birthday party we hosted at our neighborhood park.  So easy and everyone loved it.

We’ll be setting up a gourmet hot dog and burger bar at my twin grand children’s first birthday party coming up in a couple of weeks, stayed tuned for that post!

You can set up a hot dog bar indoors and out.
Now that summer’s almost gone you might consider setting up a hot dog bar for your Labor Day weekend outdoors, it may be your last chance for outdoor entertaining until next year.

Here are some tips and ideas to set up your own hot dog bar.

Hot Dog Bar

You can grill your hot dogs and serve them fresh off the grill or keep  them warm in a crock pot.  Or you can cook the dogs in the crock pot and serve them from there as well.

This is a great idea when you’re setting up your bar at an outdoor venue like a park.

Hot Dog Bar

No matter where you set up your bar a crockpot keeps things neat and easy to transport.  If you’re transporting it you will want to pour out some of the water to keep it from spilling.  If there’s a near by outlet you can plug in the pot, otherwise just keep it covered, dogs should stay warm thru the meal.

Hot Dog Bar

Hot Dog Bars are all about the toppings.  Have a variety of toppings available.  Aside from the usual ketchup, mustard, and relish we had saurkraut, shredded cheese, fresh chopped onions and tomatoes, bacon bits, and jalapenos.  But you can add whatever you like to put on your hot dogs.

Be sure you have all the condiments handy for guests to help themselves. I prefer to keep liquid condiments in their bottles for outdoor parties, it makes it easier to transport.

I like to place buns in a basket or bowl, it looks nicer.  Place a napkin or kitchen towel in the bowl and cover buns with left over material.

Hot Dog Bar

For condiments such as relish, onions, etc.  I like to put them in little covered ramekins.  It keeps them neat and fresh; I don’t like the idea of having guests scoop them out from jars or bags.  I have a personal preference for using “real” serving pieces and rarely allow plastic containers, I just think it looks nicer.  But for outdoor events, specially if there will be lots of kids or the party is at the pool then cute plastic bowls from Walmart or dollar store work fine.   Little containers are easy enough to refill when needed.  It also reduces wasted condiments, you won’t have to toss the whole jar when the party is done if guests haven’t been scooping out from the jar, just toss what’s left over in the containers and save the jars for later use.  (I put the saukraut and pickles shown above in bowls before the party started, the picture was taken during set up.  I’m glad I did because not many guests used the saurkraut and I was able to take home the saurkraut left in the jar)

Hot Dog Bar

I’m sure you won’t be serving just hot dogs so set out bowls of “sides”.  Since it was a Thomas the Train themed party we set out a “train” of chips, pretzels, and cheese puffs and a bowl of macaroni salad for adults.

As an added topping we also had a pot of homemade chili for anyone wanting to make a chili dog.

Have plates, napkins, and utensils handy for guests to use.  I like to place cutlery in Mason Jars, keeps them neat and easy to transport.  A pretty table cloth is a must for all party bars, unless your table is gorgeous and you don’t mind getting it dirty.  You can get one to match your color scheme or theme!

Hot Dog Bar

A nice touch to a hot dog bar are these “suggestion” cards.  Printed on them are ideas for creating a gourmet hot dog.  For this party we kept to the theme and made train names for the hot dogs using the characters from Thomas and Friends.

Hot Dog Bar
One Charming Party

This is another cute idea from One Charming Party, “how to” cards.

Hot Dog Bar
Big Dot of Happiness

You can print this free printable sign from Big Dot of Happiness for your hot dog bar they look like chalkboard signs, and I love chalkboard signs!

Click here for the link to the printable!

Hot Dog Bar
Mad Woman’s To Do List

Menu cards for each condiment is another nice touch like the ones in this picture from Mad Woman’s To Do List.

Here are the basic things you will need to set up your hot dog bar, feel free to add your own favorites.

Hot Dogs – grilled or boiled
Serving dish or pot for hot dogs


Spicy Mustard
Shredded Cheese
Spoons and tongs

(optional toppings)
Bacon Bits
Barbecue Sauce


Macaroni or Potato Salad
Tossed Salad
French Fries


Menu cards for each condiment
Recipe or How To cards
Table Cloth

To see other ideas for Jett’s Thomas the Train Party click here!