East Village, NYC
I mean, I adore this place, it's in my top 3. According to legend (and the owner Chris) the name Crif is actually how you say the owner's name with your mouth full of hot dog.
I have so many special memories of Crif. Before Shake Shack, it was my go-to place when I needed a good hot dog. It was my go-to place when I used to drink my face off at Duke's on Ave C. In our wild poker game days at my buddy Paul's apartment, we ordered in Spicy Rednecks, Philly Tubesteaks and tator tots from Crif's after everyone smoked a ton of weed. For the record, I just liked when they blew it in my face...
My nephew Buster would only eat plain hot dogs until I took him here. Then he tried a dog with pineapple and cream cheese and he became a hot dog nut, too. He's headed to NYC this fall to go to the New School and I hope he eats here at least five times a week.
This place was experimenting with different flavors before everybody started doing that. They did morning dogs and southwestern dogs and teriyaki dogs first. One of my favorite dogs is the Jon Jon Deragon, which has bacon, green onion, cream cheese and is topped with everything bagel seeds. Yum.
Hot dogs: ****
Tator tots: ****
Root beer: You have to here