A Review of The Ruben Dog at Mel’s Hot Dogs in Tampa

When I heard there was an establishment in Tampa that served Vienna Beef this Chicago native dropped everything and headed straight over to Mel’s Hot Dogs. Nothing beats a Chicago style hot dog made with a Vienna Beef wiener is what I originally thought going into the restaurant. Upon checking over the menu at Mel’s everything spoke to me. There were Fire Dogs, Cheese Dogs, Slaw Dogs, so many yummy sounding ones to choose from what does a wiener enthusiast do? Since I’ve only had Vienna Beef hot dogs Chicago Style I decided to switch it up and go with something different. I ordered a Ruben Dog! A steamed hot dog topped with thousand island dressing, sauerkraut, and melted Swiss cheese.

A Chicago native Mel Lohn is the owner of Mel’s Hot Dogs. The restaurant has a 40 plus year history in Tampa. Read more about the history of Mel’s here.

Sizing Up Mel's Hot Dogs Ruben Wiener
  • Presentation
  • 1st Bite Reaction
  • Flavor of Hot Dog (minus bun, toppings, & condiments)
  • Texture of Hot Dog
  • Girth of Wiener
  • Overall Flavor of Hot Dog Including Bun, Toppings, & or Condiments
  • Freshness & Flavor of Bun
  • Value


A steamed hot dog topped with thousand island dressing, warm sauerkraut (which I very much appreciated, cold sauerkraut on a frank meh), and melted Swiss cheese piled on to a fresh poppy seed bun. I must admit Thousand island dressing on a hot dog sounded gross but it was actually quite delicious. I am also not a fan of Swiss cheese but combined with the dressing, sauerkraut and saltiness of the wiener it worked. I got the basket which included fries and cole slaw (no drink) for $6.74. Glad I went outside my comfort zone and went with the Ruben dog. Can’t wait to try all the other hot dogs at Mel’s.

Mel’s Hot Dogs

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