Helmbold’s Small Franks are being served by landmark hot dog joints since 1913 and have helped make the little dog a homegrown food staple in New York’s Capital Region.

Fritz Helmbold opened his German meat market on 4th Street in bustling downtown Troy, New York in 1913. The industrious city of Troy was one of America’s most prosperous cities—supplying iron and steel, and later collars and cuffs—to the emerging modern nation. The hard-working residents enjoyed their regular shopping stops at the local markets. Helmbold’s was a popular neighborhood destination where customers found friendly butchers in starched white aprons, red bowties and straw boat hats. The aroma of smoked franks and bologna filled the shop. Gleaming display cases showcased pink pork chops, thick slab bacon, sweet sausages and German potato salad.

Day after day, Helmbold’s customers grew to rely on one thing: the best hot dog they’ve ever eaten. The Helmbold’s original recipe frankfurter is a blend of pork and beef with authentic European flavor and spice. A natural casing gives the frank its signature snappy bite. But the most beloved offering by far was Fritz’s special little links. These 4-inch miniature versions of his classic franks were fitted into special bakery buns and consumed by the plateful. Establishments that featured the sensational little franks soon prospered throughout the region. It’s been noted that by the 1920’s, the Hudson Valley in Upstate New York had become “a hotbed of hot dogs.”

Helmbold’s Small Franks can be purchased directly online or at Price Chopper or Hannaford.

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