Jim Hillibish: Frankfurter sales are on a roll

Jim Hillibish

It’s a billion-dollar industry on a bun.

Hot dogs continue as one of our favorite sandwiches since 1880, but 2012 saw a trend building: specialization.

A number of eateries and food carts advertise regional favorites such as “Philadelphia dogs” (cheese, chili sauce and chopped scallions) and “Chicago dogs” (steamed, on a poppy-seed bun with chopped tomatoes, onions and peppers -- no ketchup, ever).

Bad economic times are credited for boosting hot-dog sales as cash-strapped Americans seek cheap protein.

The all-time, top hot dog eaters? Teenage boys. The top group of eaters are the U.S. military. The top city for dogs eaten is Los Angeles, but New York City is top for value of franks sold in groceries.