Arbetter offers cheap, but good, food

Posted May 8, 2013


Living in Miami, we are lucky enough to be exposed to so many different cultures and types of foods.  But sometimes, finding an American restaurant besides major chains and fast-food restaurants is hard to do. Stumbling upon Arbetter Hot Dogs one fateful afternoon, I found that the American food I had been craving in between my plates of vaca frita and ropa vieja had been right down the street the whole time!

Arbetter Hot Dogs has been a landmark in Miami since 1959.  Located on the north side of Bird Road, this small yellow and red family business with signs advertising “ARBETTER’S HOT DOG- CHILI DOG- KRAUT DOG” is so jarringly American in such a predominantly Hispanic culture that it begs you to stop by for a dog.

The kitschy atmosphere inside adds to the charm of the place, also reminding you that it has been around for a while.  Old photographs and  signs such as “Free Boston Baked Beans the Day After the Red Sox Win the World Series” and “FREE REFILLS When You Say ‘I Love Larry Bird or Bob Cousy” line the walls of the inside.

The menu may seem limited, but Arbetter knows what they are good at and focus on it.  If you are hungry for a hot dog, look no further.  They offer toppings of chili, cheese, kraut, onion, and relish.  The chili, cheese and onion dog is one of the best dogs I’ve ever had, cooked perfectly and snaps when you take a bite.

Be careful, though, the food is always steaming hot since it’s freshly cooked.  Don’t burn your mouth even though you will be tempted to dive right in when you get your food. Their all meat (no beans) chili, made from a family recipe, is fresh and flavorful but not too overpowering.

Corn dogs more your style?  They have that too and they are on par with corndogs from the State Fair, made fresh when you order them.  The French fries are hot and even better with some chili and cheese put on top.

Arbetter has indoor and outdoor seating, but if it’s crowded, and it usually is, you might find yourself sitting at the counter watching them cook. Leftover Valentine’s Day decorations, school lunchroom style chairs, and the Coca-Cola clock that hangs near the register all scream after school hangout.  The menu board is old wood with bright yellow painted letters to keep in with the “mustard and ketchup” color scheme.

Classic rock tunes add to the atmosphere as you listen to Steve Miller and enjoy the meal you convince yourself is healthy because “Relish is kind of a vegetable, right?”.

Healthy or not, Arbetter is the best hot dog joint in town.  If you are craving a dog, fries, or just an escape from “Northern Cuba” look no further. Only 10 minutes away from the University of Miami, it is conveniently close and cheap.  Since the most expensive thing on the menu is the chili cheese fries, ringing up at $3.50,

Arbetter is a college kid’s dream: greasy food sold at low prices that make it very hard for you to spend more than $10. The only drawback is the cash only policy, but if you forgot, they conveniently have an ATM inside that you can use with a small surcharge. They are open seven days a week for lunch and dinner.

So, if you have a hankering for some good old fashioned American food or a local greasy, slightly rundown spoon, Arbetter is the place for you. Great food, great prices, and free refills as long as you pledge your love for Larry Bird.  And who doesn’t love that?

  • Cuisine(s): American, Hot Dogs
  • Hours: Sundays-Thursdays: 10:30am-8:30pm, Fridays-Saturdays 10:30 a.m.- 9 p.m.
  • Price: $
  • Payment Types: Cash
  • Attire: Casual
  • Features: Smoking, Patio/Sidewalk Dining, Takeout
  • Serving: Dinner, Lunch
  • Reservations: Not Accepted
  • Parking: Lot Available, Street
  • Rating: A