"Limiting the hot dog's significance by saying it's 'just a sandwich' is like calling the Dalai Lama 'just a guy,'" NHDSC President Janet Riley said. "Perhaps at one time its importance could be limited by forcing it into a larger sandwich category (no disrespect to Reubens and others), but that time has passed. We therefore choose to take a cue from a great performer and declare our namesake be a 'hot dog formerly known as a sandwich.'"
The council conceded the U.S. Department of Agriculture's regulations appear to classify the hot dog as a sandwich, due to its status as meat between bread, but it is unclear whether the hot dog would fall into classifications as a "closed" or "open" sandwich.
"While we thank the USDA for their careful regulation and inspection of our products, regulatory brevity is not their strength," Riley said. "We hope our position offers America some clarity and peace of mind. No matter how someone defines a hot dog, this much we can all agree on -- it is THE great American food, beloved by all."
"It's got bread," Rendell said. "Would you put a hoagie in the sandwich category? What I would think is the hot dog, the cheese steak, the hoagie, they're in the elite sandwich category...If you eat a hot dog without the bun, it's not a sandwich, obviously. But if you use the bun, I think that it's just a different type of sandwich, but it's still a sandwich. The bread to me would be the key."
Comedian Hannibal Buress also famously addressed the controversy.
"A hot dog is a sandwich if you really think about it. It's bread, it's meat, it's toppings. It's just a different approach to the sandwich. It's not a sandwich like, classically, but it's a sandwich in spirit and it has all of the things a sandwich would have," Buress said.