Hot!Charlie's Pool Room

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Applecheeks
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2009/08/10 11:55:32 (permalink)

Charlie's Pool Room

I am on my own personal hot dog tour. So I had to go to Charlie's Pool Room in Alpha, NJ. The place should be renamed Charlie's Heavenly Hot Dogs, because that is what they are - heavenly. I had heard so much about the place that I had to take the 50 mile drive from Newark to see for myself. We walked in and Joe, at the register looked at me and said "I don't believe you've been here before" He was right. He seems to know every single person who has walked through his door in the last 40 years. We introduced ourselves and what seems like will be an everlasting friendship began. Joe took our order and wrote it down on a tiny slip of paper, which he promptly gave to his brother John in the kitchen. He invited us to sit as though he was inviting us in to his home to have dinner. (By the way, the table that seats only 5 people is in the back room next to the pool table) As we waited, he showed us countless articles that were written up on Charlie's Pool Room. We chatted about Baseball and Hot Dogs and other topics. Waiting 20 minutes for the hot dogs is not a difficult thing to do. Spending time talking to Joe is one of the most pleasant experiences you will have. And oh, when those hot dogs come, they are pipping hot and ABSOLUTELY the best hot dog you will ever have. Grandma Fencz famous secret sauce is unlike anything you have ever tasted. The dogs were so good that I had to take 5 to go (or on a leash, as Joe would say) because I knew we would want more the next day. I was right.   The dogs were carefully wrapped in butcher paper, with the pickles in such a way that the juice wouldn't leak into the hot dog roll.  The dogs were placed in a brown paper bag, with the flap carefully folded and secured with a piece of masking tape.  People just don't take the time to do these things so meticulously these days. 
How often do you find someone who really enjoys the work they do.  In this case, it is a true labor of love.  An old world work ethic and and a true enjoyment of meeting the people that stop by to pay a visit.
After we finished our dogs, brother John came out of the kitchen to say hello. Another very nice man who was equally as friendly as Joe. All the way home I tried to determine if the hot dogs were really that great or did we love them because Joe and John were so nice and provided such a wonderfully warm experience. I have to say that it is a major part of both. Do yourself a favor and visit Charlie's Pool Room. Look it up on the internet and when you go be sure to have a GPS. The place is not easy to find. Treasures like these are not here forever. Get there while you still have the opportunity.
#1

149 Replies Related Threads

    buffetbuster
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    Re:Charlie's Pool Room 2009/08/10 13:14:37 (permalink)
    Applecheeks-
    Welcome to Roadfood!  And thanks for the nice report on Charlie's Pool Room.  You captured the CPR experience very well.  Oh, how I wish I lived closer so I could get mealies more than just once or twice a year!
    #2
    Applecheeks
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    Re:Charlie's Pool Room 2009/08/10 15:28:33 (permalink)
    Joe spoke of you, John Fox and Holly Moore.  He thanks the Internet for the business (and new friends) it has brought his way.
    #3
    John Sagi
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    Re:Charlie's Pool Room 2009/08/10 16:25:05 (permalink)
    Applecheeks
     
    You nailed it.
     
    While driving home, I was asking the same questions. There is no doubt about it in my opinion, CPR was the greatest experience in my 55 years of Hot Dogging.
     
    I hope you got to sign their guest book so you can go down in history.   
     
    I took home some of their grandma's onion sauce to see if I could come close to matching it. After a while I concluded there was no way and should enjoy it when I
    re-visit.
     
    I believe the Mealie with all its ingredients is as close to the perfect complete hot dog I've ever eaten.
     
    What I found amazing is if you were to take a picture of two Mealies on a white plate with two pickles and compare it to others pictures of Mealies from CPR, they are identical, except for the position of the pickle.
     

     
    A true experience.
     
    post edited by John Sagi - 2009/08/10 16:30:52
    #4
    John Fox
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    Re:Charlie's Pool Room 2009/08/10 20:08:43 (permalink)
    I'll speak to Joe. Maybe we can organize a small trip there in the Fall.
    #5
    joerogo
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    Re:Charlie's Pool Room 2009/08/10 20:15:17 (permalink)
    John Fox

    I'll speak to Joe. Maybe we can organize a small trip there in the Fall.

     
    Count me in!

    #6
    John Fox
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    Re:Charlie's Pool Room 2009/08/10 20:54:12 (permalink)
    Applecheeks,

    Welcome. And glad to see you're still around and posting. I knew you as "Down Neck Betty". Was wondering where you went when I didn't see your posts on the Munchmobile Forum anymore. I'm glad that Charlie's was worth the drive for you.
    #7
    ken8038
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    Re:Charlie's Pool Room 2009/08/10 21:26:20 (permalink)
    <<I took home some of their grandma's onion sauce to see if I could come close to matching it. >>

    Interesting. I've been to Charlie's 3 times and I never knew that the sauce was available to go. I never thought to ask. Next time. It would be great to have some for home use.

    If you guys are going in the fall, please keep me posted. I can't make the 9/26 tour this year but I'd be up for a trip to Charlie's.
    #8
    Buffalo Tarheel
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    Re:Charlie's Pool Room 2009/08/10 21:36:17 (permalink)
    Applecheeks 

    He thanks the Internet for the business (and new friends) it has brought his way.


    I've never had the privilege of visiting this restaurant but would definitely stop to eat when in the area (which does not seem to be in the near future, unfortunately).  It's great that web sites such as this one alert people to the outstanding places such as Charlie's Pool Room, but clearly it is the outstanding food and the personal touch from Joe and John that keep people coming.   Having never been there, I can tell from reports such as this one and those of other posters that it would be a visit to enjoy and take time for, not to rush in, eat, and run out again.  Many other restaurants would do well to emulate these gentlemen.
     
    Thanks for the report and welcom to Roadfood.
    #9
    John Sagi
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    Re:Charlie's Pool Room 2009/08/11 02:59:14 (permalink)
    I'm in for the Charlies Pool Room trip.

    This evening I tried Grandma's onion sauce from CPR on a fresh chuck ground  hamberger, medium rare.
     
    Very tasty

    #10
    douginvirginia
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    Re:Charlie's Pool Room 2009/08/11 06:46:52 (permalink)
    My wife and I made our first visit to CPR a few weeks back on our way to Maine. It was everything I had hoped it would be. Applecheeks captured the experience perfectly. As I reflect on our visit, it's as though it was filmed in black and white - wonderful.
    #11
    buffetbuster
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    Re:Charlie's Pool Room 2009/08/11 07:59:03 (permalink)
    There sure are a lot of CPR fans out there!  I told Joe Fencz on my last visit that after all these years, they are now an overnight sensation.

    Please keep me informed on when this get together will take place, because I would love to attend.
    #12
    Riverkeeper
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    Re:Charlie's Pool Room 2009/08/11 15:37:44 (permalink)
    I made my first visit there last Tuesday, and will return tomorrow with a friend.  I have a review of the visit, as well as another NJ hot dog place here:

    http://huntergatherermaker.blogspot.com/
    #13
    joerogo
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    Re:Charlie's Pool Room 2009/08/11 16:30:48 (permalink)
    John Sagi

    I'm in for the Charlies Pool Room trip.

    This evening I tried Grandma's onion sauce from CPR on a fresh chuck ground  hamberger, medium rare.
     
    Very tasty


    John you sly dog.  I never thought of asking for sauce to go either.  Thanks for the tip buddy.
     
     
    #14
    Benzee
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    Re:Charlie's Pool Room 2009/08/11 17:03:00 (permalink)
    Hello all ,

    Welcome to roadfood and you are correct in your views , the best dog and atmosphere ever!!
    Another trip to  Charlies will be needed very soon

    Benzee
    #15
    ConeyIslandLou
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    Re:Charlie's Pool Room 2009/08/11 20:08:28 (permalink)
    Amen, Benzee, Amen.....
    #16
    buffetbuster
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    Re:Charlie's Pool Room 2009/08/12 08:18:21 (permalink)
    Riverkeeper-
    Welcome to Roadfood and thanks for the link to your really nice write up of CPR!
    #17
    Applecheeks
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    Re:Charlie's Pool Room 2009/08/12 11:58:00 (permalink)
    Yes, I am Down Neck Betty!  After my husband passed away 5 years ago, I moved to Kearny and changed my name to Applecheeks.  Because of some health problems, I haven't been able to eat the same way I did before.  I can't give up Hot Dogs, they are my favorite thing.
    Hope to actually meet you in person sometime in the near future.
    #18
    John Fox
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    Re:Charlie's Pool Room 2009/08/12 12:09:16 (permalink)
    Glad you joined Roadfood and started posted again on the Munchmobile Forum. I've missed you and look forward to meeting you as well. Maybe at Charlies. If not, perhaps at a small get together. There are plenty of fine hot dog eateries in our area.
    #19
    Benzee
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    Re:Charlie's Pool Room 2009/08/13 20:23:52 (permalink)
    John ,

    Another mini meet for Charlies sounds like a plan .
    It is a must do for anyone in the Northeast

    Benzee
    #20
    Holly Moore
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    Re:Charlie's Pool Room 2009/08/15 20:00:45 (permalink)
    Spent the afternoon eating a few dogs at Charlie's Pool Room.  As good as last time.  Only thing changed - 2 cent candy now goes for 3 cents.

    There are a lot of great dogs out there.  But when you combine the Mealies, the welcoming spirit, Grandmother Fencz's onion sauce, and the conversation, Charlies Pool Room just may be my favorite hot dog destination.
    #21
    Applecheeks
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    Re:Charlie's Pool Room 2009/08/16 17:31:02 (permalink)
    Holly, Joe told me when I visited last week that he was waiting for you to come back.  I'm glad you made it back there.  I'm only disaappointed that you didn't show up when I was there.  You are my idol.  I only wish I could be like you and go  all over the country visiting these wonderful food places.
    #22
    billyboy
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    Re:Charlie's Pool Room 2009/08/18 22:33:10 (permalink)
    If you folks plan a mini meet, please let me know as I found out there is a NJ Transit train stop about a 30 minute walk from Charlie's Pool Room!
    #23
    buffetbuster
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    Re:Charlie's Pool Room 2009/08/19 07:51:39 (permalink)
    billyboy-
    Assuming I can attend, I would be happy to give you a ride.  You have to save some of that energy for hot dog eatin'!
    #24
    PAUL4FOOD
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    Re:Charlie's Pool Room 2009/08/20 16:09:50 (permalink)
    Buffetbuster & joe. Can I come too. i am willing to drive. So if anyone needs a ride.;)
    All these great threads & pics of CPR is too much!!!
    #25
    PAUL4FOOD
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    Re:Charlie's Pool Room 2009/08/20 16:11:04 (permalink)
    I'm gonna e-mail DD&D to get them to do a show on CPR!!!!

    #26
    Benzee
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    Re:Charlie's Pool Room 2009/08/20 19:34:27 (permalink)
    Hello all ,

    Our last mini meet at Charlies was a dual event as we surprised Seafarer John for his 80th Birthday .
    I believe John and Joe opened up  just for us for the day , still one of my favorite dining / roadfood experiences of all time .
    I'm up for another meet anytime .

    Benzee
    #27
    Holly Moore
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    Re:Charlie's Pool Room 2009/08/20 20:39:52 (permalink)
    Joe is hoping the mini-meet will happen again this year.  The brothers agree it should be on a Monday, the day they are usually closed.  They're ready for the meet.  Even have a welcoming sign on the front door.




    #28
    Bossa Nova
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    Re:Charlie's Pool Room 2009/08/20 20:49:07 (permalink)
    Something tells me this meet won't be very "mini"
     
    Count me in, too
    #29
    John Fox
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    Re:Charlie's Pool Room 2009/08/21 11:05:25 (permalink)
    I'll talk to Joe soon. We'll get it done.
    #30
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