Hot!New Jersey Hot Dogs

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MrDimn
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2006/10/18 13:50:41 (permalink)
Hi there folks -

I am new to the board, and I wanted to join in the conversation.

I am originally from Bloomfield, NJ and lived off of JJs growing up and now I am living in San Diego and I was missing that taste of a good dog.

I was suprised to find out that JJs has gone down hill! It was a shot to the chest... or maybe it was that shot of adrenaline the Drs. gave me from eating too many hot dogs.

I would like to thank every one for getting a good discussion going on the topic. And thanks to you and your team John for covering the different joints.

I was wondering is there a web site to download a list of the hot dog places that were reviewed and a rating system attached to them??

The Star Ledger site no longer has the list available (without paying for it).

If anybody has any TOP TOP (yes, I said it twice) recommendations for the BLFD or Edison areas, please let me know. I am coming into town for Thanksgiving, and I normally grab a few chili dogs at JJs, but with the quality going down hill, that leaves me with Rutts (my other personal favorite) in the Bloomfield area. Any good suggestions for the Edison area? I usually stay at a hotel down that way.

So please give me a few tips!

Thanks,

Doug
Sneetch
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2006/10/18 15:18:25 (permalink)
Ricci D's Front Street Cafe in Keyport is just a short ride from Edison south on the parkway, exit 117...Mike and Pops serve up a fresh, tasty italian dog (Best brand), or with the usual toppings, if you're a purist - they also make great burgers, and the onion rings remind me of those crunchy bits of paradise I loved as a kid from Jack-In-the-Box...they are closed on monday, I believe...
MrDimn
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2006/10/18 20:21:05 (permalink)
Hey Sneetch -

Thanks for the tip. I will have to try them out. I am always open to try new places.

I know the Keyport area. I used to hang out in Hazlet all the time!

Thanks for the info!

Doug
ScreenBear
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2006/10/19 00:44:00 (permalink)
Mr. Dimn,
From Edison, the closest great Italian Hot Dog would be, hands down, Tommy's South (2320 Route #130, North, North Brunswick, N.J.). It's owned by the folks who run Tommy's in Elizabeth.
The Bear
MrDimn
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2006/10/19 15:47:03 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by ScreenBear

Mr. Dimn,
From Edison, the closest great Italian Hot Dog would be, hands down, Tommy's South (2320 Route #130, North, North Brunswick, N.J.). It's owned by the folks who run Tommy's in Elizabeth.
The Bear


Hey Bear -

Thanks for the tip. How are the potatoes in that dog? big & fat, or kinda thin? And how are the peppers in it? Soft? Weak? Crunchy?

And also to all the readers out there... What are some good places to replace JJs chili dogs.

They really used to have some great chili dogs! But if the dogs aren't as good, then why even go... (yes, I am a bit saddened by it...)

So any comments are appreciated. I come back to NJ twice a year... T-day, and X-mas and I always enjoy classic NJ food...
such as Taylor Ham , Egg & cheese sandwiches...
(Don't tell me here about good places for pork roll sandwiches... I don't want to corrupt this fine topic!)

Thanks,

Doug
big g in joisey
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2006/10/21 13:04:51 (permalink)
Donny's Dogs has been serving the Newark,Nj, area for 19 years,
and a large portion of his afternoon and early evening business is senior citizens and children getting out of school,and at 3 hotdogs for $4.00 with any and if you want all toppings that is hard to beat.The same meal at some of the Union county stands would be more than double that price.Again Donny's Dogs serving a good dog at a great price.
John Fox
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2006/10/22 07:45:19 (permalink)
big g,

Three dogs for $4.00 is a pretty good deal, considering that many of the places serving dirty water Sabretts charged $1.70 to $1.80 for one dog. And more for toppings. Many of these dogs were 12 to a lb, which is smaller than the 10 to a lb dog that Donnies uses. And this is all over the state, not just Union County.

An even better bargain would be at Jerry's. They charge $1.50 for a dog with any and all toppings included in that price. I like the dogs so much that I just get them with mustard. And they are bigger than Donnies at 8 to a lb. So you're getting 3 bigger dogs with a natural casing (which Donnies doesn't have) for $4.50. These dogs are boiled, then finished off on a steel griddle for a minute or 2. I also prefer the brand (Best) to Sabrett.
John Fox
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2006/10/22 08:44:07 (permalink)
Third outing, 5/30

8) Tony's Truck, Branch Brook Park, Newark

Tony's uses a 10 to a lb natural casing Golden D all beef dog from the Bronx. This truck is known for their hot onions, which I don't eat since I hate onions. But others rave about them. I had been to Tony's once before and thought the dog was ok. Since then, I've been there once with the Munchmobile, one or 2 other times, and most recently with the 06 Hot Dog Tour. My opinion of Tony's has gone way up. The dog itself is a high quality all beef dog. I asked Tony why he used this particular brand, which is seen at many New York street carts, but not in Jersey. He told me that he prefers a dog with a little less spice and garlic than the more common Sabrett. This dog is served hot and tastes good with mustard or the chili they have which is spicy, but not too spicy, with a slight tomatoey taste. I would put this dog right below Jerry's for a dirty water dog. In fact, it came in second to Donnies Dogs in the voting. When asked at the end for our personal favorite dog of the summer, Pete Genovese picked Tony's.

The owners of this truck requested that both the Munchmobile and the 06 Hot Dog Tour not come to Tony's. I thought this odd, but it was explained to me that they do not want any publicity because they are in a high crime area and fear being robbed. It has happenned before and they don't want anyone reading about Tony's and knowing that they are succesfull and therefore have a lot of money.

One other thing about Tony's. They get very busy, but have 2 windows from which they serve dogs. I would have to say that they are the fastest and most efficient at pumping out dogs. Just great, fast service. Also, on the Hot Dog Tour, Tony's had 13 votes for best dog of the day, finishing just behind Syd's with 14.

9) Rutt's Hut, Clifton

Easily one of, if not THE most well known hot dog joints in Jersey. Known for their deep fried dogs called rippers, their dogs (Thumanns for deep frying) are made especially for deep frying. The dog has a natural casing and comes about 8 to a lb. Many North Jersey dog houses use this particular dog, but what sets Rutt's apart is 2 things. One is that you can get the dogs cooked to different degrees of doneness. Most places that use this dog fry it the minimum amount of time. It tastes better if it is left in the oil longer. At Rutt's you can get an "in and outer", "ripper", "weller", or "cremator". I prefer the weller myself. The other thing that sets this dog apart is their unique mustard based relish. My favorite hot dog topping, this relish goes great with the somewhat mild dog. People are split on this dog. You either love it or hate it. To some, it is the best dog in the universe. To other's it is horrible. May be an aquired taste. This dog came in second place to Amazing Hot Dog for deep fried dog. But they are 2 entirely different animals, as Amazing uses a more well seasoned all beef dog. Hard to say which is better. Depends on your mood I guess. But I voted for Amazing based on just the dog alone, since most of the time I prefer a spicier beef dog. Other times, nothing hits the spot like a Rutt's dog. One member of the SWAT Team voted for Rutt's as her favorite dog of the summer.

10) Hot Grill, Lexington Ave. Clifton

A short distance from Rutt's Hut is The Hot Grill, known for its Texas Weiners. This version is the North Jersey/Hot Texas Weiner, which is deep fried and topped with thin chili sauce. Nutmeg, cinnamon, and other spices are all typical of the chili served in the Passaic County area. Again, this may be an aquired taste. Someone on our panel referred to this type of chili as ginerbread cookie chili. The reviews on the Texas Weiners were usually based on whether the SWAT member liked this particular chili or not. And in the voting, all dogs with chili were lumped into the Chili Dog category regardless of whether they were North Jersey Texas Weiners, Plainfield Area Texas Weiners, dirty water dogs topped with chili, or something else. Most North Jersey Texas Weiner places use the Thumanns deep fryer. Some use the Sabrett beef and pork dog. The Hot Grill uses the Sabrett. It's a little milder than the Thumanns, but goes great with the chili.

Opinions were mixed on the Hot Grill. I love this type of chili, and the Hot Gill has always been one of my favorite Texas Weiners. Quick service and the chili is served at the perfect temperature. This dog was well liked by the people attending the 05 Jersey Hot Dog Tour.

According to the owner of the Galloping Hill Inn, who is friends with the owners of the Hot Grill, the three places serving the most hot dogs in Jersey are: 1) The Hot Grill 2) The Galloping Hill Inn 3) Max's. The Galloping Hill Inn would probably sell more if they stayed open as late as the Hot Grill, which is open to 1 AM.

11) New Corral, Hazel St. Clifton

This was the first time here for me. A diner type place serving the deep fried Thumanns. Not much to say about this place. The dog was ok, but not left in the oil long enough. The Texas Weiner sauce was average and lacked the complexity of the better chili sauces of this type. If you're in the area, you're better off going to the Hot Grill.

12) Libby's Lunch, McBride Ave. Paterson

One of the original Texas Weiner joints. Opened in 1936, this small old fashioned diner serves what many consider to be the archetypal North Jersey Hot Texas Weiner. They use the Thumanns deep fryer and fry it for the right amount of time. The chili sauce is the clovey, cinammony sauce that is typical of the area. Very similar to the Hot Grill. Until this year, I rated The Hot Grill #1 and Libby's #2 for dogs in this category (North Jersey or Hot Texas Weiner) I've since found one I like better, which I'll name when I get to it, but Libby's and The Hot Grill remain 2 of the three best in my opinion. I like the Hot Gill's sauce a tad better than Libby's, but I like the dog itself a tad better at Libby's.

Service was very good. Great atmosphere and they serve beer.
John Fox
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2006/10/22 08:53:59 (permalink)
I spoke to the owner of Syd's yesterday. Their last day at the current location will be this coming Saturday. Their lease is up and they were unable to negotiate a deal. Their rent would have been raised considerably. They will be moving to nearby Springfield. The address is 234 Morris Ave. Springfield. Syd's will be moving into an existing business. It's a luncheonette called Tony's. Both businessess will be serving their food under a kind of profit sharing agreement. It will take a few days to a week to make the transition.

Syd's originally opened in Newark in 1941. There were many owners in it's history, but the same great dogs, considered by many, myself included, to be the finest in Jersey. They moved to their current location in the Millburn Mall (still considered Union despite the name) in 1967. You may want to head down there one more time before they close.
Benzee
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2006/10/22 10:31:55 (permalink)
Hello John ,

Thanks for the news . Are you gonna make a stop there during the week .
I'm up for one more visit .

What I need is directions from GSP to Syds .
Only times I was there was with the tour , excellent dog one of the best I've ever eaten .

I'm up for a visit one day this week mid afternoon

Benzee
John Fox
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2006/10/22 13:26:48 (permalink)
Benzee,

I'll be there one more time this week, but probably in the early evening. I've been working to 5 or 6 o'clock every day, with no day off but Sunday. Maybe some others would like to join you? If you're up for a later run, contact me.

It's easy to get to Syd's if you are travelling south on the GSP. Get off at exit 141 (this exit only exists going south) and at the end of the exit is Vauxhall Rd. You can either go left or right. To get to Syd's, make a right and stay on Vauxhall Rd. about 2 or 3 miles until you get to the Millburn Mall. Make a right into the parking lot and you are there.
Benzee
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2006/10/24 16:57:25 (permalink)
Hello Mr Dimn ,

Check out the Misc. Foods section thread on our recent Hot Dog Tour . There is a picture we just posted of the group in front of Amazing Hot Dogs. Eric the owner is kneeling next to me ( I'm the big guy). John could give you directions to Tonys Truck , it is not far from JJs .

I would love to visit Syds late afternoon or evening , I did not know they would be open that late . Let me know what day and time you may stop John and perhaps we can meet for a dog .

I will throw out Thurs evening , what do you think and thanks for the directions from the GSP .

Benzee
John Fox
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2006/10/24 19:38:26 (permalink)
Mr Dimn,

If you are on Bloomfield Ave approaching JJ's on your left,to get to Tony's make the first right after JJ's. It is either Lake or Park. Just go down the street until you run into the truck.

Benzee,

Syd's shuts down the grill at 6:45. Thursday is bad for me. I will be meeting with the new owner of Frank & Fries after work Thursday. They will be opening the following Monday. I'll let you know more soon.
MrDimn
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2006/10/25 19:07:45 (permalink)
Benzee -

That's a cool pic! Plus it helps me know what I am looking for while I driving to Amazings!! I'll tell them you and John sent me! ;-)

John -

Thanks for the tip on finding that truck! I wanted to ask before you told me just so you don't break any NDAs you signed before releasing the location of the truck! ;-)

And I'll probably be bothering everyone again in Decemeber. That's when I come back to NJ by myself. It's at that time frame I will really do some exploring in search of good food.

Actually, I might as well ask now... Anybody knows a good place open late on Christmas Eve. I usually watch my mother sing in the choir, and then go out with some friends for a late night snack.

Any suggestions?

Oh... if you think, Christmas is so far away... It will be here sooner than you know! ;-)

Ciao

Doug
John Fox
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2006/10/25 19:28:32 (permalink)
I think Rutt's Hut may be open late Christmas Eve.
MrDimn
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2006/10/26 12:01:56 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by John Fox

I think Rutt's Hut may be open late Christmas Eve.


John -

Thanks for the info!! That will make my Christmas Eve a little bit nicer!

Thanks!

Doug
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2006/10/28 10:57:21 (permalink)
<<It looks like Frank's Newark Style Italian Hot Dogs has become a victim of the Route 1 upgrade. I passed there yesterday and it looks like they have closed for good.>.

Now it's more than closed, it ain't even there anymore. Passed there yesterday. Just a vacant lot, ready for the widening of Rt 1.

---Ken (not ready for 3 years of traffic jams on the way to the good Costco in Edison.)Actually I do have a round about way to get there from Union County, which I will begin to use.
John Fox
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2006/10/28 19:13:46 (permalink)
Fourth outing, 6/6

13) Tommy's Italian Sausage & Hot Dogs, Elizabeth & 2nd Ave. Elizabeth

It seems that a large number of places we visited that placed in the voting were in the beginning of the summer's tasting. That was certainly the case here, as 2 of the offerings sampled this night took first place in the voting. Tommy's is a walk up up store front located 2 or 3 doors down from Jerry's Famous Frankfurters. They have had a reputation since opening in 1969 as serving one of the best, if not the best, Italian Hot Dog. Our panel, as well as myself, voted this dog #1. In the past, Tommy's has been inconsistent. Sometimes serving a good amount of peppers, many times just a few. On more than one occasion, I have been told by friends that they had one lonely pepper on their sandwich. This also happenned to my wife. Tommy's has gone back and forth between 10 to a lb dogs and 8.

The last few months, though, Tommy's has remained consistent. Which is why they got my vote. Decent bread, although softer in texture than a lot of other Italian Hot Dog joints. They now use a special long, thin, 8 to a lb dog (Best's). They've increased the amount of peppers (perhaps due to criticism) and their potatoes remain the best you can get for an Italian Hot Dog. One thing I make it a point to do is to request the peppers cooked so that they are soft. Some places, like Dickiee Dees, prefer to leave them crunchy. Make sure you specify how you want them done if it makes a difference to you. Otherwise they will probably come crunchy. Being that an Italian Hot Dog is made up of several different ingredients, it's hard to get one that does everything to your liking. One place may serve good hard chewy bread that you might prefer to softer, Philadelphia style bread. The potatoes are sliced either thin, thicker, or in chunks. One place may have great vegetables and bread, but too small dogs. There are a lot of variables. That's why, when I'm in the mood, I prefer to make my own Italian Hot Dogs. This might sound like bragging, but I make everything to my liking, and the result is an Italian Hot Dog that I like better than any that I've bought out, including Tommy's. It's easier than you might think. I use quality bread from a bakery that used to supply many of the Italian Hot Dog joints until the owner stopped making a large quantity; 8 to a lb Best dogs (in my opinion the perfect size), a good amount of red and green peppers cooked the way I like, and potatoes that I slice thin with the use of a mandoline. The peppers come out as good as Charlies (the best for peppers IMO) the potatoes are on a par with Tommy's, only slightly less greasy, (my wife and others actually prefer mine over Tommy's), the bread is top quality and as good as any I've had, as are the dogs. Combined, it makes for one great sandwich. You can do the same at home provided that you have a deep fryer, a mandoline, and the ingredients for an Italian Hot Dog.

14) Syd's, Millburn Mall, Vauxhall Rd. Union

Taking into consideration the many types and styles of hot dogs, (we voted on 5 categories; there could have been more) if our panel had to vote on just one dog that is the best in Jersey, Syd's wins. In fact, we did have an informal vote among the 8 of us. Although we visited 87 places, some served more than one type of dog, so we easily had over 90, and maybe 100 different hot dogs. Five out of 8 people picked Syd's as best overall hot dog of the summer. Out of the three dissenters, one picked Rutt's Hut, one picked Hirams, and Pete picked Tony's Truck. In it's category of grilled hot dog, Syd's got 7 of 8 first place votes. The person not voting for Syd's for first place had them for second. This person prefers pork based dogs and picked Karl Ehmer's for first place in the grilled category. No other hot dog got as many first place votes in their category.

Syd's serves a long, 5 to a lb natural casing Best's all beef frank. The dog can be ordered grilled or boiled. Grilled is actually boiled first and then put on a gas grill and char broiled. The result is a dog that is damn close to perfection. Excellent flavor, a great spicing, perfect snap to the casing, perfect size for a dog. I can understand someone preferring a German style pork and beef dog to this one, since the two styles are considerably different, but for an all beef kosher style dog, none comes close to Syd's.

As for the place itself, today was the last day at the current location. It was in a luncheonette in a strip mall. One thing many people didn't like about Syd's is that you couldn't just walk in and get a hot dog. You had to sit and be waited on. And recently the service has gotten bad. We had to wait a very long time to be served the day of the Hot Dog Tour. The last few times, including today, the service has been subpar, even when not crowded. But the dogs are fabulous.

I've mentioned it in the past, but you can buy these same dogs to make at home. They are available at Best Provisions on Avon Ave. in Newark. I get them all the time and prepare them like they do at Syd's.

15) J's Italian Beef & Sausage, St. Georges Ave. Linden

Jack, the owner, is from Chicago and serves sandwiches that are popular there such as Italian Beef and sausage. He also serves great barbecue. And Chicago style hot dogs. In fact, this is the only place in New Jersey where you can get an authentic Chicago style hot dog. Vienna beef franks, neon green relish, sports peppers, etc, shipped in from Chicago. The dog is a 6 to a lb skinless Vienna Beef brand dog that is served on a poppy seed bun and topped with mustard, neon green relish, onions, tomato slices, a dill pickle, celery salt, and sports peppers. The dog itself is made from bull meat and brisket. It's a quality beef dog, but milder than what many of us are used to, such as Sabrett, Nathan's, Best, or Hebrew National. For a plain dog, I would prefer these four to the Vienna, but the Vienna dog goes well with all of the ingredients on a Chicago dog. The preferred method of preparation is boiling. They call it steaming, but the dogs are put in a compartment with hot water and the lid is shut, creating steam. If you order a regular dog instead of Chicago style, you can get it boiled or grilled. The grilled dog is called a char dog, and is pretty good. You get more flavor this way than boiled. But get the Chicago dog boiled, which is the traditional way. The dog, being milder than what we're used to (but still spicier than a beef/pork dog) mixes well with the other ingredients and doesn't overpower them.

This dog didn't really go over well with the panel. I believe the Chicago dog is an aquired taste. I am a minimalist when it comes to hot dogs, usually preferring just some mustard on mine. I did like the contrast between hot meat and cool vegetables though. And since we reviewed this place on June 6th, I've been back a number of times. I can honestly say that I've aquired a taste for this particular dog. I do, though, have to be in the mood for it. I voted for J's for first place in the Creative, Original, or Unique category, being that they are the only place serving an authentic version of a hot dog that is wildly popular in and around Chicago. To many people, this is what a true hot dog tastes like. While I wasn't crazy about it, I have become a fan and now see why so many people rave about Chicago hot dogs.
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2006/11/03 08:22:52 (permalink)
Fifth outing, 6/13

16) Chris's Truck, Heller Parkway, Newark

The second of many hot dog trucks, carts, and other establishments serving the Sabrett dirty water dog. JJ's was the first. The other truck we visited up to this point was Tony's, which served a Golden D frank. As I mentioned earlier, the great majority of dirty water dogs we encountered were Sabrett. A great beef dog for sure, and in my top 3. But how do you distinguish between all these places that serve the same dog prepared the same way? For most, it was the toppings or condiments. For me it was size, (10 or 8 to a lb being preferable) whether it had a casing, and how hot it was. I should mention a 4th factor. Freshness. Although I believe virtually all of these dogs were not old, many were left in the water too long. JJ's is an example. At least when we went. When left in the water too long the dog loses flavor and snap if it has a natural casing.

The dog at Chris's was an 11 to a lb skinless Sabrett. A little smaller than what I prefer, and without the casing. But it was served hot enough. I had chili on half of my dog, and it was average hot dog truck chili. For me, this place typified what most hot dog trucks were about. A decent, but unspectacular dog. Could have been bigger. Could have had casing. For the rest of the team, this truck did stand out in the sense that it recieved a vote for best hot onions. According to those who eat them, this place and Tony's had the best hot onions. For the top five categories (grilled, boiled, deep fried, chili, and Italian) places were rated one through three. For the miscellaneous categories, (the Coney's) there was only one winner.

17) Callahan's, rt 46 Little Ferry

As many of you know, the original Callahan's location in Fort Lee was closed and turned into a bank. But there are still 2 locations left. This one and another in Hasbrouck Heights. According to Rick Castrianni, owner of the Fort Lee location, all Callahan's restaurants serve the same hot dog. Which is a beef and pork Sabrett dog. It is deep fried. The small dog is a 6 to a lb. They also serve a quarter pounder, and a super dog which is even bigger. This particular dog is very mild, even considered bland. It does taste better if you put a quality chili on top like the Hot Grill does. Not bad, but not one of my favorites. I've always preferred the Thumanns deep fryer served at Hirams, which is right across the street from where the Fort Lee Callahan's was.

You order the size dog you want and then you put on your own toppings at a fixins bar. They have mustard, ketchup, kraut, relish, onions, and maybe something else. Chili is extra, and has to be ordered. The team was down on this dog. I think part of the reason is that it was bland compared to the all beef Sabrett we had previously at Chris's.

18) Hiram's, Fort Lee

This place is a real Jersey roadside joint. Inside it looks like a small neighborhood bar, which in fact it could be considered. There is a small bar and a few tables. Behind the bar is the open kitchen area where the deep fryers are. Hiram's serves the Thumann's deep fryer. I'm not sure of the size, but I would guess 7 or 8 to a pound. The dog is thicker than what is served at Rutt's Hut and many other places using the same recipe dog. As at all of the establishments that serve this dog, be sure to ask for it well done or at Hiram's, the expression is one "well". Rutt's, Libby's, Hot Dog Heaven, and Pappy's Diner are a few places where you don't have to make this request, since they do prepare them this way.

The Thumann's deep fryer was one of the top 3 more common dogs that we encountered this summer, along with the Sabrett all beef dog (dirty water dogs) and the Grote & Weigel griddle frank (many Texas Weiner joints). The dog at Hirams stood out from most serving this particular dog in a couple of ways. The dog itself was a little thicker. It was served on a quality toasted bun. It was fried for a sufficient amount of time, even if I had to request it. And the chili here was one of the better ones we had all summer. In fact it was voted best chili dog by the team. So in Hirams, we have another first place winner in one of the five major categories. I had my dog with just mustard, but did have a bite of someone's chili dog. It was definitely one of my favorite chili's. A bit on the spicy side as well. This dog, as mentioned previously, was the favorite overall dog of one of our S.W.A.T. members.

19) Johnny & Hanges, Fair Lawn

Johnny & Hanges original location was Paterson, birthplace of the Jesrey Hot Texas Weiner. Some years ago they moved to their current location. J&H is a standard North Jersey or "Hot" Texas Weiner restaurant. Serving the Thumann's deep fryer and topping it with the thin Texas Weiner sauce. Average to pretty good dog and sauce. J&H is one of the very few Texas Weiner joints to also offer an all beef dog. This dog is bigger in size and also a Thumann's. I've had it in the past and enjoyed it, but on this particular night the all beef dog was too dry. Mixed reviews from the team.

20) Goffle Grill, Hawthorne

A fairly popular Texas Weiner joint in the Hawthorne, Midland Park area. Similar in looks to the Hot Grill or Johnny & Hanges; it is a typical fast food place as far as appearance. They serve the Thumanns deep fryer, but here it tastes bland. This has been my experience the 5 or 6 times I've been here. The chili sauce has a harsh taste to it. Tangy, vinegary, and unpleasant. No one on the team liked this dog.

edited to change the date of the trip which was incorrectly posted.
big g in joisey
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2006/11/03 16:15:47 (permalink)
Then there was one,Callaghans in Hasbrouck Heights is gone,they already started to demolish the building,the only one left is in Little Ferry,on rt 46 east.
John Fox
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2006/11/03 18:07:42 (permalink)
I had a chance to visit Tony's Place today. This is currently where Syd's moved to and is in sort of a merger with. I wasn't crazy about Tony's. About half the size of Syd's. There were a lot of people working there running around getting in each other's way. None of them from Syd's either. Service was slow as well. I only ordered a dog and it took forever. As for the dog, it was the same Syd's dog prepared the same way. I spoke with Eric (Syd's owner) last week and he said the same grill was being moved to Tony's. The grill is in the back, and Eric is back there preparing the dogs and burgers.
I didn't get a chance to speak with him; only said hello, as he stuck his head out once and had to return. The dog was barely warm; at the old Syd's it was served hot always. The roll fell apart. Syd's always used Bakers Touch buns, and when they started making them cheaper, he continued using them although they were put in a special toaster oven that I don't think is being used at Tony's. I heard someone else there remark to some friends that the dog is the same, but the bun isn't. I saw Eric once again before I left; this time I asked about the bun. He told me it was the same and added a but. He was cut off by someone at Tony's before he could finish answering my question. He knows how to prepare hot dogs, so I think the dog was warm due to a delay in getting it from the back to me. The dog was $3.49, which is about 20 cents more than what I remember paying.

I also spoke with a waitress from Tony's. She said the food is theirs (Tony's) except for the hamburgers and hot dogs. I mentioned that I had hoped the fries would be Syd's, as they were homemade, hand cut , and not frozen. One of the better french fries I've had in Jersey. I didn't order Tony's fries, but they were the standard, frozen Sysco fries. I mentioned this to the waitress, and was told that it's a lot of work making fries (I don't care, I'm the one eating them) and that maybe in the future, Eric would be making them.

I realize it's only the first week, but I hope they work the kinks out. Syd's always had a great hot dog; I would hate to see the quality go down. The other food was great as well; it's a shame that Tony's is serving cheap frozen fries instead of what Syd's had. Hopefully in the near future, Eric will get his own place, hire his own people, and have total control over everything; more importantly the menu.


MrDimn
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2006/11/03 18:17:04 (permalink)
John -

Was Tony's place the one down in Union off of Vaux Hall?

Thanks,

Doug
John Fox
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2006/11/04 08:31:38 (permalink)
No; Tony's Place is located at 234 Morris Ave. in Springfield, shortly past the Union border.
big g in joisey
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2006/11/04 11:13:22 (permalink)
Callaghan's is down to one location,I always thought they served a good hotdog at a fair price in a nice establishment.The only difference I have is the way they cooked the Sabrett's they serve, I would prefer the method of first steaming or cooking the dogs in hot water,then finish them on a flat or charcoal grill,instead of the deep frying method.
big g in joisey
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2006/11/04 12:27:24 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by spookyman
Hot Dog Johhny's is located on US 46 in or near Butzville. Last time I checked, the place was still going strong. They specialize in so-so hot dogs and, of all things, buttermilk!
WOW, 60 years in business selling "just so-so hotdogs" and buttermilk. Hey what about the great fries or the great rootbeer or other great soft drinks they still serve in the old fashioned glass mugs,what about their great milkshakes and ice cream,yeah I guess a lot of food places stay in business that long with just so-so food.
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2006/11/05 23:36:12 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by big g in joisey

quote:
Originally posted by spookyman
Hot Dog Johhny's is located on US 46 in or near Butzville. Last time I checked, the place was still going strong. They specialize in so-so hot dogs and, of all things, buttermilk!
WOW, 60 years in business selling "just so-so hotdogs" and buttermilk. Hey what about the great fries or the great rootbeer or other great soft drinks they still serve in the old fashioned glass mugs,what about their great milkshakes and ice cream,yeah I guess a lot of food places stay in business that long with just so-so food.


sorry to hurt your feelings, but the hot dogs are indeed so-so. Too long a ride for french fries or root beer. And there are plenty of places that have been around for years selling so-so (or worse) food.
big g in joisey
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2006/11/06 21:16:43 (permalink)
My feelings were not hurt,taste is very subjective,and entirely up to the individual,the point I was trying to get across was that statistically almost 90% of food establishments fail within the first year,for one to be flourishing for more than 60 years with just so-so
food in area as remote as Buttzville,Nj,would seem unlikely.
John Fox
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2006/11/11 08:32:48 (permalink)
Occasionally I drive past the site where Father & Son will be opening. You can't tell from the outside what's going on, but I've heard from someone that Father & Son's chili sauce, as well as their hot dogs are being sold around the corner at City Hall Deli. I went to check it out, and bought a pint of chili to take home, and had a dog there. Both are the same. The owner of this deli hasn't heard anything regarding when Father & Son will re-open. But you can enjoy their wonderful chili dogs and purchase their chili at the City Hall Deli on Wood Ave.

On another note, a new A&P opened yesterday on my mail route on Raritan Rd. in Clark. A beautiful supermarket that's nicer and has more to choose from than the Shop Rite around the corner. They are also one of the only places I know of where you can get Boars Head natural casing all beef hot dogs. Inside the store is a pushcart with a Boars Head umbrella where they serve dirty water dogs for a dollar. A great deal and a great dog. 8 to a pound and served hot with a choice of mustard and sauerkraut. This dog is definitely one of the best all beef franks and has a nice tight casing. I asked if the cart was going to be permanent, and was told that they would only have it for the Grand Opening ceremonies. I spoke to some people there and suggested that they make it permanent. They have decided to have a smaller cart in the front of the store serving hot dogs. If you're in the area, I suggest you try one. Or two. Or three. A good idea to eat before you shop so that you don't shop hungry and buy a whole lot of food that you wouldn't normally buy.
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2006/11/12 13:48:13 (permalink)
Sixth outing, 6/20

21) Donnies Dogs, Central Ave & 15th St. Newark

Only our 6th outing out of a total of 16, but with Donnies Dogs, we've already been to all 5 first place finishers. Just worked out that way. Still, a lot of great dogs left. Donnies was voted first place by our panel for best Dirty Water Dogs. I think it got one first place vote, but a lot of second and thirds. My first place vote went to Jerry's. Another member also voted for Jerry's for first place, but no one else had them in their top 3. Donnies is a hot dog truck parked on the street next to Fairmount Cemetary. Owner Pete Caggiano serves 10 to a lb skinless Sabrett's. Bigger than many of the trucks serving the 11's and 12's. And served hot and fresh. In my opinion, the one thing this dog lacked that is important to me in a dirty water dog is the snap of a natural casing. Had this been included, Donnies would have been in my top 3. It would have met my criteria of a dirty water dog being served hot, fresh, with a good snap, at a decent size. There were a few that did meet this criteria, but what would have put Donnies in my top three instead of one of the others would have been the variety of toppings and condiments. Not that I use all that many, preferring just mustard most of the time, but Donnies had a big selection of dogs; maybe the most from a truck. Chili, cheese, hot relish, reuben dogs, cheesteak dogs, you name it, it was there along with many that I can't recall. The tasty dog along with the variety of choices accounted for Donnies taking first place. The owner, as mentioned by other posters here previously, gives back to the community and is a genuinely good guy. Congratulations to him, especially after a rough beginning where he was only making $20.00 on some days and seriously considered quitting.

I had 2 dogs here. One with chili, which was liked by the team, but a little too hot (spicy) for my taste. And one with just mustard.

22) Otto's, Bloomfield Ave. Caldwell

Otto's is a small hot dog restaurant that has been open less than a year. Located right across the street from the popular Cloverleaf Tavern. The dog served is a 10 to a lb, natural casing all beef Sabrett. This is the perfect size for a Sabrett dirty water dog. Normally I would prefer 8 to a lb, which I consider ideal, but for some reason the casing isn't tight enough on the Sabrett 8's. I was expecting to like this dog because of the size and the fact that it had casing. But it wasn't to be because the dogs were actually served cold. Not hot. Not warm. Not lukewarm. Cold! And not just mine, but everyone's. It was mentioned to the staff, who gave us a new round of dogs. These were barely warmer. Too bad, because the temperature of the dogs ruined the experience. The rolls were also too big for the dog. I don't remember sampling the chili, but according to my notes it was spicy, tomatoey, and not good. Don't remember why it wasn't good.

23) Boulevard Drinks, Journal Square Jersey City.

A small walkup storefront with perhaps 6 or so stools at a counter. Large neon lights, similar to Papaya King or Gray's in New York. First opened in 1937. In fact, I believe that this place was the forerunner of Papaya King. Although most people think of Sabrett as a New York dog, it originated in Jersey City. The company was there for years before it was sold. It is now owned by Marathon Enterprises in East Rutherford, N.J. although the dogs are made at a Stahl- Mayer plant in the Bronx. Boulevard Drinks uses the natural casing Sabrett and prepares them on a griddle. Some years later Papaya King opened in New York serving the dogs the same way. Later on came Gray's Papaya, Chelsea Papaya, and a slew of others. All after Boulevard Drinks.

The dog served here came in 2nd place for a grilled dog. All on the team thought it was fantastic. I would put it third on my list for favorite dog sampled all summer behind Syd's and Jerry's. I believe if the team as a whole was asked to rate their top 3 overall, this dog would have come in 2nd to Syd's. Later in the summer we went to New York (which I will get into in more detail later) and had the Sabrett dog served the same way at Papaya King, Gray's Papaya, and Katz's. The S.W.A.T. team was unanimous in agreeing that the dog at Boulevard Drinks was better. It was served nice and hot, cooked sufficiently, and tasted fresher. This dog was smaller than 10 to a lb. But it was so good that I'll make an exception in this case. It was also cheaper than what most dirty water places charged for the smaller size Sabrett's. It was under $1.50 although I don't remember the exact price.

To many hot dog lovers in Jersey, Boulevard Drinks is the standard. If you happen to prefer the flavor and spicing in a Sabrett dog to a Best's, than I would say that this is the best place for you to get a hot dog. If you check this place out, be prepared to either park in the nearby garage or wait awhile to get a space. Parking is extremely difficult. But the dogs are so good that I make the trip here often.

24) Petridis, Bayonne

A small restaurant that started out as a pushcart and has been around a very long time. Well known in and around Bayonne and Jersey City. There were 2 young girls working here who knew little about the product being served and didn't seem to care. The dog served was an 11 to a lb natural casing Sabrett prepared dirty water style. Hot enough, but hardly any snap. The dogs we had were definitely in the water too long. This cut down on the snap and reduced the flavor in the dog. Castleberry chili was served here. All in all, the dogs were mediocre as was the service. I would avoid this place and drive to Boulevard Drinks. One of the members of the team was from Bayonne and grew up on these hot dogs. He was really looking forward to going to the hot dog place of his youth. Even he was disapointed. But he assured us that the dogs were better in the past.
signman
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2006/11/12 13:57:55 (permalink)
John, Thanks for posting these details.
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