My Christmas shopping travels (travails would be a better word) took me to Route 22. Being in close proximity to Jimmy Buff's, Texas Weiners ll, and Red Tower, I decided to hit all 3. After the day I had, I needed a couple of hot dogs to unwind.
First, Jimmy Buff's. This is the Scotch Plains location. I haven't been here in quite awhile as I usually go to East Hanover. The sandwiches here and at the old Irvington store have more oils than East Hanover and West Orange. Years ago I preferred a drier sandwich. Then I started to go consistently to Irvington as they were the only place that I could get an Italian Hot Dog on a Sunday night. I aquired a taste for the sandwich with the extra oils and remembered to leave the bag on the floor so that the oil wouldn't seep through. I like mine now both drier and with the extra oils, depending on what I'm in the mood for. Then Irvington closed.
I had an exceptional sandwich at Jimmy Buff's in Scotch Plains today. I ordered a single since I knew I would be going to two other places. All of the ingredients were fresh and tasty. There was a good amount of oil, but it stopped short of being too greasy. The potatoes were done perfectly as was everything else. The bread, while from a different bakery than the others, is just as good and better than any other place. The top quality pizza bread at all 3 Jimmy Buff's locations is one reason why they are better than their competitors. I enjoyed speaking with the pleasant young woman working there. She is a relative of Jimmy's and told me that her grandfather, who owns the restaurant, is not looking to sell. It will be kept in the family which is good news.
Second was Texas Weiners ll in Greenbrook. I haven't been here since they changed owners. It was posted somewhere that they have gotten better and the prices are more reasonable. Well, the price has gone down from $3.50 for a 6 to a lb frank with mustard, chili, and onions to $2.99 and the service is better. But the chili is worse. Overly dry with very little flavor. Subpar. Middlesex Texas Weiner, Manny's, and J&G's in Dunellen are much better for this type of Texas Weiner. As is Texas Weiner l in Plainfield. The dog was prepared well and was hot enough.
Last stop was Red Tower in North Plainfield. I remember this from the Munchmobile trip as being an undercooked dog with lousy service and a horrible chili that had a very tangy mustardy flavor. Today service wasn't bad as I was served immediately. But then again there was only one other customer in the place. The dog wasn't undercooked this time, but the chili wasn't good. Not as bad as I remember the last time, but below average. Maybe a little better than what I just had at Texas Weiner ll a few minutes before.
I was wearing a Manny's Texas Weiner shirt. The guy who served me noticed and said that his dogs were better. I told him that I was also at Texas Weiner ll. He told me that his dogs and chili were better than them as well. I asked him how can his dogs be better when they were the same brand (Grote & Weigel griddle franks) prepared the same way. Unless they were under or over cooked. He said that his chili is better, and that while all 3 served the same dog, Texas Weiner ll recently switched brands. According to him they were forced to since they didn't pay the distributor for a few months. Whether this is true or not, I don't know. It's possible, but the dogs looked and tasted the same at both places. The chili at Red Tower may be better than Texas Weiner ll since the latter changed the chili, but both weren't that good. Manny's is better than these two.
Jimmy Buff's was excellent, the Texas Weiner joints were disappointing.