Hot!New Jersey Hot Dogs

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Post
ScreenBear
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/01/12 22:46:24
Foobuc,
As John says, it's an acquired taste if you're not from the Windy City. However, once you like 'em, that's pretty much it.

The contrast of the warm bun, hot dog and cold condiments, each with its own crunch, texture and resiliency, is a treat. You get to realize that this "salad" on your dog isn't a mistake, isn't some Chicago eccentricity, but the result of years of gustatorial evolution, until, at long last, it is the Chicago Hot Dog. Even the bun does extra duty with those poppy seeds on them.

Aside from it being good, there is also an innate sense of humor about it, a Sandburgian, broad-shouldered swagger of individualism.

Alas, I like practically every permutation of frankfurter, but when in the mood,
ich bin ein Chicago Hot Dog eater.
The Bear
P.S.--I didn't know JFK, but I've eaten hot dogs in Chicago, and J's Beef (Linden, N.J.) serves up a Class-A example of the genre.

John Fox
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/01/13 09:11:55
quote:
Originally posted by foobuc

Hi John,

Thanks for the tips on the local area places. you are gonna get me in trouble big time! Where is the Tommys on route 130 in No Brunswick as i sell to the Buy Rite Liquors in the big Shop Rite plaza there? Do you remember a landmark?

thanks!


Foobuc,

I'm not really familiar with the area, but I can tell you that I was on rt 1, got off the exit for rt 130 South, went a little over 3 miles, then made a U turn as Tommy's is located on the northbound side of rt 130.
foobuc
Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/01/13 09:30:51
uh oh! thats right in the area i am at on tues nights! i am off this week coming up and have a dinner meeting the following tues night but you better bet your bippy i will be "investigating" its whereabouts the 3rd tues from now!!!
foobuc
Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/01/15 15:35:07
I didn't have work today. My wife had to work today. I went to J's Beef in Linden NJ today. My wife did not go to J's Beef today. Shhh don't tell her or it will blow my diet!!! I had 2 chicago style dogs minus onions. Boy are those sport peppers hot! I liked the chicago style dogs though i was a little hesitant because i just started eating relish about a year ago. I'll be back there though especially because it is closer than i thought!!! I may have to try some sausage and some beef too!
John Fox
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/01/18 14:36:48
Tuesday after eating at Hirams, Screenbear and I took a different way home. We wound up passing Kocher's Meat Market in Ridgefield. I've never been to Kocher's, but found out this summer that they make the German franks for Karl Ehmer's. We turned around and went back. The franks are 70% beef and 30% pork, but spiced in the German, rather than kosher style. No garlic or paprika. This frank was well liked by the Munchmobile S.W.A.T. Team this summer, finishing third in the Grilled category. But the 2 that finished ahead (Syd's and Boulevard Drinks) are in the spicy kosher style. I had lobbied for 2 separate categories, one for each style. Unfortunately it was decided to have only one category for grilled dog. The Kocher's dog served at Karl Ehmer's stand was the most well liked German style beef/pork dog among the S.W.A.T. Team, finishing slightly ahead of the Galloping Hill Inn.

I bought some of these dogs to sample at a later time. Today, I went out to get a dog from the Galloping Hill Inn (cold) and to Wegmans to get a single Thumanns frank with the purpose of comparing the three. While at Wegmans, I discovered that they sell Hebrew National hot dogs with the collagen casing. It's the only place in Jersey other than Goldberg's Kosher Meat Market in Old Bridge that I know of that sells these dogs.

I prepared a Hebrew National, Galloping Hill Inn dog, Kocher's dog, and Thumanns on my griddle. Unfortunately the Hebrew National was dried out from being either old and/or exposed to the open air in the deli case. I should have noticed this when I was at Wegmans. I threw it out. The other 3 dogs were excellent. I remember sampling these 3 side by side with 2 other German style franks about a year ago. These are definitely 3 of my 4 favorites in this style. The German dog from Continental Provisions in East Brunswick would be the fourth. All were so good, it was hard, if not impossible to rank them. I would say that they are in the same league and on the same level. The Thumanns was a little saltier and perhaps a little more flavorfull. The Kocher's was plumper and less tightly packed, maybe chewier. The Galloping Hill dog had its own distinct taste, but may have been milder. All were great. Be careful when freezing your dogs. I had some Thumanns last week that were in my freezer for only a month and weren't even past the expiration date. They didn't taste as good as they normally do. I though that maybe I was losing my taste for them. But after having one fresh today, I concluded that maybe those in the freezer lost something. From now on I'll wrap them in Aluminum foil rather than leave them loose in a freezer bag. How do the rest of you freeze your dogs?
foobuc
Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/01/19 08:26:05
headed down to Toms River yesterday to bring my mother to the doctor and while in the old hometown, i made a stop at Joe-joe's and had a double w/ mustard, peppers and potatoes. Hit the spot!! to stay a little on topic, i usually let the air out of the zip lock and then foil the whole thing as well. My Problem is that i usually forget that i have them in the freezer and wind up buying new packs of hot dogs! stinks getting old...
foobuc
Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/01/19 15:39:07
i went to galloping hill inn in union for the first time and got 2 chili dogs. it was a good dog and i thought the chili was pretty good but mild. it was weird having it on a torpedo type roll. even that is very close to me. unfortunately i go back to work monday so i won't be hot dog experimenting as much as i have been the last few weeks.

p.s. i lost another 3.8lbs when i got weighed wed night and that was after going to j's beef on mon.!!! total of 8lbs lost since 1/3/07.
ken8038
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/01/20 13:33:43
A few comments on John's recent posts:

Tommy's South - I was there about six months ago and I didn't think the Itlian Dogs were nearly as good as Elizabeth. It may be that they had just recently opened and they hadn't wokred out the kinks yet. I also had a plain dog with Sauerkraut which wasn't very good either.

Rahway Grill: That's a new one on me, which I will have to try. Are they are closed on Satudays? I just tried to call and got no answer. Is it an eat in place or take out? I usually like to know that in advance, if it's take out only there's no need in dragging my son or wife there.

Freezing Thuman's: I've had trouble keeping Thuman's dogs in the freezer, they definatly lose someting when they are defrosted, and I've tried every method mentioned here. It's for that reason I no longer buy the 5lb bag they sell at Costco.

Keep up the posts John, always good reading.

PS, but somewhat off topic, I know you and I agreed that the Texas Weiners at Red Tower on Rt 22 weren't all that good, but my son and his friends (now that they are driving) have become regulars for the bacon cheesebugers which they all say are excellent. I haven't tried them yet.
John Fox
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/01/20 17:29:09
KEN,

When I went to Tommy's South, the dogs were every bit as good as Elizabeth. Either you hit them on a bad day or, as you said, they hadn't worked out the kinks yet. Tommy Junior, who was usually at Tommy's Elizabeth during the day, is the one that usually prepares the dogs at Tommy's South. The set up and method of preparation is the same. I also found out that the regular dogs are boiled, then put in a steel compartment like Jerry's. I'd still go to Jerry's for a regular dog as they are cheaper. I never get a regular dog at Tommy's.

I believe the Rahway Grill is closes Saturday. They are only open until 3 PM during the week. It's a small eat in luncheonette.

I only buy Thumanns in the one pound pack. If I'm near Wegmanns, I buy a few loose. This way I don't have to freeze them.

I have the article from 98 when Red Tower was reviewed by the Munchmobile. It was stated that while Red Tower is known for Texas Weiners, they also make a pretty good burger. I haven't had one.
foobuc
Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/01/23 19:09:15
ok so Tommy's South on route 130N is almost directly across from my account. i was there tonight as my meeting got pushed back until next tuesday. i got a single and ate in joyful bliss up the road in my car so i could still field phone calls and punch in orders on my computer. the bread was fresh, the red peppers were awesome and the dog was really good! i only got a single because of the diet...
John Fox
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/01/25 08:29:43
Yesterday I went to Jimmy Buffs E. Hanover location for the first time. This is the newest of the 4 Jimmy Buffs that are currently in operation. East Hanover and West Orange restaurants are owned by Jim Raccioppi, grandson of Jimmy "Buff" Racioppi, founder of Jimmy Buffs and inventor of the Italian Hot Dog. The Scotch Plains and Irvington locations are owned by Jim's uncle Mike.

The Italian Hot Dog at Jim's 2 locations don't have the excessive oils that his uncle's restaurants are known for. It's a matter of taste. Some people like their sandwich with extra oils. Jim's are more to my liking. Just the right amount of oil without being what many consider too greasy. The East Hanover Buff's also has a bigger menu selection than the other 3. Here you can get an Italian Hot Dog, footlong, (the same 5 to a lb natural casing dog served at Syd's) pushcart, (the same 8 to a lb natural casing dog served at Jerry's) and a giant quarter pound Schickhaus dog. This is a beef and pork dog that is very popular. Served at Max's and other hot dog restaurants at or near the Jersey Shore. You can also get hamburgers, cheesesteaks, shrimp, fish and chips, homemade soup, and many other items. Check out the menu at http://www.jimmybuff.com.

On this visit, I stuck to hot dogs. First I had a single Italian Hot Dog. It was excellent. Good fresh pizza bread that was hard and chewy. Each location gets their bread fresh from a local bakery. This bread was perfect for an Italian Hot Dog. The dogs are from Best, as are all of the beef dogs used here. But you have a choice of getting yours skinless or with natural casing. The peppers were plentiful and prepared perfectly. The potatoes were tasty and fresh. Not in chunks like Dickiee Dees, but sliced fairly thin, although thicker than Tommy's. I would have to say that this dog and Tommy's are the 2 best Italian Hot Dogs I've ever had. To make a comparison, I would say that I like the bread and peppers better at Buff's. The dogs are equal, while I prefer the potatoes sliced very thin like they do at Tommy's.

I also had a footlong. This is the same dog used at Syd's, which happens to be my favorite hot dog. Natural casing, 5 to a lb with a prefect snap and blend of spices. E. Hanover Buffs is the only place I know of that serves this dog other than Syd's. The popular gourmet grilled cheese restaurant in Jersey City called Melt, also used this dog before they closed. The footlong is prepared a unique way here. It is sauteed in oil like the dogs that are used for the Italian Hot Dog sandwich. Then it is taken out of the oil and put on a charcoal grill. The dog is then put on a toasted bun and topped with a tasty deli mustard. The result is a dog, that if you can believe it, is even better than Syd's! It's the same dog, and while similar in taste, the frying plus char grilling really brings out the flavors and spices in this dog. The dark char marks give the dog an attractive appearance. The grill is a charcoal grill, while Syd's uses a gas grill. I was going to sample the Schickhaus dog, but the footlong was so good, I had to have another one.

As I mentioned in other posts, this is my favorite dog to have at home. I buy them from the factory. And on occasion I get one at Syd's. Voted best grilled dog by the Munchmobile, it was the favorite overall of the S.W.A.T. Team. I didn't think that this dog could be made any better. But Jim Racioppi has proved me wrong. The combination of this dog, prepared the way it was, with the toasted bun and delicious deli mustard, makes this the best hot dog I've ever eaten. I was just blown away. Had the S.W.A.T Team gone here, I would have voted it best dog. It goes for $3.25 tax included. Syd's is $3.48.

You can get any of the dogs here made the way you like. If you ask for a footlong, it comes the way I described it. You can also get it boiled, then grilled, like Syd's if you wish. Or just boiled. They have a griddle as well, so you can have it that way. Next time I'll try one of the Schickhaus dogs. Again, you can get it the way you want, but if you just order it without specifying how you want it prepared, it gets cooked on a griddle and finished off on the charcoal grill.

The footlong was so good, I had both of mine with just mustard. But I sampled the homemade chili on the side. It was unique and very good. One of the best that I've had. Meaty, with a nice sweet flavor and a touch of greeen pepper.

Service was quick and efficient. You place your order at the counter and it comes out from the back. If you want to eat in, you pick it up at a side door which leads to another room where there's tables and a long counter with stools that used to be a bar. This sure beats having to go through the hassle of being waited on like at a Diner and having to wait again for your check like you have to do at Syd's. There is also a game room in the back that is available for private parties.

Tuesday are called Fat Tuesday's. All double Italian Hot Dogs are sold for the price of a single. I highly recommend this place. I've been to other hot dog restaurants that try to do more than one type of dog. Rarely are they all done well. Jimmy Buff's is an exception. All the offerings are top of the line. The only negative part of my experience is realizing what I have been missing these couple of years since they opened this location.
ken8038
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/01/25 14:12:29
Wow John, now I have yet another place to check out. Thanks for providing the details on the Jimmy Buff's in Hanover. I have to get there, especially for a footlong or two. Normally Jimmy Buff's is not my favorite at all, I'm one of the people that likes less grease. I've eaten at the Scotch Plains location 2 times in 10 years, and while I can eat just about anything, the amount of grease on both visits there stayed with me way too long. I've tried a couple of the other locations also, not as greasy as SP, as you said, but still not my favorite.

I did get to the Rahway Grill just yesterday (I was home sick, but obviously not THAT sick). Good call on that one too, the Chili Dog was excellent! Had two there, and two to go for my son. We both gave them high marks. I'm not sure if I've ever had the Hatfield Angus dog before, it sure was tasty.

Thanks for all the tips John. ---Ken
foobuc
Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/01/25 17:59:54
i also agree that the Scotch Plains Buff's was too greasy for my likng but you have me drooling about the Hanover location dogs but i am never up that way...
tamandmik
Double Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/01/25 18:07:52
I remember when I was a teenager Jimmy Buff's had a location in Caldwell, on the border between Verona, across the railroad tracks. That location I suppose is gone now, but it seems like it has been replaced by a superior product. I remember the diced potatoes on the Italian hot dog with the thick crusted bun like it was yesterday. When I go back to NJ the next time I will be sure to go to the Hanover location. It sounds delicious.
Akavar
Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/01/25 22:43:13
I have to agree with those who don't like the grease at Jimmy Buff's. I have eaten at the Scotch Plains and West Orange locations. I thought both were way too greasy. I will have to try the East Hanover location.
John Fox
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/01/26 07:22:09
Some years back when I began eating and comparing Italian Hot Dogs, I was of the opinion that Jimmy Buff's was too greasy. I had gone first to the rt22 location, then Irvington, which is closer to where I live. This location, incidentally, was supposed to have closed. I had even posted about its closing. The sale never happenned, and they are open for the time being, although the hours are different and they are closed on Sundays.

Despite not liking Jimmy Buffs as much as some of the other places serving Italian Hot Dogs, most notably Tommy's and Charlies Sons in Union, (now gone) I still thought it was good, and went often because the Irvington location was the only place near me that was open on Sunday evenings, which, for some reason is when I like to enjoy an Italian Hot Dog. Probably because it's a last treat before starting the work week. As a result of going so much, I actually aquired a taste for this sandwich with the extra oils which had to be left on the floor of my car, so as to not get the car seat wet with the grease that seeped through the bag. Still, I would have to say that most of the time I prefer the less greasy version served at East Hanover and West Orange.

The Italian Hot Dog I had yesterday at East Hanover was excellent. Jim, the owner, prefers a less greasy sandwich and prepares it that way. The great thing about this location is the variety of dogs and choices you have. Next time I'll try the Schickhaus dog. I'm sure that I will enjoy it because not only is it grilled like Max's, but it is finished off on a real charcoal grill. But I have to be sure not to try the footlong first. It is so good that I'm afraid that I won't be able to order anything else.
John Fox
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/01/26 12:15:40
Thirteenth outing, 8/6

63) G&G, Shrewsbury Rd. Red Bank

G&G is a hot dog truck that has been in Red Bank for 34 years. Gus Tangalos is one of the few people serving dirty water Sabretts that uses a 10 to a lb natural casing dog rather than the more common 11 or 12's. These dogs were hot, tasty, fresh, and served fast. I voted this dog #2 for dirty water dog, and the next place we visited, Joyce's Place, #3. A little clarification is in order here. Jerry's, which uses an 8 to a lb natural casing Best, was far and away my #1 choice for a dirty water dog. Tony's Truck, (serving natural casing Golden D 10's) would have been my second choice, but I voted it #2 for chili dog. Dees, in Roselle Park would have been my 3rd choice, but I completely forgot about this one when it was time to vote. Since G&G and Joyce's had the same dog served the same way, I voted them 2 and 3. In reality, there is no difference between Dees, G&G, and Joyce's dog. All 10 to a lb Natural casing Sabretts served at the right temperature. I put G&G #2 ahead of Joyce's because the dog was served quicker. I would have put Dees in had I remembered because of the quick service as well as it being closer to where I live. If I had no restrictions on my voting, and were to vote today, it would be 1)Jerry's 2)Tony's Truck and 3) a three way tie between Dees, G&G, and Joyce's.

Most of the team liked the dogs at G&G; the chili had mixed reviews. It was a hard, dry chili that had a sand like texture.

64) Joyce's Place, rt88 Brick

In addition to the standout Sabrett dirty water dog described above, Joyce's Place also had a deep fried dog and an Italian Hot Dog on the menu. The deep fried dog was a skinless Nathans, which was flavorful and spicy. The Italian Hot Dog was on a sub roll rather than pizza bread. Nathans dogs are used for this also. It was described by the one member who had it as substantial, but not authentic due to the sub roll and french fries. The peppers were lacking. It's best to stick to the dirty water dog, although the fried Nathans dog was ok. Joyce's Place was also voted Best Fries. I'm sorry that I neglected to sample them here, so I can't give an opinion. I know that they are frozen fries from the Jersey Shore Fry Co. Still, I can't see how they would do better in the voting than a freshly made fry like Syd's or Amazing Hot Dog. One member who sampled fries at almost every place agreed that Joyce's weren't among the best we've had. I didn't sample fries all too often in order to save room for hot dogs. But those who did liked Joyce's best.

65) Jersey Joes, Port Monmouth

Jersey Joe's is a fairly small establishment specializing in Italian Hot Dogs. There are a few tables inside and a few across the street right near the Raritan Bay. Served on decent pizza bread, I found the single to be pretty good. The hot dogs were 8 to a lb Best's that were sliced down the side. Red and green peppers were good, potatoes were good as well, but cut in very small squares. This sandwich had the right amount of grease, and I really enjoyed it on this particular day. I was in the minority however, as almost everyone else didn't like this dog. Comments included dry bread (I disagreed) and soggy potatoes. I thought that there was a possibility that I might have rated this dog higher than I normally would have because I had paced myself and there was a lot of time between stops. I was still hungry and probably should have ordered a double. I have since gone back, and while I liked the dog again on the second trip, I didn't enjoy it as much as the first time. And the potatoes are too small. I would place it in the 2nd tier behind Jimmy Buffs, Tommy's, and World's First (Lous). It's probably the farthest point south in Jersey where you can enjoy a decent authentic Italian Hot Dog. JoJo's is farther south, but I didn't care much for them. Jersey Joe's is quite expensive, costing $7.50 for a double.

66) Jersey Style Hot Dogs, Rt 9 Old Bridge

Located in a large strip mall off a busy road, this restaurant looked like it was a pizzeria in its former life. From what I remember, its only been open a short time. There were 3 hot dogs on the menu. Hebrew National (which they were out of) the Thumanns deep fryer, and the Thumanns griller. The deep fried dog was pretty good; similar to the other places throughout North Jersey that serve them, although it would have been better if it spent more time in the oil. If you are unfamiliar with the restaurant serving this type of dog, you should probably request it well done. The Thumanns griller, which is a favorite of mine, definitely needed more time on the griddle. The chili here was bad. Agreed by all to be bland, it had practically no taste whatsoever. Although the brand of dog served here is very good, the place doesn't seem to be run very well and the dogs could have been prepared better. We had stopped by once before just as they were closing. And it was before the posted closing time. In my opinion, not worth coming back.
foobuc
Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/02/02 14:55:30
ok! i just made a slob of myself the last 2 days. i was at the windmill in long branch yesterday(the one that does not look like a windmill) and then today i went to the middlesex texas weiners, then to the j & g texas weiners in dunellen and then to the texas weiner 1 in plainfield. got 1 chili dog at each. i thought texas weiner 1 was the one i liked least. also, i am not sure if this place on somerset street in plainfield is coming or going but i saw 18 somerset street is a place that had paper on the windows called Paul's 2 newark style italian hot dogs!!! anyone know the scoop? is it coming or is it going bye bye???? and where is pauls#1??
foobuc
Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/02/03 20:45:20
took my mom to 1st Jerry's in elizabeth for a quick dog and then to Tommy's right there next to it and ate those in the car. She loved it so that was a success right there. it was my second time there and i thought the 2nd time was as good as the first. she bought half home and brought her potatoes home also. i think i am hot dogged out for a while now. i don't want to tip the scales in the wrong direction...
Ranger Steve
Junior Burger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/02/04 20:33:22
I've stopped at Hot Dog Johnny's quite a few times, and while the dogs are good, I wouldn't rave about them. The fries, however, are some of the best I've ever had. I think it's the peanut oil that they fry them in. I'm puzzled by their choice of cold drinks: buttermilk or birch beer. Nothing else. Fortunately, I like birch beer.
big g in joisey
Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/02/05 15:31:07
I believe they also sell coke,orange,sprite as well as other fountain soft drinks and they also serve a very good milk shake.
vocal
Junior Burger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/02/07 13:34:32
Article New York Times about Rutts Hutt one of my favorite dogs. Thought it would be of interest to you all.

HOT DIGGITY! DOG DIGGITY! -- RESTAURANTS; Two Rippers, P.C., With Relish Mother Made

By FRAN SCHUMER
Published: May 24, 1998
THE restaurant of my dreams is undoubtedly some three-star something in France; my husband's is Rutt's Hut.

Asked to describe his first encounter with the legendary hot dog stand, a friend whose tastes are usually more upscale confessed, ''I ate four hot dogs in 15 minutes.''

Rutt's Hut began life in 1928 as a hut, the inspired vision of Royal Rutt, and his wife, Anna. The one-room stand sold hot dogs and the famous mustard relish perfected, legend has it, by Mr. Hutt's mother back in Germany. The secret of Mr. Rutt's success, however, was not only the relish but also his method of cooking: instead of grilling or even boiling hot dogs, as is done at pushcarts all over Manhattan, Mr. Royal deep-fried them in fat that had reached an internal temperature of 310 degrees. The result is a hot dog that crackles, or, as my husband puts it, ''a New York hot dog on Viagra.''

Eventually, the stand metamorphosed into a Tudor-style building with a bar, a restaurant and a fast-food area that drew factory workers from all over Passaic County. But after 47 years, Mr. Royal, who by then was using a wheelchair (and who died about 15 years ago), sold the business to Nicholas Karagiorgis, who still owns the operation with his two brothers-in-law and a nephew. As stipulated by their agreement, however, the new owners had to apprentice in Rutt's kitchen. They apparently did their homework. Veterans of both the old and current regimes agree: the hot dogs still crackle, the mustard still smarts and the onion rings make their brown-paper-bag container almost translucent.

I first made the acquaintance of Rutt's in the early years of my marriage. I could always tell when my husband had come home after a late night at the office by the scent of fried onion rings wafting up to our bedroom. If he was in his car anywhere near Clifton and I wasn't, he almost invariably made a detour to Rutt's.

Recently, however, he agreed to let me accompany him on one of his nighttime visits. The following is a report from the field, a guide for first-time Rutt's visitors.

Even finding the place is tricky. Wedged in a no man's land between highways, Rutt's often eludes even repeat customers. In short, the easiest approach from anywhere is to take Route 21 to exit 10, cross back over the highway and turn left on River Road.

Once you arrive, finding your way is also daunting. Essentially, Rutt's consists of an older, larger, more formal dining room, where you can sit, and a smaller room toward the rear of the building, where you can't. If you're a lover of hot dogs -- and almost everyone who enters Rutt's is -- this is where the action is.

Inside, the room is undeniably Spartan. White tile walls, bright lights and freestanding counters give it all the warmth of a military refectory. Still, despite the bare-bones decor -- maybe even because of it -- the room has spirit. Here, with nothing more than a gravel parking lot to gaze upon, men (and occasionally a woman) radiate an unmistakable esprit de corps standing shoulder to shoulder and savoring one spicy hot dog after another. There is no better place to spend $1.50 on supper.

Before you do, however, it helps to know the jargon. A hot dog may be a hot dog elsewhere, but at Rutt's, it's a ripper (a hot dog whose skin has cracked), a weller (a well-cooked or well-done ripper), a medium (moderately well-cooked), an in-and-outer (rare) or a cremator (burned). For anyone who cares, Thumann's makes the Rutt's Hut hot dog with 60 percent beef, 35 percent pork and 5 percent cereal filling. The result is a hot dog in which you can actually taste the meat.

To go with it, sauerkraut is acceptable, but mustard and Rutt's mustard relish (both in canisters on the counter) are de rigueur. Cheese is available, as is Rutt's pleasantly spicy chili, but one regular told me, ''It's considered in poor taste to put these on your ripper.''

Boylan's Birch Beer is a popular choice among soft drinks. When ordering others, however, you need to know their odd nicknames. A Marvis is a Yoo-Hoo (Marvis was the name of the chocolate drink manufactured by a nearby factory, which Rutt's sold), and a Howdy (for reasons that no one seems to remember) is orange soda. P.C., of course, means paper cup and is synonymous with the other slang for takeout, which is traveling (as in ''two rippers and a Howdy traveling.'')

AMONG side dishes, the french fries are ordinary; the onion rings are transcendant. Mr. Karagiorgis and his colleagues use Spanish onions and their own batter, their contribution to the Rutt's mystique.

In recent years, he and his partners have also broadened the menu. It offers breakfast (eggs), non-hot-dog lunches (hamburgers, tuna, roast beef with gravy) and diner-style entrees like roast turkey, even duck. But although the Greek salad has fresh anchovies and the homemade rice pudding is creamy and lush, the reason to go is the ripper.

Just as my husband and I were leaving, a customer, having finished the two hot dogs on his plate, approached the counter with a request for ''one more hot dog, please.''

''You hear that a lot here,'' my husband said.

Rutt's Hut
417 River Road, Clifton
(973) 779-8615

VERY GOOD
ATMOSPHERE Men eating.
SERVICE Men -- and women -- working.
RECOMMENDED DISHES Hot dog with sauerkraut, mustard and mustard relish; onion rings; rice pudding.
PRICE RANGE Appetizers and side dishes: $1.30 to $5.25. Entrees, $1.50 to $7.50. Desserts, 85 cents to $1.65.
HOURS Sundays through Thursdays, 8 A.M. to 11 P.M.; Fridays and Saturdays to 1 A.M.
CREDIT CARDS Not accepted.
RESERVATIONS Not accepted.
WHEELCHAIR ACCESS Everything on one level.
RATINGS Poor to Satisfactory, Good, Very Good, Excellent,
Extraordinary.

Ratings reflect the reviewer's reaction to food, ambiance and service, with price taken into consideration. Menu listings and prices are subject to change.




John Fox
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/02/08 07:11:47
Vocal,

Thanks for the article. Some years back, I read someone's description of Rutts Hut who quoted from this article. I remember specifically the part about the dog being 60% beef, 35% pork, and 5% cereal filling. I don't know where the author got her information, but this is definitely not true. I know the plant manager at Thumanns and have been on a tour of the factory. I was told that the Thumanns griller sold in supermarkets is 3 parts pork to 1 part beef. This would make it 75% pork. The deep fry dog that is served at Rutts and other places has an even higher pork content. I wasn't given a number, just told that there is more pork than in the griller. Pork fries up better than beef. Also, there is no cereal filling in any Thumanns hot dog.

The deep fry dog isn't sold in stores, but I've gotten 5 lb bags in the past. The ingredients are listed in order from the most to the least. The first 3 ingredients listed are pork, water, and beef. So there is very little beef in the deep fryers. Contrast this with the ingredient list on a package of Thumanns all beef franks. Beef, and water are the first 2 ingredients listed. No pork.
big g in joisey
Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/02/08 13:10:18
Hi Vocal, nice post but John Fox is right again,the Thumanns dog is mostly pork that is served at Rutt's. I have sometimes found 2 different types of 5lb packages at some wholesale stores and was told by the butcher that the first ingredient listed is usually the most prevelant in the hotdog in this case either listing pork or beef. One other thing is that Rutt's Hutt will not put their Chili on their hotdogs,they only serve it in a cup or bowl.
ken8038
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/02/08 21:21:32
My wife, son and I made a quick trip up to Jimmy Buff's in East Hanover for lunch yesterday. Sorry to say, but we gave it a totally mixed review.

The food was just fine. I had an Italian Dog (which I thought was a little small, but then again it was only $3.95, I think), and a pushcart dog with great hot onions. My wife was somewhat dismayed to find that her cheeseburger was served in the style of an Italian Hot Dog, with the fried onions and peppers and potatoes. Way too much grease for her. My son had the Chicken finger basket with fries, which he liked, but then again he likes the chicken fingers at his college too.

The problem was with everything else. First of all, it was literally about 45 degrees in the place. When someone ahead of me on line asked the counter lady about it, she just shrugged and said it was because people keep opening the door. (So what's the solution, not let any customers in??). We rushed thru our food just to get out of there into the warm car, so I can't say any of us really enjoyed it.

Also, the soda was awful. I'm particular about my draft beer and draft soda, rule #1 should be to clean the damn tubes every day. And the soda was way overpriced, I know there are free refills, but the tiny flimsy plastic cups they give you meant like 4 trips to the soda machine. And no lids. My wife is convinced that it was not true Pepsi syrup coming from the Pepsi spigot.

The ordering system needs work also, it was very busy when we were there, and no one seemed to know who was supposed get what order, the customers were pretty much left to figure it our for themselves, everything was just placed on the pickup counter.

I'll give it another shot, like in May or something.
Benzee
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/02/10 12:27:01
Hello all ,

Its good to get these reviews , especially the mixed ones . I try to give the good and less favorable points when I visit an establishment .
Excellent review , very in depth . Almost felt like I was sitting there drinking the pepsi also .

As far as Rutts goes , great dog , John is right on the money as usual .
One question about Rutts , has anyone tried to imitate their relish . Best I've ever had .

Benzee
eggsactley
Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/02/10 19:18:55
Besides having one of the best dogs in the Garden State, Rutt's also has the fastest service.
John Fox
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/02/11 09:09:23
quote:
Originally posted by Benzee

Hello all ,

Its good to get these reviews , especially the mixed ones . I try to give the good and less favorable points when I visit an establishment .
Excellent review , very in depth . Almost felt like I was sitting there drinking the pepsi also .

As far as Rutts goes , great dog , John is right on the money as usual .
One question about Rutts , has anyone tried to imitate their relish . Best I've ever had .

Benzee



I've been to the same hot dog restaurant and have had completely different experiences as far as food and service go. Some favorites have changed for the worse and some that were either mediocre or average have gotten better. Of course, when I've had a bad experience, I'm reluctant to go back. Unless I've been there before and know that the place is usually good. Jerry's in Elizabeth for example. One of my favorite hot dogs. But on occasion you will get a stale roll or bad dog. If this happened to me for the first time, I would be hesitant to return. When I have returned after a bad experience, it's been because I've heard that the place has gotten better. Maybe from someone on this forum. This summer, I went to 87 different places, many of which I've been to before and didn't like. But because it was on our schedule, I went again and found that some had improved.

I had once heard about a place that had awful chili. I went, and agreed that it was bad. I decided to never have it again. Apparently the owner must have figured out that customers didn't like the chili, so he changed it. I only found out because one day someone had an extra dog and gave it to me. It was from this place and had chili on it. I was surprised that it was so good. Still, because of the many great hot dog joints in Jersey, I'm not likely to go back to a place unless I've heard from someone that they've improved.

As for Ken's experience at Jimmy Buff's, hopefully the owner or someone who knows the owner will read his post and the issues he raised can be addressed. I was there twice and don't remember being cold, but I asked my wife who went with me the second time. She agreed that it was cold. As for the soda, we both had bottles of Stewarts Root Beer, so I can't comment on the fountain soda. Many Italian Hot Dog joints serve hamburgers, sausage sandwiches, and cheesesteaks the same way; with peppers, potatoes, and onions. Some call their hamburger an Italian Hamburger. I'm sure you can get a regular one if you ask. I haven't had chicken fingers or anything other than hot dogs, so I can't comment on them. I've had the single Italian Hot Dog, which was top of the line. The footlong, in my opinion, is the best hot dog available. It is the 5 to a lb Best natural casing dog served at Syd's. But, as I mentioned in an earlier post, it is fried first, then charbroiled on a real charcoal, rather than gas grill. You can request it boiled, then charbroiled like Syd's. The quarter pound dog, which is a Schickhaus, is griddled, then charbroiled. Another excellent dog.

I would definitely give Jimmy Buffs another try. On Tuesdays you can get a double Italian Hot Dog for the price of a single.
foobuc
Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/02/12 18:37:16
had my worst hot dog ever yesterday at a place called "Friends" in Plainfield or North Plainfield. I should have known when i walked in but anyway avoid the Texas weiners there by all means. i ordered 2 and they were "nassy" so nasty that i had to drive to Texas Weiners 1 and order 2 chili dogs there just to get the bad taste out of my mouth from the 2 i had at Friends!!! anyone know the story behind the "Paul's 2 Newark Italian Style Hot Dog" place on Somerset St. yet? i was by there and the paper was still up. Is there a Paul's in Newark on Clinton St.???? John, have you ever been there?
ken8038
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/02/12 18:45:11
<<I was there twice and don't remember being cold, but I asked my wife who went with me the second time. She agreed that it was cold.

John, thanks for your comments. The day we went was one of those 15 degree days last week. It was so cold in there you could actually see your breath, even in the side room where we ate.

You're probably right about how these places serve a cheeseburger, but I still think that if a cheeseburger is going to be anything other than what I would call a normal chesseburger, there should be some mention of that fact on the menu. But we'll know better next time. I will go back, as I said, but when the weather warms up.
big g in joisey
Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/02/13 01:24:14
There have probably been a few places to try and imitate Rutt's relish,but,for the most part I believe it's a regional appreciation for this particular topping.One of my friends has lived in Clifton for more than twenty years and never even tried Rutt's until last year
and was impressed with the hotdogs and their unique relish,he found the taste very similiar to a type of relish he had when he was living in Germany. He inquired about it's origin but the counter person was not about to divulge it's ingredients,I told him,they are probably asked about a couple hundred times a week but to no avail.
John Fox
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/02/13 05:58:51
quote:
Originally posted by foobuc

had my worst hot dog ever yesterday at a place called "Friends" in Plainfield or North Plainfield. I should have known when i walked in but anyway avoid the Texas weiners there by all means. i ordered 2 and they were "nassy" so nasty that i had to drive to Texas Weiners 1 and order 2 chili dogs there just to get the bad taste out of my mouth from the 2 i had at Friends!!! anyone know the story behind the "Paul's 2 Newark Italian Style Hot Dog" place on Somerset St. yet? i was by there and the paper was still up. Is there a Paul's in Newark on Clinton St.???? John, have you ever been there?


I don't know anything about Paul's on Somerset St. What town? I have been to Paul's on Clinton St. a few years ago and had a very good Italian Hot Dog. I drive by there occasionally when I go to Best Provisions. I've been meaning to go back, but they are always closed it seems. I don't think they open until early afternoon. That will be my next destination when I have a weekday off.
foobuc
Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/02/13 06:49:23
the Paul's 2 that i saw is off Route 22 onto Somerset St.
(i was headed west on 22 so i had to take the Somerset St. jughandle) Take Somerset St. down towards i think what is downtown No. Plainfield. It is on the left hand side on the corner right before you hit the immediate main shopping area. Like i said it looks like it is new and coming soon but i could be wrong....
foobuc
Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/02/13 21:40:26
went to that hotdog place off monmouth st in red bank today. i had a large grilled dog and a big cup of chili! dog was pretty good but was on a hoagie type roll which i don't enjoy as much but the chili was really good! they say the soup there is better than the dogs. my next trip i will have to get some soup. it is right in my work territory so i will have to check it out more often.
Jimmy Buff
Junior Burger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/02/14 00:27:58
Originally posted by ken8038

My wife, son and I made a quick trip up to Jimmy Buff's in East Hanover for lunch yesterday. Sorry to say, but we gave it a totally mixed review.

The food was just fine. I had an Italian Dog (which I thought was a little small, but then again it was only $3.95, I think), and a pushcart dog with great hot onions. My wife was somewhat dismayed to find that her cheeseburger was served in the style of an Italian Hot Dog, with the fried onions and peppers and potatoes. Way too much grease for her. My son had the Chicken finger basket with fries, which he liked, but then again he likes the chicken fingers at his college too.

The problem was with everything else. First of all, it was literally about 45 degrees in the place. When someone ahead of me on line asked the counter lady about it, she just shrugged and said it was because people keep opening the door. (So what's the solution, not let any customers in??). We rushed thru our food just to get out of there into the warm car, so I can't say any of us really enjoyed it.

Also, the soda was awful. I'm particular about my draft beer and draft soda, rule #1 should be to clean the damn tubes every day. And the soda was way overpriced, I know there are free refills, but the tiny flimsy plastic cups they give you meant like 4 trips to the soda machine. And no lids. My wife is convinced that it was not true Pepsi syrup coming from the Pepsi spigot.

The ordering system needs work also, it was very busy when we were there, and no one seemed to know who was supposed get what order, the customers were pretty much left to figure it our for themselves, everything was just placed on the pickup counter.

I'll give it another shot, like in May or something.

Ken, as owner of the East Hanover location I would like to apologize for the temperature in the store, the heat was not working properly and we were using portable heaters until PSEG could fix it, but at no time did the temperature go under 62. My mother was correct in saying that every time the front door opened we would get a blast of cold air. Believe me she was colder than anyone, she was there 8 hours.
As for the burger. My menu has 4 panels, the first panel is Italian
style sandwiches which come single and double. The second panel are the pustcart dogs the third panel are the charcoal broiled burgers which are called Wimpy's. If you ordered a single burger it would come out as an Italian style burger just as the picture shows. If you ordered a Wimpy burger you would have gotten a charcoal broiled burger just as that picture shows. It is quite clear.
As far as the soda, I must admit you are the first person to complain about free-refills, and if you doubt that I am using Pepsi or any other name brand soda feel free to look behind the bar, all the canisters are in plain sight and clearly marked.
As far as the system goes, when you order you get the bottom stub of the guest check which contains a set of numbers, when your order is ready your number is called, you come to the eat-in window and pick up your order, sounds easy enough doesn't it?
I have been doing this my whole life and my number 1 priority is to make sure you leave happy and full and if I didn't do that than I didn't do my job. If I am present at your next visit please introduce yourself and I would gladly buy you lunch for my only means of advertising is word of mouth. My slogan is if your not satisfied tell me and if your are tell others because the best compliment I could receive is for you to tell others about Jimmy Buff's.

Thanks for letting me clarify some things.
Benzee
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/02/14 12:16:15
Hello all ,

I think its is great that Jimmy Buff himself would post his reply on one less than favorable experience at his place .

I for one will be visiting in the near future .
Closest to the GWB ? I know there are four locations .
Can I double a visit with another Dog establishment nearby.

Thanks all

Benzee
ScreenBear
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/02/14 13:00:53
Benzee,
The East Hanover location is the newest, and the one with the greatest variety of selections. It's about 30 miles from the George Washington Bridge. I doubt any of the other locations are any closer. Amazing Hot Dog in Verona, N.J., is about 9 miles away from the Jimmy Buff East Hanover store.
The Bear
Benzee
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/02/14 14:51:51
Screenbear ,
Thanks buddy . I actually did a mapquest of the West Orange location and it shows 30 minutes and 23 miles from the GWB.
I will have to stop there one day after work .

I will also be checking out Johnny and Hanges in Fairlawn off of Rt 4 and hopefuuly Libbys Lunch in Paterson and Walters of Mamaroneck in the coming weeks .

Benzee
big g in joisey
Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/02/14 17:04:36
Hiram's in Fort Lee is right on Palaisades ave,about 3 minutes from the GWB,one of the best in the state,voted #1 Chili dog by the swat munchmobile from the Star Ledger.
ken8038
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/02/14 17:35:58
<<Thanks for letting me clarify some things.>.

No, the thanks is from me to you, that was a very considerate and detailed reply. It's so unusual for an owner not to take an attitude when hearing of complaints. And I'm not the type to just go off and complain about every little thing.

Mine complaints were legitimate, at least for that particular day and that time. But now that I know the ropes and how to look at the menu, I'm sure my next visit will be much better. And as I said in my original post, I do plan to go back.

I do wish you the best of luck, keep up the hands-on approach. Thanks again. --Ken
ScreenBear
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/02/14 19:24:40
quote:
Originally posted by big g in joisey

Hiram's in Fort Lee is right on Palaisades ave,about 3 minutes from the GWB,one of the best in the state,voted #1 Chili dog by the swat munchmobile from the Star Ledger.


Yep, most certainly...Hiram's. Forgot about that. My favorite chili dog. Indeed. By all means.
The Bear
eggsactley
Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/02/14 21:20:22
and you can have a nice cold tap beer with that chili dog at Hirams!
Matt Gleason
Double Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/02/15 08:45:54
I'm surprised there aren't more owners in here!
Benzee
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/02/15 22:10:24
Hello all ,

I visit Hirams on occasion and consider the Chili dogs some of the best I've eaten .
Stopped by Johnny and Hanges first time today for two all the way .
Excellent .

Benzee
big g in joisey
Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/02/15 22:41:22
Benzee, did you make it up to Jimmy Buffs in East Hanover,if so, how was it compared to some of the other places in Jersey.
Benzee
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/02/17 08:47:51
Hello all ,
I will be visitng Jimmy Buffs next week one day and will give you all a report upon my return .
Johnny and Hanges was a fabulous place , right off the highway for easy on , easy off access .
Two all the way baby
Chopped onions , mustard and chili .
Excellent !!

Benzee
John Fox
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/02/18 09:27:26
Benzee,

Enjoy Jimmy Buffs. But bring an appetite! Especially if you plan on hitting other places. At the very least, let me suggest that you try their footlong, which is the same dog that Syd's uses. Here it is fried and then finished off on a real charcoal grill. Unique and very good. In fact, very good is an understatement. Also try the quarter pound Schickhaus dog. Many hot dog lovers consider this to be the finest dog. Or at least the finest beef and pork dog. I have a feeling that many of the New York contingent will love this dog. It certainly rivals the dog at the Galloping Hill Inn. It's prepared on a griddle and then put on the charcoal grill. And ask for chili. Instead of putting it on your dog, they give you a small container that you can put on yourself. It's slightly sweet and peppery. Unique and very good. I've heard it described as bolognese style; whatever that means.

Jimmy Buffs is first and formost an Italian Hot Dog restaurant. But this location serves the dogs mentioned above as well as a dirty water dog that I haven't sampled yet. It's an 8 to a lb natural casing Best's. Same as Jerry's in Elizabeth. There are other options besides hot dogs, but for the first time it's probably better to stick to dogs. I had 2 footlongs and a single Italian dog first time. I would suggest the footlong and quarter pounder. And if you have room for more, either a single or double Italian Hot Dog. Let us know about your trip there.

On another note, I found out 2 interesting tidbits of information. Schickhaus, which is a brand name for hot dogs and bologna, was originally a New Jersey company. It was later sold. I though it was just a private label brand made for the Jersey market. The brand is produced by Grote & Weigel of Conn. It's a different recipe than the dogs produced by G & W for the Galloping Hill Inn and the G&W Griddle Franks that are used by Manny's Texas weiners and other Texas Weiner joints in and around Plainfield.

I also found out that the dogs at Rutts Hut are fried in beef tallow as are the fries. Almost every place that deep fries anything switched to vegetable oil years ago for health reasons. But anything tastes better fried in beef tallow. This is one factor that accounts for the dogs at Rutts tasting better than other places that use the same Thumanns deep fry dog. McDonalds use to fry their delicious french fries in beef tallow. I think it's silly to use health concerns as a reason to switch from beef tallow. Cost, maybe. But hot dogs and french fries aren't exactly health foods to begin with.
John Fox
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/02/19 10:17:14
I've heard from an excellent source that Rutt's Hut fries their dogs and french fries in beef tallow. As I've mentioned in the past, people who own and/or work at hot dog restaurants have a habit of stretching the truth. And I can understand their motivation for keeping their competitors in the dark. They would not want the competition to know why their dogs taste better even though they all may be using the same brand.

In the past I've had someone from Rutt's tell me that their relish is homemade (this is true) as well as their mustard (this isn't true). I was told by someone else working there what brand of mustard they use. This person stopped talking when one of the owners walked by. I've even seen a big jar of mustard with the label on it at Rutts.

Rutt's isn't the only place that isn't totally forthcoming when it comes to their product. Others claim they make their own dogs on premise, have theirs made to a special recipe, make their own chili when they don't, etc. Take what you hear with a grain of salt.
foobuc
Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/02/20 19:58:34
yeah i guess that makes sense John. whatever Rutt's cooks it in it does not matter as they are great! on a sidebar, i went to Windmill in Long Branch yesterday and i went to J's Beef for 2 Chicago minus the onions today. if a regualr poster on here was in front of me reading the paper and saying "oh boy" every now and then he was eating a few chicago style too. it was right at the end of my slow selling day about 4:10PM. . Boy those are good. Different but good!
foobuc
Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/02/23 07:13:00
i had to go to ft lee yesterday to meet w/ my brother and go to a wake in forest hills ny so we went to hiram's before to get a hot dog. i had one and did not do it w/ chili because i did not want to have chili breath when i went to the wake. That was a really good dog and bun! i will be back there when i can eat about 4 more and can get chili on it!
big g in joisey
Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/02/23 17:23:49
Schickhaus at one time had a factory in Kearny,NJ,on harrison ave / Newark turnpike,long gone now. I believe you can still get this great tasting frank at Max's in Long Branch or Texas Weiner's on Rt.22 West
in Plainfield, I remember the sign in TW's for their hamburgers 100% beef from Schickhaus,the hotdogs were a beef and pork blend.
umbada
Hamburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/02/23 18:08:03
An excellent combination for the deep fryer is half beef tallow and half peanut oil. Maybe Rutts uses half or some other portion of vegetable oil along with beef fat?
eggsactley
Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/02/28 21:48:35
Does anyone here have any knowledge of the fate of J's Beef in Linden? I stopped there today craving a Chicago dog at about 2:30 and they were closed.
foobuc
Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/03/01 07:18:39
oh no. i hope there is a reason that is not too serious. i was just getting to like those dogs!
John Fox
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/03/01 07:19:02
Fourteenth outing, 8/25

67) John's Texas Weiners, Newark

A small old fashioned luncheonette serving the smallest Texas Weiner I've seen. Smaller than even a 12 to a lb dog. It was a skinless Sabrett all beef dog prepared on a griddle. The chili was unbalanced and had an overly cinnamony flavor. Underwhelming.

68) Karl Ehmer's, Hillsdale

Karl Ehmer's is the name of a butcher shop in Queens. It has been there a long time and eventually expanded and opened up other stores in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. Some have since closed, but you can check their website to find their current locations and other places that sell their franks and sausages. Everything is made in the Queens location and sent to their stores.

The Hillsdale Karl Ehmer's has a cart outside of the store that serves hot dogs, bratwurst, weisswurst, and other sausages. This cart has a griddle, a grill, and a compartment for water. You can get your dog or sausage any way you like, but if you don't specify, it will come prepared on the griddle. As for the hot dogs, you have a choice of all beef or German style beef and pork. Both are excellent. I had been here once previously. I had both dogs and bought some at the store to bring home. On this particular visit I discovered that the German frank sold for take home and served at the cart is not produced by Karl Ehmer, but rather by Kochers Meats in Ridgefield. All of the other products are made by Ehmers.

The all beef dog was excellent. A typical New York/New Jersey Jewish style all beef dog well spiced. 6 to a lb with a tough natural casing. Definitely one of the better beef dogs available in the area. But the German style dog from Kochers that was served at the cart was a standout. It took 3rd place for best grilled dog. Unfortunately there was only one category for grilled dogs rather than 2; I tried to get one for all beef and one for beef/pork. Had there been a beef/pork category, this dog would have taken first place. The 2 that finished above Ehmers (Syd's and Boulevard Drinks) are both all beef dogs. It is also 6 to a lb, with a natural casing. The mix here is 70% beef, 30% pork. No garlic or paprika. Similar to many of the better European butcher shop or pork store hot dogs in that it is fresh, high quality, tender, and loosely packed. I've compared this dog to others in this style and it is better. It is right up there with Thumanns griller. You can get this dog to take home at this location or at Kochers. I was to Kochers and was told that their dogs are sold at between 30 and 40 different stores, delis, and hot dog restaurants. Definitely one of the best hot dogs tasted all summer.

69) Hank's Franks, route 46 Lodi

Hank's is a small hot dog restaurant located on busy rt 46. One of the more well known places in Jersey, although it was my first time there. The dog is a 12 to a lb natural casing all beef Sabrett served dirty water style. There was a line when we went, but service was fast and efficient. They have enough people working there and they prepared the dogs quickly. Although small, they were served hot and had a decent snap. Above average spicy chili.

70) Danny's Dogs, Garfield

Tiny little place serving 11 to a lb boiled Sabretts. Run of the mill. A thick chili that was too spicy for my taste.

71) Teddy's, Paterson

Teddy's is a converted bar that is located in a dingy industrial area. An obscure place that I had never heard of before, and am sure that not too many people know of. We went here based on an e-mail recommending it. The women on the team complained about the dirty restroom and were reluctant to eat here. It has the atmosphere of an old neighborhood bar, which it was in a previous life. As for the dogs, I was glad to discover that Teddy's served something a little different. I was expecting another small dirty water dog. What we got was a natural casing 6 to a lb Sabrett beef dog that was deep fried. And a great deal at $1.50. This seems to be the going rate for a dog half the size. I liked the dog. Sabrett is a tasty dog, and this one was fried long enough. Good and different. I don't remember what the chili tasted like, but my notes said thin, tasty chili. One of the team members called the chili "mushy, bland, baby food chili."

72) Hot Dog Hut, Wayne

Nice cozy little place off the beaten path. Back to the small dirty water Sabretts. 12 to a lb natural casing served fresh and hot enough. Like Big Daddy's, you could get a variety of hot sauces. I passed. They have 2 kinds of chili. One was hot, the other mild. I don't remember if I sampled the hot chili, but I did like the mild. It was beefy and tomatoey. A little like beefaroni.

73) Circle Grill, Netcong

The Circle Grill has been at this location for a couple of years. It used to be the Cozy Drive In, and was a well known landmark in the area. A nice looking clean restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating. It was a nice day so we ate outside. The dog here is a natural casing Boars Head beef/pork frank (about 7 to a lb)that is deep fried. Average dog; I would have preferred the Boars Head beef dog. Thin Texas Weiner sauce that was ok. Decent place, nothing worth going out of your way for.

74) Big D's Dogs, Dover

A truck parked in the back of a huge parking lot. 12 to a lb natural casing Sabrett. Same as most others. The chili was tasteless and had a lot of onions in it. Some liked the hot onions served here. If I was in the area, I would pass on this place and look for the Dover Grill which had much better hot dogs.

75) Stewart's, Rt 46 Rockaway Township

This Stewart's served the same skinless 8 to a lb Haydu beef/pork frank that the Stewart's in Kearney did. And what all Stewart's locations served years ago until recently when the owners started serving what they wanted. According to someone I spoke with, these dogs were better when they were made in Newark before the company was sold. Fairly bland dog, average chili.
John Fox
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/03/01 07:24:09
quote:
Originally posted by eggsactley

Does anyone here have any knowledge of the fate of J's Beef in Linden? I stopped there today craving a Chicago dog at about 2:30 and they were closed.


I spoke with Jack this morning. They are open. Had to close for a little while yesterday due to an emergency.
John Fox
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/03/02 12:17:27
Fifteenth outing, 8/27

76) Nathan's, Coney Island

Although we set out to judge and evaluate New Jersey Hot Dogs, we decided to make a trip into New York. I was anxiously awaiting this day as I hadn't been to New York for hot dogs in a long time, and believe it or not had never been to the original Nathan's in Coney Island.

The dogs served at Nathans are their own brand produced under contract by a company called SMG Meats. Supposedly from the original 1916 recipe created by Nathan Handwerker's wife. The dog is an 8 to a lb natural casing kosher style dog prepared on a griddle. As mentioned elsewhere, there are many Nathans locations, some good, some not. Many claim that none are as good as the original, which is considered the ultimate hot dog shrine. Probably the most famous hot dog restaurant in the world. I was glad to finally see it for myself.

I've had the dog served here many times at home. It is available at certain supermarkets. Most only sell the skinless version. I've also had it at other Nathans locations, mostly the Menlo Park Mall, which serves a great dog. It is prepared perfectly. I was curious to see how it would compare to the Original. Well, I found out what I had suspected all along. Using the same dog prepared the same way produces the same results. Which is a terrific hot dog. Prepared well on the griddle, the dog was hot, crisp, and bursting with flavor. Nathans is one of the best all beef dogs you can get (definitely in my top 5) so I enjoyed this one. But I will say that it is no better than what I get at Menlo Park. In fact, the mall location is always crowded and the dogs are served very hot. But you can't beat the Coney Island Nathans for ambience. Great dog; I had mine with just mustard. According to the rest of the team, the chili was thick and had beans, but was not distinctive. The fries (which are usually great at Nathans) were soggy. All in all, a great experience. I'm happy that I finally got to visit the ultimate hot dog shrine.

77) Katz's, Houston St. Manhattan

If Nathans is the ultimate hot dog joint, then Katz's is the ultimate deli. According to many, they make the best pastrami sandwich in the world. But we were here for hot dogs. The place itself is huge, with a great atmosphere and pictures of celebrities all over the place. The dog served here is a natural casing all beef Sabrett that is prepared on a small griddle in the front, all the way to the right of the counter near the window. These dogs are slightly bigger than the 10 to a lb dogs served at Papaya King and Gray's, but a little smaller than the natural casing Sabretts you can get in the store, which to me, are a little mushy. I would say about 9 to a lb. On this visit the dogs were done right. This isn't always the case, as I've had them undercooked. Sabrett is also in my top 5 for beef dogs, and in my opinion, taste best grilled. The dogs we had today were exceptional, both at Nathans and here. I like the spicing slightly better in the Sabrett dog that we had at Katz's. Everyone else liked the dogs as well. I had mine with mustard, those who had the chili said it was awful, with one member calling it the worst she had.

78) Crif Dogs, St. Marks Place, Manhattan

Crif's is a small, narrow little restaurant that you have to walk down a flight of stairs to get to. Dimly lit, it's like being in a cave. But I liked the atmosphere. The guys who opened Crif's about 6 or 7 years ago modeled it after Rutt's Hut in Clifton. One of the former owners told me so in an e-mail several years back. The Thumanns deep fry dog is used here. They were smart enough to anticipate that this dog might not catch on with New Yorkers who are used to a bolder, more well seasoned beef dog, so they also offer one that they call the New Yorker. It is an 8 to a lb natural casing all beef Thumanns. Micro brews are also available on tap.

Crif's has a variety of toppings including bacon. I didn't have any on my dogs, but those who did liked the bacon and other toppings. The beef dog was prepared on the griddle and spent a sufficient amount of time there. It was a very good dog. But a notch below all of the other fine beef dogs we had this day. The basic Crif Dog (deep fried Thumanns) was a decent Rutt's Hut knockoff. For those in New York looking to get a similar deep fried dog to what we have in Jersey, Crifs is the place to go.

79) Papaya King, 14th St. and 7th Ave. Manhattan

Depending on who you speak to, either Nathan's, Katz's, Papaya King, or Gray's Papaya serves the quintessential New York Hot Dog. Each has its devotees. All are very popular. While Nathan's and Katz's have a big menu, Papaya King and Gray's serve mainly hot dogs. Service is quick, and there is no seating. This Papaya King is a fairly new location. The dogs here are 10 to a lb Sabretts that are prepared on a griddle with foil on top. The team didn't like this dog. It was called too salty. I disagreed. The dog was fine. In fact, there is little to no difference in the dogs served at Katz's, Papaya King, and Gray's. All serve the same recipe griddled natural casing Sabrett. Depending on what day you go, one may be better than the other in terms of freshness of the bun, time spent on the griddle, etc. I haven't been to these places enough times to gauge their consistency. I do know that you should specify well done at Katz's because sometimes they are under cooked. My dog at Papaya King was tasty and well prepared, but the bun fell apart.

80) Gray's Papaya, 8th Ave. 37th or 38th St. Manhattan

Same set up and dog as Papaya King, which Gray's is a knockoff of. Nicholas Gray opened his first location in 1973, which was actually a Papaya King. There are a few spread out through Manhattan. Very similar, as I said to Papaya King, but the drinks aren't as good. The prices are cheaper, though. I don't recall the exact amount, but for 2 or 3 dollars and change, you get 2 dogs and a Papaya drink. Another great dog, and here the bun didn't fall apart.

These dogs were very good in my opinion. In Jersey the Nathan's in Menlo Park is as good as Coney Island, minus the atmosphere. And Boulevard Drinks in Jersey City was considered to be better than Katz's and the Papaya places by most of the team because the dogs seemed prepared better and fresher. Dover Grill also serves the same dog as these places. I can now add Papaya King in Clifton, N.J. I would prefer this place to those mentioned because the owner/manager is there and is a stickler for detail, which means there should be more consistency to the product. The dog itself is bigger than Boulevard Drinks (12 to a lb), prepared as well, and is more convenient to get to.

Since my favorite beef dog is Best's, I do like places such as Jimmy Buff's in E.Hanover, Syd's, and Jerry's that serve this brand of natural casing dog a little better than those mentioned above. But again, sometimes I'm in the mood for a spicier dog. Both Nathan's and Sabrett are a little spicier. It was definitely a fun experience taking the Munchmobile to New York.



Akavar
Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/03/03 14:38:00
My First Visit to Charlie's Pool Room

I finally made my first trip to Charlie's Pool Room in Alpha, NJ today. What a place! Is this the quintessential roadfood palce or not?

Here are some of the Stern's guidelines for a good roadfood place that you will find at Charlie's:

1) Owners on site.
2) Serves a unique dish.
3) Concentrates on what they do best.
4) Limited and/or unique menu. (I could not find a menu - they only make hot dogs three different ways.)
5) Makes their special dish in a unique manner. (When was the last time you had a hot dog called a "mealie"?)

I think the only thing they were missing was the placement of a hot dog on the roof of the building.

Charlie's is a unique place. You walk in and wonder what is this dark and obviously old place. You look into what appears to be a dining room and and there is an old pool table covered with a cloth. Then you notice a few long benches along the walls, but the only place to eat is at a single large round table with about eight chairs around it.

You don't see any place to order or anything that resembles a kitchen. A voice calls out from the back "I'll be with you in a moment" because they have heard you squeaking the floorboards as you investigated this funny little place.

Shortly, Joe Fencz walks out from the bowels of the building to take your order. Joe is a friendly man, so he asks you your name, shakes your hand, and seems to want to get to know you personally. This a Saturday morning just before noon and there is no one else in the place.

After you order two hot dogs, Joe asks you how you want them. Since all you seem to remember is that they make a great relish (properly referred to as a sauce) you ask Joe what your choices are.

He explains that you can have your dog with their home made sauce, sauce and onions, or sauce, onions, and hot peppers. John explains that this last version is known as a "mealie". You order one with sauce and onions and the other as a mealie. You ask for pickle with both. The total cost is $3.65.

John Fencz, Joe's brother also comes out of the back of the building to get your order from Joe. John then heads back to wherever the kitchen is located to prepare your hot dogs.

As you wait for your hot dogs you talk Chicago style hot dogs with Joe. Joe seems to know hot dogs and is very enthusiastic about them. He begins to mention that some of their customers have come because they saw his place on hollyeats.com. You mention that you saw them there but that you also read about them in the NJ Hot Dog forum on roadfood.com.

Joe says that they do not have a computer, but that he knows John Fox and has heard of the NJ Hot Dog forum. You say that you have met Joe on the most recent NJ Hot Dog Tour.

Gradually you and Joe move into the dining area and settle at the round table to talk about hot dogs, roadfood, and eating while traveling. John finishes preparing your hot dogs and gives them to John, who serves them to you.

As you eat these amazing hot dogs, John comes out and listens to your continuing conversation with Joe. As you munch your dogs you notice that the "mealie" is the better dog. The unique sauce is great, but the addition of a few thin slivers of cherry peppers adds the slightest bit of heat that makes this a world class hot dog.

You also notice that you are taking your time and savoring your conversation with Joe and that John has joined the two of you. John listens intently as you speak. You gradually include John in the conversation. You also notice that your dogs are still warm.

John makes the dogs by slowly pan frying them in a little bit of oil until they are cooked through and have a slight chew. They are then placed in a steamed bun and covered in the warm sauce. This makes for a tasty dog that stays warm a lot longer than most.

When a few more customers come in, Joe gets up to take their order. Joe asks John to look for the guest book because he wants you to sign it. As John looks for the guest book he explains that Joe is the chef and makes the sauce. John says he is the cook and makes the dogs. It seems like a wonderful partnership to me.

You start to sign the guest book as you leave and Joe shakes your hand twice more. He is a very friendly man and you vow to yourself to return and have two more hot dogs as soon as you can. In the meantime John has headed off to the kitchen to make the hot dogs for the customers that just walked in.

As you drive south along the Delaware River on your way home you savor the entire experience. For about ten minutes you can continue to taste the tingle of the sauce and peppers on your tongue. And you congratulate yourself on having another great roadfood experience.

I urge every reader of this forum to go to Charlie's Pool Room to enjoy this wonderful hot dog experience. I hope you have as much fun as I did.
John Fox
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/03/03 15:24:51
Akavar,
Wonderful review! Charlies Pool Room is the most unique hot dog joint in Jersey; maybe anywhere. They also have a small cult following. I never had the sauce since it contains onions, but everyone I know who has loves it. Joe said that without the sauce, it would be just another dog. I disagree. I have mine with mustard and pickles. It is a much better than average deep fried dog this way; the special sauce puts it over the top. Every hot dog lover should make it a point to visit Charlies Pool Room.
John Fox
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/03/03 17:01:46
Sixteenth and final outing, 8/29

81) HotDog Arena, Hamilton

This marks our final trip. Because the final wrap up in the Star Ledger was the most comprehensive article, Pete Genovese had to devote a lot of time to it. On top of that, he had to go to the 5 winners in each category to interview them for the article. With the deadline fast approaching, our final trip was not covered in the Ledger. But you can read about it here.

The HotDog Arena is a fairly small luncheonette with a few tables. This is an example of a place that tries to do too many things, and as a result doesn't do a great job with any of them. On their menu, they have a description of a number of different dogs, each with their own name and description. Some that were on the menu have been discontinued. The 4 that were available on this day were: 1) a Nathan's skinless dog that was prepared on a roller grill. A tasty dog even prepared this way, but a natural casing Nathan's on a griddle would have been much better. 2) A Fiesta Dog. This is a big Berk's beef/pork dog filled with cheese and spicy jalepeno pepper. We had the same dog at Jimmy's on the Delaware. This dog may have also been prepared on the roller grill, but I'm not sure. 3) Hatfield beef/pork dog (8 to a lb skinless) boiled in beer. Bad, but not as bad as the dog at Tido's. This particular dog just has a weird spicing. 4) Hebrew National 1/4 lb footlong, prepared on the roller grill. Again, a decent dog, but prepared like they do a baseball stadium rather than a hot dog joint. The young woman was quick and efficient. She was also helpful and had a knowledge of the different dogs served there.

82) Casino Tony Goes, Trenton

They call their dog the Original Italian Hot Dog. It is not. Jimmy Buffs was selling Italian Hot Dogs at least three years before Casino Tony Goes. But they are allowed to call theirs the Original, but not the Originator. Only Buffs can call theirs the Originator. To me it is semantic mumbo jumbo. Casino Tony Goes is popular in and around Trenton. In fact, they are looking to expand. They have already opened a location in Pennsylvania. On a side note, the strip mall where they opened in PA has a restaurant that serves their version of an Italian Hot Dog, which they called a Jersey Italian Hot Dog. Casino Tony Goes actually threatened legal action, so the PA place started calling their product a Pennsylvania style Italian Hot Dog. And their version (the PA restaurant) is more authentic in my opinion because they use a flavorful all beef dog, while Casino uses a beef and pork dog. I also think it's a little hypocritical to threaten legal action when they falsely claim to be the original.

All that aside, what Casino Tony Goes serves is not what I consider an authentic Italian Hot Dog, which is served on circular Italian pizza bread (not a sub roll) stuffed with all beef hot dogs that have been fried in oil (not grilled) and topped with peppers, potatoes (not french fries), and onions. Their version is common in the southern half of Jersey and many pizzerias both north and south that really don't sell a lot of Italian Hot Dogs. Some of these sandwiches (most notably Mijos in Colonia) are quite good. Casino Tony Goes isn't.

Here they put a grilled beef and pork Dietz and Watson frank on a torpedo roll and top it with a few big chunks of green pepper and home fries. You can see it on http://www.casinotonygoes.com. It doesn't even look appetizing in the pictutre. The dog itself tasted good but is all wrong for this sandwich. You need a spicy, kosher style all beef dog whose spices blend in better with the oils and vegetables.

This type of dog is popular in and around Trenton, but I consider it a different version of the true and original Italian Hot Dog invented in Newark, N.J.

83) Patty Wagon, Spotswood

A truck owned by a woman named Patty. The dogs were small 12 to a lb Sabretts that weren't served hot enough. Average chili. Very forgettable.

84) Bear's, Rt. 615 and Jernee Mill Rd. Sayreville

Bear's is a hot dog trailer serving dirty water dogs since 1971. Bear also uses natural casing Sabrett 12's, but these are always fresh and served piping hot. Better than average dog with a good, hot, spicy chili.

85) Freddy's Dogs, Scotch Plains

Another truck located on either North or South Ave. in the Fanwood section of Scotch Plains. A tiny 12 to a lb Sabrett which could have been served hotter. Run of the mill dog with a very spicy chili.

86) Majestic Lunch, Elizabeth Ave. Elizabeth

An old luncheonette that's been around since the 1920's or 30's. Owned by an older Greek couple. Their son, who also works here, makes the chili which is a decent Texas Weiner sauce that's thicker than most. I buy it occasionally to take home. The dogs are natural casing Sabretts (10 to a lb) that are prepared on a griddle. Good dogs, good chili. Only thing that prevents this dog from being considered very good to excellent is inconsistency. Since I live nearby, I've been here more than a few times and notice that often the dogs have been left on the griddle too long and become dried out as a result.

87) Smooth Dog, Morris Ave. Union

Located in a tiny storefront on a busy street, Smooth Dog opened a few months before we went and closed for good shortly after. Not many people knew about them and there was hardly any parking. They served smoothies and hot dogs, hence the name Smooth Dog. Three choices for dogs; dirty water natural casing Sabrett, skinless Sabrett on a roller grill (which wasn't available when we were there) and a turkey dog. I had the boiled Sabrett (11 to a lb) which was served hot enough with a good meaty, tomatoey, mild chili. A decent dog. The teen working there was a nice kid, but seemed overwhelmed. It took an eternity to get our dogs. I was hoping Smooth Dog would be succesfull as it was very close to my home and I liked the chili.

So, that concludes my journeys on the Summer of S.W.A.T. I was thrilled to be a part of a team that spent the summer sampling and reviewing hot dogs. I don't think there was a more comprehensive or in depth tasting of hot dogs held anywhere. It was an experience that I'll remember and savor for a long time.

When I go out for a hot dog I get one that fits the style I'm in the mood for. Tastes and preferences change; mine certainly do. I've since gone back to many of the establishments that we visited as well as some that we haven't and some brand new ones. I'd like to go over the five styles of hot dogs that we judged plus one that I've added which I felt should have been included all along, and to give my current opinions on my favorites in these categories.

Grilled pork and beef. Not included as its own category, but lumped in with all grilled dogs. The German style frank at Karl Ehmers was the highest rated in the style and my favorite as well. The quarter pound Schickhaus dog at Jimmy Buffs E. Hanover would have done well here had we gone. Griddled, then charbroiled, it was delicious. Frank & Fries had a quarter pound Thumanns griller that was prepared the same way. Unfortunately, Frank & Fries did not reopen until after we finished for the summer and then was sold and became a Mexican Restaurant shortly after opening again. This would have been my first choice. Wee Nee Wagon might have done well as they served a grilled Thumanns dog that I've heard was outstanding. Too bad they were not open when we went despite us arriving well within their posted hours. My current favorites in this style are Jimmy Buffs quarter pounder, the Kocher's dog served at Karl Ehmers, and the Galloping Hill Inn.

Grilled all beef. Syd's was the overwhelming favorite. I've since found a dog I like even better than Syd's. It's the footlong dog at Jimmy Buffs East Hanover. Same 5 to a lb natural casing Best Provision dog, but here it is heated in oil and finished off on a real charcoal grill. The result is a fantastic tasting dog that is juicy with a great charcoal broiled flavor that retains its perfect snap.

Papaya King recently opened a new location in Clifton subsequent to our tasting. In my opinion, it is the best place to get a grilled Sabrett. Tastes as good as Boulevard Drinks, but at a better size (10 to a lb rather than 12). Nathan's in the Menlo Park Mall makes an excellent grilled all beef dog as does the Dover Grill. If New York was included, I would have to add the charbroiled foot long at World's Best Hot Dogs and Hamburgers in Newburgh as a favorite. My top dogs in this category are Jimmy Buffs, Syd's, and Papaya King.

Deep fried. Although I listed Amazing Hot Dog as my favorite, I would change it to Rutts Hut. Their relish is unique and my favorite hot dog condiment. It compliments a "weller" perfectly. I like the footlong at Buffs that you can get deep fried. I prefer the size of this dog to the short andd thick dog served at Amazing. But I also like Amazing for their considerable variety of toppings. I enjoy the Reuben Dog in particular. Also add the pan fried dog at Charlies Pool Room as a favorite fried dog, though it can't be considered deep fried.

Dirty water dog. Jerry's remains my favorite. It is an 8 to a lb natural casing Best's that is boiled then finished off on a steel griddle for extra crunch. Despite liking the grilled dogs at Syd's and Jimmy Buffs better, Jerry's is the place I frequent more than any other hot dog joint. It's close to my home, serves great dogs at a good size and price ($1.50) quickly and efficiently. Tony's Truck and Dees are my other favorites.

Italian Hot Dogs. Tommy's in Elizabeth was my favorite and the favorite of the team. I've since found one as good at the E. Hanover location of Jimmy Buffs. It is better than their Scotch Plains and Irvington locations. These 2 are my top picks followed by Joe's in Vauxhall and Mijos's in Colonia.

Chili dogs. There are many kinds of chili to top hot dogs with. You have Tewas Weiner style, which features spices such as cinammon, nutmeg, cummin, and cloves. There's also hot, spicy chili, tomatoey chili, mild chili, etc. My favorite kind is the Texas Weiner chili. I picked Pappy's Diner as my favorite , although on subsequent visits I was turned off by having to wait much too long to be served. The Hot Grill's chili is just as good and the service is much better. The best thing about the Hot Grill is that they are most consistent. The dogs always taste great and the chili is always served at the perfect temperature. My three favorites are the Hot Grill, Pappy's, and Libby's. There is a chili dog outside of Jersey that I like even better. It is from the Coney Island Restaurant in Middletown, N.Y. which opened in 1924. It's a Texas Weiner chili that's thick and balanced containing just the right amount of spices without being cloying or too intense. I wish they would open another location in New Jersey.

I hope you enjoyed my reviews and descriptions of hot dog establishments almost as much as I enjoyed writing them.


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