The itinerary for the 4th Annual New Jersey Hot Dog Tour is set. It's hard to decide which places to include. There are so many excellent hot dog establishments in Jersey and everyone has their favorites. We try to add new ones, but still keep some of the popular stops from previous trips. This year's Tour will have 6 stops. I feel this is a good number. To add more will only invite "hot dog fatigue". And one of the stops offers at least 4 different types of dogs, all top quality. I would suggest trying more than one dog at this stop (Jimmy Buff's) or at least sampling more than one. Sharing is encouraged.
The hot dog restaurants, in no paticular order, are as follows:
1) Galloping Hill Inn, Union. This is the only stop that will have been included all 4 Tours. One reason is that it is an excellent place for us to meet. Less than a mile off the Parkway and with a big parking lot. They also serve a delicious beef and pork dog on a unique bun. One of the best dogs in Jersey. Only the Hot Grill in Clifton sells more dogs in the course of a day, and they are open until 1 AM.
2) Jimmy Buff's, East Hanover. Jimmy Buff's is the originator of the Italian Hot Dog sandwich. Also known as the Newark Style Dog. This sandwich is unique to N.J. and includes 2 fried beef dogs (or one dog for a single) stuffed in Italian Pizza Bread and topped with sauteed onions, peppers, and potatoes. Jimmy Buff's also serves the same natural casing footlong dog that Syd's did. As most of you know, Syd's is gone. They were perhaps the most popular stop on previous tours. They got more votes last year than any other place for best dog. Buff's is the only place I know of where you can get the Syd's dog. At Syd's, it was boiled, then grilled. You can get it like that at Buffs, but if you don't specify how you want it prepared, it comes sauteed in oil in a tilted pan (where the Italian Hot Dogs are prepared) and then finished off on a charcoal grill. If I had to pick one dog as a favorite, this would be it. Buff's also serves a top quality Schickhaus beef and pork dog that is prepared on a griddle and then moved to the charcoal grill. Those who like the Galloping Hill Inn dog will like this. The other dog available here is a natural casing 8 to a lb dog that is sauteed in oil. Those of you who like the taste of the dogs at Amazing Hot Dog will love either the 8 to a lb or 5 to a lb. Same recipe dog fried, but here the dogs are thinner and sufficiently fried. At Amazing they are often undercooked. Jimmy Buff's also has a unique and tasty chili which is excellent on their dogs. It is meaty, slightly sweet and peppery. Past Tour attendee Leo Fontanella describes this chili as bolognese style.
I am really excited about the addition of this particular Jimmy Buff's (there are 4 in all). They are one of the few hot dog establishments that attempts to do more than one type of dog and does all of them well. They serve a top notch Italian Hot Dog, a footlong dog that in my opinion surpasses Syd's, a fried dog that is better than Amazing Hot Dog, and a grilled beef and pork dog that is better than Max's and rivals the Galloping Hill Inn's and the cart at Karl Ehmer's.
3) Papaya King, Clifton. This Papaya King is the first in Jersey. Opened in January, they serve the same spicy, all beef natural casing dogs as they do in New York. The owner, Matt Visconti, is always there to insure consistency. To many people, Papaya King serves the quintessential New York Hot Dog. It is prepared on a griddle. Well done, but still retaining it's juices, this is one of my 3 favorite all beef dogs. Depending on your spice preference, you might prefer this dog to the others. Julia Child considered this the best hot dog on the planet.
4) Libby's Lunch, Paterson. Libby's has been around since 1937 serving North Jersey, or "Hot" Texas Weiners. There is debate as to when and where this type of hot dog originated, but many people point to Paterson. Libby's is the oldest surviving Texas Weiner joint in Paterson. It is a deep fried, beef and pork dog topped with mustard, chili, and onions. The chili, or chili sauce, is thin and contains spices such as cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg. Similar to the chili from the Hot Grill, which we visited in 2005. Those of you who like the dogs at Rutt's Hut (which will not be on the tour this year) will like these, as they are the same Thumann's deep fry dogs. This place is near the Falls. We will take a walk across the street and take in the magnificent view.
5) Manny's Texas Weiner's, Linden. An old, yet new place. Manny's in Union was included in 2 previous tours. Business was so good that they opened a second location in Linden where the old Father & Son Luncheonette was located. Manny's serves a Texas Weiner that is in a dfferent style than Libbys. Whereas the dog is deep fried and has a thin chili sauce ("Hot" or North Jersey style) the dog at Manny's is in the Plainfield style, which features a grilled beef and pork frank (Grote & Weigel) and a thicker chili sauce. This type of dog is similar to what many people call a Coney. It is also similar to a lot of the Greek owned hot dog stands in the Hudson Valley where a good number of hot dog lovers come from and participate in these tours. Manny's now serves a beef dog in addition to the beef/pork G&W frank.
6) Father & Son Lucheonette, Linden. Father & Son was a stop on the 2005 tour. They lost their lease later in the year and have been closed until recently. They opened up a few minutes away from their old location (now Manny's) where J's Beef used to be. J's Beef served Chicago style hot dogs. They were to be on last year's itinerary, but had to cancel when the owner's father passed away a week before the Tour. J's is looking for a new location. Father & Son moved into their old one. A much smaller place than the original, but still serving the same fine dogs. F&S grills a natural casing all beef dog (Grote & Weigel) but they are famous for their hot and spicy chili. A big hit on the 05 Tour, people bought pints and quarts to take home.