Charlie's Pool Room

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Applecheeks
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Charlie's Pool Room - Mon, 08/10/09 11:55 AM
5
I am on my own personal hot dog tour. So I had to go to Charlie's Pool Room in Alpha, NJ. The place should be renamed Charlie's Heavenly Hot Dogs, because that is what they are - heavenly. I had heard so much about the place that I had to take the 50 mile drive from Newark to see for myself. We walked in and Joe, at the register looked at me and said "I don't believe you've been here before" He was right. He seems to know every single person who has walked through his door in the last 40 years. We introduced ourselves and what seems like will be an everlasting friendship began. Joe took our order and wrote it down on a tiny slip of paper, which he promptly gave to his brother John in the kitchen. He invited us to sit as though he was inviting us in to his home to have dinner. (By the way, the table that seats only 5 people is in the back room next to the pool table) As we waited, he showed us countless articles that were written up on Charlie's Pool Room. We chatted about Baseball and Hot Dogs and other topics. Waiting 20 minutes for the hot dogs is not a difficult thing to do. Spending time talking to Joe is one of the most pleasant experiences you will have. And oh, when those hot dogs come, they are pipping hot and ABSOLUTELY the best hot dog you will ever have. Grandma Fencz famous secret sauce is unlike anything you have ever tasted. The dogs were so good that I had to take 5 to go (or on a leash, as Joe would say) because I knew we would want more the next day. I was right.   The dogs were carefully wrapped in butcher paper, with the pickles in such a way that the juice wouldn't leak into the hot dog roll.  The dogs were placed in a brown paper bag, with the flap carefully folded and secured with a piece of masking tape.  People just don't take the time to do these things so meticulously these days. 
How often do you find someone who really enjoys the work they do.  In this case, it is a true labor of love.  An old world work ethic and and a true enjoyment of meeting the people that stop by to pay a visit.
After we finished our dogs, brother John came out of the kitchen to say hello. Another very nice man who was equally as friendly as Joe. All the way home I tried to determine if the hot dogs were really that great or did we love them because Joe and John were so nice and provided such a wonderfully warm experience. I have to say that it is a major part of both. Do yourself a favor and visit Charlie's Pool Room. Look it up on the internet and when you go be sure to have a GPS. The place is not easy to find. Treasures like these are not here forever. Get there while you still have the opportunity.

buffetbuster
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Mon, 08/10/09 1:14 PM
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Applecheeks-
Welcome to Roadfood!  And thanks for the nice report on Charlie's Pool Room.  You captured the CPR experience very well.  Oh, how I wish I lived closer so I could get mealies more than just once or twice a year!

Applecheeks
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Mon, 08/10/09 3:28 PM
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Joe spoke of you, John Fox and Holly Moore.  He thanks the Internet for the business (and new friends) it has brought his way.

John Sagi
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Mon, 08/10/09 4:25 PM
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Applecheeks
 
You nailed it.
 
While driving home, I was asking the same questions. There is no doubt about it in my opinion, CPR was the greatest experience in my 55 years of Hot Dogging.
 
I hope you got to sign their guest book so you can go down in history.   
 
I took home some of their grandma's onion sauce to see if I could come close to matching it. After a while I concluded there was no way and should enjoy it when I
re-visit.
 
I believe the Mealie with all its ingredients is as close to the perfect complete hot dog I've ever eaten.
 
What I found amazing is if you were to take a picture of two Mealies on a white plate with two pickles and compare it to others pictures of Mealies from CPR, they are identical, except for the position of the pickle.
 

 
A true experience.
 
<message edited by John Sagi on Mon, 08/10/09 4:30 PM>

John Fox
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Mon, 08/10/09 8:08 PM
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I'll speak to Joe. Maybe we can organize a small trip there in the Fall.

joerogo
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Mon, 08/10/09 8:15 PM
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John Fox


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

 
Count me in!


John Fox
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Mon, 08/10/09 8:54 PM
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Applecheeks,

Welcome. And glad to see you're still around and posting. I knew you as "Down Neck Betty". Was wondering where you went when I didn't see your posts on the Munchmobile Forum anymore. I'm glad that Charlie's was worth the drive for you.

ken8038
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Mon, 08/10/09 9:26 PM
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<<I took home some of their grandma's onion sauce to see if I could come close to matching it. >>

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

If you guys are going in the fall, please keep me posted. I can't make the 9/26 tour this year but I'd be up for a trip to Charlie's.

Buffalo Tarheel
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Mon, 08/10/09 9:36 PM
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Applecheeks
 

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


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

John Sagi
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Tue, 08/11/09 2:59 AM
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I'm in for the Charlies Pool Room trip.

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


douginvirginia
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Tue, 08/11/09 6:46 AM
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My wife and I made our first visit to CPR a few weeks back on our way to Maine. It was everything I had hoped it would be. Applecheeks captured the experience perfectly. As I reflect on our visit, it's as though it was filmed in black and white - wonderful.

buffetbuster
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Tue, 08/11/09 7:59 AM
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There sure are a lot of CPR fans out there!  I told Joe Fencz on my last visit that after all these years, they are now an overnight sensation.

Please keep me informed on when this get together will take place, because I would love to attend.

Riverkeeper
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Tue, 08/11/09 3:37 PM
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I made my first visit there last Tuesday, and will return tomorrow with a friend.  I have a review of the visit, as well as another NJ hot dog place here:

http://huntergatherermaker.blogspot.com/

joerogo
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Tue, 08/11/09 4:30 PM
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John Sagi


I'm in for the Charlies Pool Room trip.

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


John you sly dog.  I never thought of asking for sauce to go either.  Thanks for the tip buddy.
 
 

Benzee
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Tue, 08/11/09 5:03 PM
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Hello all ,

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

Benzee

ConeyIslandLou
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Tue, 08/11/09 8:08 PM
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Amen, Benzee, Amen.....

buffetbuster
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Wed, 08/12/09 8:18 AM
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Riverkeeper-
Welcome to Roadfood and thanks for the link to your really nice write up of CPR!

Applecheeks
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Wed, 08/12/09 11:58 AM
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Yes, I am Down Neck Betty!  After my husband passed away 5 years ago, I moved to Kearny and changed my name to Applecheeks.  Because of some health problems, I haven't been able to eat the same way I did before.  I can't give up Hot Dogs, they are my favorite thing.
Hope to actually meet you in person sometime in the near future.

John Fox
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Wed, 08/12/09 12:09 PM
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Glad you joined Roadfood and started posted again on the Munchmobile Forum. I've missed you and look forward to meeting you as well. Maybe at Charlies. If not, perhaps at a small get together. There are plenty of fine hot dog eateries in our area.

Benzee
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Thu, 08/13/09 8:23 PM
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John ,

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

Benzee

Holly Moore
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Sat, 08/15/09 8:00 PM
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Spent the afternoon eating a few dogs at Charlie's Pool Room.  As good as last time.  Only thing changed - 2 cent candy now goes for 3 cents.

There are a lot of great dogs out there.  But when you combine the Mealies, the welcoming spirit, Grandmother Fencz's onion sauce, and the conversation, Charlies Pool Room just may be my favorite hot dog destination.

Applecheeks
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Sun, 08/16/09 5:31 PM
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Holly, Joe told me when I visited last week that he was waiting for you to come back.  I'm glad you made it back there.  I'm only disaappointed that you didn't show up when I was there.  You are my idol.  I only wish I could be like you and go  all over the country visiting these wonderful food places.

billyboy
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Tue, 08/18/09 10:33 PM
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If you folks plan a mini meet, please let me know as I found out there is a NJ Transit train stop about a 30 minute walk from Charlie's Pool Room!

buffetbuster
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Wed, 08/19/09 7:51 AM
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billyboy-
Assuming I can attend, I would be happy to give you a ride.  You have to save some of that energy for hot dog eatin'!

PAUL4FOOD
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Thu, 08/20/09 4:09 PM
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Buffetbuster & joe. Can I come too. i am willing to drive. So if anyone needs a ride.;)
All these great threads & pics of CPR is too much!!!

PAUL4FOOD
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Thu, 08/20/09 4:11 PM
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I'm gonna e-mail DD&D to get them to do a show on CPR!!!!


Benzee
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Thu, 08/20/09 7:34 PM
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Hello all ,

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

Benzee

Holly Moore
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Thu, 08/20/09 8:39 PM
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Joe is hoping the mini-meet will happen again this year.  The brothers agree it should be on a Monday, the day they are usually closed.  They're ready for the meet.  Even have a welcoming sign on the front door.





Bossa Nova
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Thu, 08/20/09 8:49 PM
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Something tells me this meet won't be very "mini"
 
Count me in, too

John Fox
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Fri, 08/21/09 11:05 AM
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I'll talk to Joe soon. We'll get it done.

ConeyIslandLou
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Fri, 08/21/09 11:13 AM
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How about Columbus Day??

John Fox
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Fri, 08/21/09 11:38 AM
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I just spoke with Joe Fencz and Columbus Day would be perfect. So let's tentatively plan on doing it that day. I'll call Joe in the near future to make sure that we will still be coming and also to make sure that him and John will be there because last year he spent some time in the hospital.

Because it's a small operation, we will have to limit it to between 15 and 20 people just like last time. It's nice of Joe and John to once again open strictly for us.

joerogo
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Fri, 08/21/09 2:20 PM
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I'm in!

Anyone going to try for the record?

buffetbuster
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Fri, 08/21/09 3:14 PM
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Unfortunately, I already have plans to be in Charlotte & Columbia that weekend.  Have a great time!

ken8038
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Fri, 08/21/09 5:10 PM
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I'm in for this too! Keep everyone posted.

Thanks John for setting this in motion.

BTW, Columbus Day is Monday 10/12.


ConeyIslandLou
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Fri, 08/21/09 6:11 PM
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ken8038


I'm in for this too! Keep everyone posted.

Thanks John for setting this in motion.

BTW, Columbus Day is Monday 10/12.


So Columbus Day is actually.....on Columbus Day this year???  SHOCKING!!

stanpnepa
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Fri, 08/21/09 7:25 PM
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I live 100 miles away and have NEVER been to CPR.  I don't think I can get out of work on Columbus Day - but if that changes - I'll let you know.  Either way, I'm goin' this Fall.  Can't wait!

joerogo
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Sun, 08/30/09 5:37 PM
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I stopped by on Saturday for my usual, three mealies and a bottle of water.  Joe and John are doing well and said hello to everyone, especially Holly.  I read the guest book and CPR got six Grease Stains, though the website can only go up to five.  http://www.hollyeats.com/CharliesPoolRoom.htm
 
I told Joe that I wasn't going to take any pictures since just about everything has already been covered.  He begged to differ and pointed to some new inspirational posters he just put up.
 

 
Since I got the camera out, here is an article that ran in an Allentown newspaper recently.  Joe said this article has brought in 150 new customers so far.  A very well written article. 
 

 
you can never get enough of Joe and John. 
 

 
Joe has a copy of this thread printed.  Only problem is that the names of the posters didn't print out.  So say hello and I will print this and send in to Joe and John.
 
BTW, the Mealies were spot on as usual. 

seafarer john
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Mon, 08/31/09 11:13 AM
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On Wednesday, September 2, Brooklyn Bill, me ,  and our spouses are planning to drive down to Hot Dog Johnny's in Butzville and Charlie's Pool Room in Alpha for a couple or three hot dogs. We plan to be at Johnny's at about noon and at Charlie's at about 1pm. Anyone who would like to meet-up with us there is more than welcome. 

Cheers, John    

Benzee
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Mon, 08/31/09 11:49 PM
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John ,

Thanks for the advance notice bud , a little too short on time for me .
I'm tentativley in for columbus Day meet sounds like fun .

Say hi to John and Joe for me , love the sign !!!!!!!

Benzee

seafarer john
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Thu, 09/3/09 10:59 AM
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After a leisurely 2 1/2 drive thru small towns in NY and NJ we arived at a very busy Hot Dog Johnny's in Butzville, NJ and enjoyed an alfresco hot dog with mustard and sweet relish, and birch beer. Nothing special about the dog, it's good, and the ambiance of the place on a warm late Summer day is very relaxing. 

Drove another 25 minutes from there to Charlie's Pool Room  in Alpha and scoffed down a couple of "mealies" and some Pepsi along with lively conversation with Joe and John - all-in-all a delicious and entertaining visit. This place is well worth a pilgrimage. I wont try to describe it's uniqueness here, its been well done by others, especially the recent report by "Applecheeks" 
of whom Joe seems especially fond...

Martinis on Brooklyn Bill's deck watching the light change on the Shawangunk ridge ended a nearly perfect day...

Cheers, John  

Applecheeks
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Thu, 09/3/09 12:47 PM
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It was so nice to hear that Joe is "fond" of me.  The feeling is mutual.  The brothers are both wonderful people.

billyboy
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Thu, 09/3/09 1:43 PM
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Sorry fellow RFers, I'll have to pass on this one as I have to work on Columbus Day.  No rest for me!  Have an extra Mealie in my stead!

BrooklynBill
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Thu, 09/3/09 3:59 PM
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The 9/2/09 field trip of seafarer john and BrooklynBill plus wives ----
 
Our first stop, Hot Dog Johnny’s, was better than I anticipated. I knew that the setting would be perfect – NJ roadside near a babbling brook, with the original hot dog shack close by. But Ginny and I really enjoyed the dog! It was a large (maybe six to pound) German type which was cooked in peanut oil. I chose the mustard and pickle topping which was an excellent complement.  
We arrived during the luncheon hour and were lucky to find a parking space. I guess a lot of locals really like the joint.
 
It took another half hour to again find Charlie’s Pool Room in Alpha. I would say here that seafarer john had excellent directional recall and found the place without any GPS aid.
Joe and John Fencz were as delightful as ever. They knew our names and greeted/treated us as extended family. The mealies were as good as remembered – well worth the trip.
Joe recalled the surprise birthday party that we threw for seafarer john two years ago. The only difference in the poolroom this visit was that the pool table was now covered with published glowing reports about Charlie’s Pool Room.
I sincerely hope that their success continues to grow.
 
Bill  


ScreenBear
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Fri, 09/4/09 10:26 AM
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Bill,
 
   While I'm glad you had a good time at Hot Dog Johnny's (there is hardly a more scenic hot dog destination in all the land), that skinless pork/beef hot dog you  had is doubtfully larger than 10 to a lb.

   At $1.25 plus tax per frank, one could hardly sell a six-to-a-lb. dog and make a decent profit. 

   We are fairly certain the dog is a Schmalz Provision product, made in Newark, N.J., though Hot Dog Johnny's is adamant about not divulging any information about the dogs it serves.  Best regards.
 
    The Bear

BrooklynBill
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Mon, 09/7/09 11:53 AM
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ScreenBear,
 
Thanks for your comments.  
Hot Dog Johnny’s sure is a great setting.
To my untrained eyes, the dogs that we were served that day seemed a bit larger than eight to a pound. They were certainly larger than ten to the pound.
Maybe we can all go back there on a beautiful autumn day and do some detailed research into the situation.
Regards ---
 
Bill
<message edited by BrooklynBill on Mon, 09/7/09 12:04 PM>

ScreenBear
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Mon, 09/7/09 5:26 PM
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BrooklynBill


ScreenBear,
 
Thanks for your comments.  
Hot Dog Johnny’s sure is a great setting.
To my untrained eyes, the dogs that we were served that day seemed a bit larger than eight to a pound. They were certainly larger than ten to the pound.
 
   Maybe we can all go back there on a beautiful autumn day and do some detailed research into the situation.
Regards ---
 
Bill

Thanks,
 
   I'm game.
 
   The Bear
 

 

porkbeaks
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Fri, 09/18/09 12:55 PM
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Check this out.  pb

buffetbuster
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Fri, 09/18/09 1:35 PM
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porkbeaks-
Thanks for the link.  That is a nice article.  I love seeing these guys get the publicity they deserve!

Dog Boss
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Sat, 09/26/09 9:19 PM
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7. Charlie's Pool Room, ALPHA, NJ  we made our first trip this past thursday, the wife and our 3 yr old in tow, we drove out 58.5 miles to find this legend tucked away in the edge of the state. Yes, we got lost too, like so many other's have. we were welcomed like all other's have said in there posting's, i found the place to be more pleasing to me, then, what i was expecting, i love old structures and there personalties.  I Love Charlies inside stucture. LET'S GET TO The good's of place. we placed our order, we had 5 dog's, 2+2+1 we had a mix. we found the dog's to be ok( honestly) topping's, there special sauce and onions are what CHARLIES POOL ROOM IS ALL ABOUT!!!!! WOW WOW WOW TALK About picture's that don't lie. you get exactly what you see, i have never seen a dog pictured or served that was a DEAD CLONE TO IT'S SELF.we could've ordered 1000 hot dog's that day and everyone of them would've been exactaly the same over and over again. Thank's guy's !!! we  were there for a short time, but we'll be back !!!!! like i said, the dog's were ok, get them together with toppings and now we got something GOOD to EAT.
 
i did alttle copy and paste from the jersey hot dog tour post i did.

Dog Boss
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Sat, 09/26/09 9:24 PM
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Applecheeks


It was so nice to hear that Joe is "fond" of me.  The feeling is mutual.  The brothers are both wonderful people.

 
we heard the same thing your number 1 at CPR.

Matt Gleason
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Tue, 09/29/09 7:50 PM
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I'm in for a trip to Charlie's Pool Room!

John Sagi
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Fri, 10/2/09 11:17 PM
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We are getting close to Columbus Day.

Do we have a number of how many are going?

I'll be bringing an 8X12 picture of The outside of Charlies Pool Room for all of
us to sign and give it to Joe and John.



On the left side in the white area it reads 2009 Columbus Day Tour and the right side reads Charlies Pool Room.

What time are we meeting?

John Fox
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Sat, 10/3/09 5:50 AM
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How about noon?

joerogo
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Sat, 10/3/09 7:04 AM
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John Sagi


We are getting close to Columbus Day.

Do we have a number of how many are going?

I'll be bringing an 8X12 picture of The outside of Charlies Pool Room for all of
us to sign and give it to Joe and John.



On the left side in the white area it reads 2009 Columbus Day Tour and the right side reads Charlies Pool Room.

What time are we meeting?

 
Hey John, Very nice.
 
See you at high noon on Monday.


Benzee
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Sat, 10/3/09 2:18 PM
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Hello all ,

We will be meeting at Noon at Charlies Pool Room on Monday Columbus Day .
Lets have an idea of howe many we have going

I will have Coney Island Lou and Hot Dog King with me for three
John Fox and Jimmy the postman are two more
John Sagi the Hot Dog Chili Man is another
Joe Rogo also
Dont know about any others but I can post  a thread on the meets and greets if you guys want me too .
We are limited to about 15 or so as they are opening just for us

Benzee

porkbeaks
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Sat, 10/3/09 2:33 PM
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Please tell Joe and John that Porkbeaks (Art) said hello and I'll see them in mid-November. 

joerogo
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Sat, 10/3/09 4:36 PM
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Benzee




Dont know about any others but I can post  a thread on the meets and greets if you guys want me too .



Good idea Benzee. let's make it official.
 
See you there.

ScreenBear
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Sat, 10/3/09 10:28 PM
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If the creek don't rise, I am there.

   The Bear

Bossa Nova
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Re:Charlie's Pool Room - Sun, 10/4/09 8:48 PM
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Michelle and I will be there.  We've never been and are looking forward to it.

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