The area in and around Millburn suffered a big loss when the legendary Syd's luncheonette closed about two years ago. They were known for their excellent hot dogs, which to many were the best in the state. It was a similar loss when Don's in Livingston closed years before. Both places were old fashioned luncheonettes serving great dogs, burgers, sandwiches and ice cream.
If you remember Syd's and Don's, you'll love the Garage. Even if you don't remember them, you'll love the Garage. Located at 257 Essex Street in Millburn, it is owned by Ted and Jimmy Stampoulos, owners of the popular Martini Bar around the corner on Main Street.
The Garage is a former industrial garage converted into a 50's style retro diner. A counter with stools, tables, and a party room upstairs. There is a garage door that opens to a patio for outside seating. A very nice clean family oriented place with a great atmosphere. The Garage offers hot dogs, hamburgers, fries, salads, sandwiches, shakes, malts, ice cream, and desserts. I had a hamburger, hot dog, fries, and shake. Everything was excellent.
They offer 3 dogs here. The Syd's which is a natural casing 5 to a lb all beef frank from Best Provisions, the Don's, a thick quarter pounder, and a "school dog", a smaller 10 to a lb frank. The last two are also from Best's. I had the Syd's dog. There is no better beef dog. It is only served at few places in N.J. Here it is prepared exactly like Syds, which means boiled, then charbroiled. Served on a fresh toasted bun. This is as good a hot dog as you will find anywhere. Tasty and prepared perfectly, it arrived at my table piping hot.
Next was the burger. You have a choice of chargrilled or griddled. I had mine chargrilled and prepared medium rare. It came out that way. Too many places today refuse to cook your burger less than well done. Mine was done right and came with cheese, lettuce and tomato. The burger was so good I put the lettuce and tomato on the side. Juicy and flavorful, this is no ordinary burger. It is 6 ounces of prime beef from Master Purveyors of New York. Peter Lugers gets beef from this place. I was told that the burgers outsell the hot dogs by a 3 to 1 margin which surprised me.
The fries are as good as any I've had. High quality potatoes that are hand cut and twice fried, these fries reminded me of Syd's, Amazing Hot Dog, and the Martini Bar which is high praise. An excellent complement to the dogs and burgers.
I had a vanilla milk shake with my meal that was also excellent and for me a rare treat as I usually get a soda when eating hot dogs and hamburgers. I left full and satisfied.
The Garage is a fun place serving great food. You may pay a little more, but it's worth it. Everything I had is top of the line. This place will be included on the Annual New Jersey Hot Dog Tour in September.