Today after finishing my twice a month Costco in Edison shopping I decided to continue about 1/2 hour South to Lawrenceville and Captain Paul's Firehouse Dogs for lunch. I'm glad I did, it was well worth the drive.
It's a nicely done Roadside Stand, with several picnic tables on an outside patio, and a cramped interior with a few stools at the counter. They seemed quite busy at around Noon. All the food items have firehouse-themed names, and there is a lot of firehouse-themed knick knacks to look at.
I had a Third Alarm Dog (Chili, onions, and mustard) and one of their sort-of Italian Hot Dog variations, called a Signal 22 (Torpedo Roll, fried potatoes, peppers, and fried onion petals). I also ordered sides of Fries and Onion rings.
The Chili Dog was one of the best I've ever had. The dogs are a standard issue Hatfield dog, but the chili is prepared very differently from the North Jersey style. It was on the sweet side and very tasty, held together nicely with a good quality roll. The Signal 22 was loaded with peppers but kind of light on the potatoes and onion petals. It was very well prepared but the peppers were a little bitter to my taste. The fries were shoestring and crispy and quite good, the onion rings were excellent, with a very unique seasoning to the batter which I couldn't quite place.
What set this place over the top was the total friendliness and helpfulness of the staff of 3. Everybody was constantly in motion, taking orders, doing the cooking, packing the orders, carrying the food to the outside tables, and chatting with the regulars. It's the kind of place where I felt like a regular after only one visit. They even said "Come back soon, Ken! as I was leaving (they had my name from when I placed my order). I plan to do just that (Come back soon). Mercer County is not noted for its Hot Dog Places, but this one is definitely on the map. http://www.captainpaulsdogs.com/index.html