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 new jersey hot dog excursion

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brookquarry

  • Total Posts: 277
  • Joined: 2/27/2003
  • Location: bangor, PA
new jersey hot dog excursion Mon, 08/16/04 3:57 PM (permalink)
My maiden post over a year ago was a reccomendation of Hot Dog Johnnys in Butzville New Jersey. Most of my post detailed the beatifull quaint setting by the Pequest River. I also, however, made the mistake of extolling the hot dogs which I characterized as "deep-fried". (Information which I obtained from another website, since I had never bothered to inquire at the source)I then received a respond post from the now-immortal John Fox informing me politely that he believed the dogs were steamed and that he found them "bland".
I was chagrined that I had mischaracterized the nature of the hot dog,but puzzled about the complaint they were bland.All hot dogs I had ever had were bland- thats why you put condiments on them. If you wanted taste you bought a sausage sandwich.
As I began to read more posts about Northeastern New Jersey dogs, though it began to seem that they might be differant from the hot dogs I was familar with in the Lehigh Valley of PA and of Northwest New Jersey. Exotic apppelations such as "Rippers", "Italian hot dogs" and "Texas Wieners'" fired my imagination with the promise of truly succulent hot dogs only an hour away from my home.
A "girls day out" scheduled by my wife gave me my opportunity (I knew my wife would not enjoy a trip to New Jersey to sample multiple hot dogs, especially without knowing whether restrooms were either present or acceptably clean)My trip was set for Sunday August 15th. My goal: to visit five differant hot doggeries.(To be continued)

 
#1
    brookquarry

    • Total Posts: 277
    • Joined: 2/27/2003
    • Location: bangor, PA
    RE: new jersey hot dog excursion Mon, 08/16/04 5:13 PM (permalink)
    Hot Dog excursion Part II
    My original intent was to duplicate John Fox's "Hot Dog Tour",planned for September 4th. Two of the places on his itinerary (Syds and Charlies) were closed on Sundays, however, making them unavailable to me. The final lineup;
    1.Jerrys 906 2nd Avenue, Elizabeth. According to Hollyeats.com unusual in that they are boiled then grilled.
    2 Tommys 900 2nd Avenue, Elizabeth (same block as Jerrys)Rated the second best Italian hot dog by John Fox(Charlies was first)
    3. Galloping Hill Inn, Galloping Hill Rd. Kenilworth.John Fox's favorite dog.Supposedly a Grote and Weigle dog used by no other new Jersey Spot
    4.Rutts Hut 417 River Rd. Clifton. The quintessential deep fried dog.
    5.The Hot Grill 699 Lexington Ave. Clinton John Fox,s Texas Wiener pick.
    Having foregone breakfast to whet my appetite and armed with printouts from Roadfood, Hollyeats and Mapquest, I set out on a drizzly Sunday the 15th on my quest.(to be continued)



     
    #2
      John Fox

      • Total Posts: 2313
      • Joined: 12/3/2000
      • Location: Union, NJ
      RE: new jersey hot dog excursion Mon, 08/16/04 7:30 PM (permalink)
      Brookquarry,

      Well, I'm eagerly awaiting your opinions of the five places that you visited yesterday. What time did you attempt to go to Charlies? Or did you get their hours off of Hollyeats? Because they are open on Sundays. In fact, my daughter worked there yesterday.

      Did you see the article a couple of weeks ago in the Star Ledger about West Jersey hot dog joints? They mentioned Hot Dog Johnny's as well as a number of others in that area. Johnny's was named as the most popular eating establishment (not just hot dog restaurant) in Warren County. I've been to most of the places mentioned and some that weren't. One not mentioned, Charlies Pool Room in Alpha uses a standard (bland) dog typical of the ones served in the area. I spoke to the owners who told me that it is indeed a regional thing. The dogs in West Jersey, Pa., and many other parts of the country lack the flavor of what we're used to in North East Jersey, New York, and Connecticut. And the dogs we like aren't necessarily spicy like a sausage sandwich. I believe that you will agree with me, having sampled the above named dogs. Most of the West Jersey dogs are ok, but rather ordinary. I consider Toby's Cup the best of the bunch.

      I disagree that hot dogs should be bland or simply holders for condiments. A good dog should be able to stand on it's own. The first time I sample a dog, it is with mustard only. In fact, that is how I eat the majority of my hot dogs. Occasionally I'll have a ripper with the fantastic relish, or a Texas Weiner from the Hot Grill. But a dog from the Galloping Hill Inn or Syd's is best enjoyed with just a little mustard. If you load up on too much stuff, I guess it doesn't really matter if you are using a quality dog or not.

      Most dogs that I sample are either good, really good, or ordinary. In all honesty, Hot Dog Johnny's is one of the only dogs I sampled that I really didn't like. I had 2 and didn't even finish them. Ironically, the actual dog isn't bad. It's from Schmalz's Provisions in Newark and is good grilled. At Johnny's it's either steamed or boiled. I have had this same dog cooked the same way at a deli near me. Tasted the same. Lousy. Sorry; I call em as I taste em. I've always wondered why this place is so popular. I believe it's a number of reasons. Setting, atmosphere, nostalgia, for just a few. All things that I completly discount when evaluating a hot dog. Another reason it's popular is because it's located in an area where people are used to milder tasting hot dogs. My opinions reflect my tastes; I say eat what you like. If I liked Johnny's, I would go there frequently. In fact, I haven't been there in a few years, I think I'll make the trip again and see if the dogs have changed. Or if my taste has.

      If you liked the dogs sampled, maybe you'll join us Sept 4th.
       
      #3
        brookquarry

        • Total Posts: 277
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        • Location: bangor, PA
        RE: new jersey hot dog excursion Mon, 08/16/04 9:56 PM (permalink)
        John Fox- a brief reply, since I don't have time to give my evaluation of the five places right now.
        1.I can't come on the 4th, wish I could
        2. You're absolutely right about our dogs being much blander than NE Jersey dogs.
        3.On my way home on Sunday I detoured past hot dog Johnny's. It was 3:30PM and the parking lot was packed.
         
        #4
          brookquarry

          • Total Posts: 277
          • Joined: 2/27/2003
          • Location: bangor, PA
          RE: new jersey hot dog excursion Tue, 08/17/04 5:54 AM (permalink)
          Hot dog excursion continued..
          My first stop was in Elizabeth at Jerry's and Tommy's (both on the same block- its amazing they can both stay in business).The doggeries are on 2nd Avenue, one block souh of Elizabeth Ave., a main east-west thoroughfare. The neighborhood,to judge by store names, is hispanic and Portugese, slightly down at the heels(there is a strip club down the block), but vibrant with few vacant store fronts. There were plenty of shoppers on the streets. Both establishments arestorefronts with exterior walk up order windows and no seating.
          Iwent to Jerry's first and ordered the basic dog with no topping. It was more flavorfull than I was used to at home, not spicy exactly but with a good meaty taste. The roll was ordinary.
          I then approached Tommy's and orderd the Italian dog. for $5.25 (Jerry's was $1.50). this was a meal in itself. Served in a sort of pocket of Itaian bread, the dog was topped with onions,a slice of sweet red pepper and home fries.I love homefries and these were truly excellant. The whole combination was extremely tasty, although it sort of overwhelmed the taste of the dog.I therefore broke a piece off the end of the dog and ate it seperately. To my uncultivated palate, it tasted a lot like Jerry's.Tommy's also sells their home fries seperately, and if I get back there I would definatly order them. They were excellant home fries. To be continued
           
          #5
            John Fox

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            • Location: Union, NJ
            RE: new jersey hot dog excursion Tue, 08/17/04 6:27 PM (permalink)
            Brookquarry,

            Jerry's uses an all beef 8 to a lb Best's natural casing dog which is simmerred in water and then thrown in a steel compartment (similar to a griddle). Basically, a dirty water dog with a little added crunch and flavor from the time spent on the grill-like contraption. One more difference between West Jersey/Pa dogs and East Jersey dogs is that in West Jersey an all beef dog is almost unheard of. Out of all the places I know of out there, only Eddie's in Philipsburg uses an all beef dog, and that is only for the special chili dog. To people not used to them, they may be an aquired taste. Sort of like New Yorkers raised on spicy Sabretts coming to one of the Jersey places that serve a less agressively spiced beef and pork dog. It may take getting used to.

            Syd's uses the same brand dog, but in a bigger (5 to a lb) size. After being steeped in water, the dog is finished off on a grill, giving it a charbroiled taste. Tommy's also uses the Best dog, (good observation) but a smaller skinless version that is deep fried. Again, the cooking method imparts a slightly different flavor.

            Did you have a single or double at Tommy's? I'm guessing a single, because I know the double is $6.25 which is quite expensive compared to other places. Unless they've listened to the criticism and lowered the price of a double. They used to have real small dogs also, but have since switched to slightly larger ones. They do have great tasting potatoes, maybe even slightly better than Charlies. These two places cut the potatoes in thin slices, while other places like Dickie Dees and Frank's Newark Style cut them in chunks. Jimmy Buff's is somewhere in between. I prefer them sliced thinner. The one thing that I don't like about Tommy's (other than their high prices) is their inconsistency with the peppers. This is what separates them from Charlies. At Charlies you get a lot of green and red peppers on your sandwich. And they are much better tasting than anywhere else. Tommy's is skimpy with them. Sometimes serving just a piece of red pepper. Other times they throw on a little more, but only green. But still, a very good sandwich. Better in my opinion than any other Italian Hot Dog except Charlies.

            Tommy's sells a lot of potato cups. And they also sell regular hot dogs using the same 8 to a lb natural casing dog as Jerry's. Jerry's is better because they finish it off on a griddle giving it a little extra flavor and snap, whereas Tommy's is just boiled. Both places do extremely well. There are long lines at lunch time. Most people go to Jerry's for plain hot dogs or chili dogs while Tommy's sells mainly Italian Hot Dogs and Sausage sandwiches. And some regular dogs. A lot of people hit both places in one outing.
             
            #6
              Jayson

              • Total Posts: 5
              • Joined: 8/17/2004
              • Location: North Jersey, NJ
              RE: new jersey hot dog excursion Tue, 08/17/04 8:45 PM (permalink)
              John Fox, its obvious you know your stuff very well and I admire your knowledege very much but in the case of hot dog johnnys you have to be kidding. Not about whether they are good or not(which they are) but about the whole deep frying thing. They absolutely do deep fry them. You must have gotten them not cooked enough where they appear not fried. On a normal day you can see the skin shriveled up in the way only deep fried dogs do and you can feel the texture of the skin when you bite into it. And if thats not enough, just ask them, theyll flat out tell you they are fried. Anywho, next time you go there at least buy one of there whole pickels sliced up, I dont know what it is, but theyre hands down one of the best pickels ever. By the way, what type of oil does rutts use to fry there dogs in?
               
              #7
                John Fox

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                • Location: Union, NJ
                RE: new jersey hot dog excursion Tue, 08/17/04 9:48 PM (permalink)
                Jayson,

                I've cooked hot dogs every way imaginable. You mention that on a normal day you can see the skin shriveled up "in the way only deep fried dogs do". I've seen shrivelled up dogs that have been cooked on a grill. Years ago, I had been told that the dogs were deep fried. This was before I had even eaten one. I went and sampled the dogs. I asked the owner how they were prepared and what brand they were and she reacted as though I had asked her weight. I later found out where the dogs were made. I had assumed that the dogs were deep fried and posted this info (as well as a negative review of the dogs) on another forum. Someone who said they were an employee of Hot Dog Johnny's posted that the dogs are definitely not deep fried, but he would not say how they were prepared. Another employee that served me at Johnny's told me that the dogs were boiled. The person who owns the company that makes the hot dogs served at Johnny's told me that they are either boiled or steamed.

                I'm not 100% sure because the owner would not tell me. But the bottom line is that the dogs weren't good. At least that is my opinion as well as the opinion of my wife, son, and daughter.
                Can you tell me how you know the dogs are fried? I've since had the same dog served at Johnny's in a local deli near me. It was steamed and tasted exactly like the dogs that I had at Johnny's. But I'm willing, even curious to go back and try them again. I can understand the owner's reluctance to divulge the brand used (Schmalz skinless franks) but not her reluctance to say how they are cooked. Some people cannot eat fried food and deserve to know if the dogs are prepared this way.
                 
                #8
                  John Fox

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                  • Location: Union, NJ
                  RE: new jersey hot dog excursion Tue, 08/17/04 9:51 PM (permalink)
                  I believe Rutt's dogs are fried in vegetable oil.
                   
                  #9
                    brookquarry

                    • Total Posts: 277
                    • Joined: 2/27/2003
                    • Location: bangor, PA
                    RE: new jersey hot dog excursion Wed, 08/18/04 5:05 PM (permalink)
                    Hot dog Excursion continued
                    My next stop was theGalloping Hill Inn, a quaint establishment which appeared to me to be a well kept up 1920's or 30's era Roadhouse- modernized but still reataining the ambiance of that era. There was table service in a wood paneled dining room and walk-up window service in an enclosed with seating at small picnic tables. The place was clean and the restrooms spotless.
                    Iordered a chili dog, for varietys sake (and because it was the style of dog featured on Hollyeats). The chili was ordinary. Ibroke a piece off the dog to sample it plain. It was favorfull, with I thought a bolder and spicier taste than Jerry's or Tommy's.If return, Iwould order the dog plain.
                    My next stop was Rutt's Hut. This place is a true anachronism. It appears nothing- including the signs- has been changed in over 50 years. There is a bar-which I did not enter - and a walk up counter. You place your order and eat it standing up at a free standing counter condiments are available in huge metal bowls.Although the place is reasonably clean every thing has an old, shop worn appearance. Although there is a pretty vaied menu, everyone there when I ordered, was eating hot dogs.
                    All Rutts dogs are deep fried. I ordered a "Ripper" (midway on the Rutts scale of deep-friedness, between a 'in-and-outer" and a "Cremator"). I covered half the dog with Rutts sweet relish and ate the other half plain.Everyone says Rutts dogs taste unique.They do.I didn't like them. There was a deep-fat aftertaste. The relish, on the other hand, was exceptionally good. If
                    I was to return I would have an 'in-and-outer" covered with relish. (to be continued)

                     
                    #10
                      brookquarry

                      • Total Posts: 277
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                      • Location: bangor, PA
                      RE: new jersey hot dog excursion Wed, 08/18/04 5:36 PM (permalink)
                      John fox
                      In answer to your two questions
                      1. I assumed, based on the Holly eats web-site that Chrleys was closed on Sunday. I'm sorry I missed it. If its better than Tommys it must be good indeed.
                      2.I had the single at Tommys (with 5 hot dog stops in a couple hours, I wasn't going to order any doubles). The price was $5.25
                      Which I thought high. back home you get a much bigger cheesesteak with (presumably) more expensive meat for less than that. Of course, back home you can get a (admittedly bland) hotdog for 75 cents (Jimmys in Easton Pa)
                       
                      #11
                        brookquarry

                        • Total Posts: 277
                        • Joined: 2/27/2003
                        • Location: bangor, PA
                        RE: new jersey hot dog excursion Wed, 08/18/04 6:24 PM (permalink)
                        finally I came to my last stop: The Hot Grill. The hot grill has a 1980's fast food type ambience. Everything is well lit, bright clean and efficent. Typical fast food type booths. You order at the counter and the dog is assembled in the back and served on plastic trays. I had a Texas Wiener with the works. This is a hot dog with texas wiener sauce (sort of a bitter chili sauce) and lots of raw onions on top. To me the sauce tasted a lot like the sauce used on chilidogs by Yoccos,a small Allentown PA chain.I liked the dog better overall than Yoccos, maybe because of the onions, and maybe( I know this is starting to sound like a broken record) because the dog had more taste to it than Yoccos.
                        Overall,I liked all of the dogs except Rutts Ripper. My favorite was Tommys Italian dog, especially because of the home fries served with it. The place I am most likely to revisit, though is Galloping Hill, partly because its so convenient to the Garden State Parkway, and partly because its probably the only place my wife would enjoy (Its the most attractive). For ambiance however, I will still take Hot dog Johnnys Where else can you have hot dogs and chilled buttermilk on attractively landscaped grounds by the Pequest river. Taste isn't everything.
                         
                        #12
                          Jayson

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                          • Joined: 8/17/2004
                          • Location: North Jersey, NJ
                          RE: new jersey hot dog excursion Wed, 08/18/04 7:14 PM (permalink)
                          John, Ive asked people at Hot Dog Johnnys and they have told me they were fried. Maybe they tell different things to different people to keep it secret, who knows. Also my parents who live in this area since the early seventies have told me they asked long ago and were told they were fried. My parents grew up right near Rutts and used to frequent it when they were just starting to drive. My dad said it was big hangout for them(being kids then) and everyone used to park and hang out and show off there cars. He said the reason for the many no littering signs( which is obvious)is when they were young EVERYONE threw theyre garbage off the side. I love how clearly outdated the signs are with a fine of 50$ haha. He said before the road below was completed they used to drag race there too. Ahh, I wish as a kid I grew up in that time period rather than now. Anyway I love history of old places like that so I thought id share some. What do you think of Tobys Cups dogs? I think they deserve to be on the map just for the unique little stand they sell out of. One last thing, can you give me some info on how to order Schmalz's hot dogs that Hot Dog Johnnys uses? Thanks, Your the hotdog King!
                           
                          #13
                            Jayson

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                            • Joined: 8/17/2004
                            • Location: North Jersey, NJ
                            RE: new jersey hot dog excursion Wed, 08/18/04 7:16 PM (permalink)
                            Sorry, typo. I meant when the road BELOW the fence, not even sure exactly which one he is talking about, is where they drag raced.
                             
                            #14
                              John Fox

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                              • Joined: 12/3/2000
                              • Location: Union, NJ
                              RE: new jersey hot dog excursion Thu, 08/19/04 6:07 AM (permalink)
                              Jayson,
                              Maybe the dogs are fried at Johnny's. As I've stated, I have been told fried and boiled/steamed. I plan on making a trip again soon. I'll try and find out. Toby's Cup is my favorite hot dog in West Jersey. The dogs are a little tastier than the others. I get mine with just the yellow mustard and pickle slice (no onions). A different type of dog, and you can't beat the price. They use Berks from Pa.

                              There are 2 places that I know of where you can get Schmalz dogs. One is at the plant in Newark. Located on Napolean St. I forget how to get there. The other place is a deli in Clark called Federicos. Go to exit 135 on the Parkway, bear right off the exit, make a left onto Raritan rd. at the first light. Go to the next light and make a left into the Clarkton Shopping Center. Go towards the back and look for Federicos on the right hand side.
                               
                              #15
                                John Fox

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                                RE: new jersey hot dog excursion Thu, 08/19/04 6:27 AM (permalink)
                                Brookquarry,

                                Great job! I really enjoyed reading your comments. For me it's always fun to hear opinions of the places that I've been to, especially from someone going there for the first time. I should have told you to try the dog from the Galloping Hill Inn without the chili. The dog is better either plain or with some of their Dusseldorf mustard which is very good. This is one great dog. The chili isn't that good and I think it's the reason that Holly only gave it 3 grease stains.

                                Jerry's and Tommy's use an all beef dog that to me is spicier than the dogs used by the other 3 places. Maybe it's just the different spices in an all beef dog (garlic and paprika) that stand out. The Galloping Hill's dog is very flavorful with a different spicing.

                                Rutt's Hut is a place that evokes a wide variety of opinions. It seems that people either love or hate the dogs there. My family hates them and won't eat there. I love these dogs, although lately I enjoy the grilled beef/pork dogs from Galloping Hill Inn and the Windmill in my area more than the deep fried rippers. Next time you have to at least look in the bar area. A great place to have a few beers. It has an old time look and feel. They also have a dining area back there too.

                                Next time you're in the area, let me suggest that you try Syd's and Charlies. Charlies is right off exit 138 of the Parkway, but instead of turning right like you would for the Galloping Hill Inn, turn left, go about half a mile and turn left on Michigan Ave. Charlies is right there. Very clean and they have a restroom, as does Syd's. And you can get a single Italian Hot dog which is bigger than Tommy's for about $3.00

                                 
                                #16
                                  alesrus

                                  • Total Posts: 292
                                  • Joined: 8/19/2003
                                  • Location: Franklin, NJ
                                  RE: new jersey hot dog excursion Thu, 08/19/04 9:37 AM (permalink)
                                  Great job Brookquarry and Mr Fox you are the Hot dog Information King
                                  Thank You and I am looking forward to the 4th !
                                   
                                  #17
                                    trolasater

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                                    • Joined: 5/14/2004
                                    • Location: Raleigh, NC
                                    RE: new jersey hot dog excursion Thu, 08/19/04 11:08 AM (permalink)
                                    I worked in a hot dog stand during college that served really tasty hot dogs. Their secret was to simmer the "red hots" in pure lard. The red coloring would fade out and the dogs got soggy if you let them sit in hot water. They really didn't seem to soak up the lard. The owner always made a big deal about not telling anyone about the lard. Kept hot over a steam table, the lard didn't smoke.
                                     
                                    #18
                                      Michael Hoffman

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                                      • Location: Gahanna, OH
                                      RE: new jersey hot dog excursion Thu, 08/19/04 1:26 PM (permalink)
                                      A hotdog made of schmaltz? Now that would be interesting.
                                       
                                      #19
                                        John Fox

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                                        RE: new jersey hot dog excursion Sun, 08/29/04 2:22 PM (permalink)
                                        Jayson,

                                        I called Hot Dog Johnny's today and spoke with the owner. I wanted to ask her for directions and then I was planning to find out how the dogs were cooked by telling her that one of my children can't eat fried foods and asking if the dogs were prepared this way. She told me to check their website (http://www.hotdogjohnnys.com) for directions and then hung up before I could ask about the dogs. I called back, and she told me that they fry everything including the dogs. So you were right and I was wrong. Last time I was there, I was told that the dogs were boiled. Perhaps the employee meant boiled in oil? I'm planning on making a return trip sometime this week.
                                         
                                        #20
                                          Jayson

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                                          • Joined: 8/17/2004
                                          • Location: North Jersey, NJ
                                          RE: new jersey hot dog excursion Mon, 08/30/04 7:07 PM (permalink)
                                          John, I actually was just there one week ago on saturday and asked the girl who served me and she said they were fried. I meant to post that last week, just havent had time. I went to pick up Hot Dog Johnnys dogs, Schmalz's, at Fredericos two days ago on Saturday and I arrived exactly five minutes late. They closed at six and I got there at six o five. I was so dissapointed so im gonna head there earlier next weekend to pick them up. And like you said, they are the same dogs Hot Dog Johnnys uses right? While in the area I stopped in Kenilworth to go to charlies but then my friend and I had an uncontrollable craving for white castle so we jumped on 22 to union and that was the end of that. When you go to Johnnys this week let me know how you liked it this time and buy a whole pickel, sliced. They are excellent. Take care.
                                           
                                          #21
                                            John Fox

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                                            RE: new jersey hot dog excursion Tue, 08/31/04 9:27 AM (permalink)
                                            Jayson, sorry that Federicos was closed. They sell the dogs that are used at Hot Dog Johnny's. I was told this by the owner of Schmalz Provisions, who is their supplier. Let me give you a little history. A few years ago I was picked as a guest muncher for the Star Ledger's Munchmobile. We went around in a van reviewing hot dog carts and wagons. The article describing our travels was published in the Ledger shortly after. As a result, people that I know, many of which were on my mail route, started talking to me about their favorite hot dogs. A couple of people mentioned a place in Clark called Schmidt's (now Federicos) that they claimed sold excellent homemade franks. I went and bought a few that I took home and grilled. And enjoyed. While there, I asked about the dogs and was told that they weren't made on the premises, but supplied by Schmalz's Provisions. The owners of Schmalz's also owned Schmidt's, but sold it to the people who owned it when I first went there. These people have since sold it to the people who now own it, Federicos. Even though they are primarily an Italian deli and specialty store, they still carry Schmalz's franks, bratwursts, and other meats and maintain a good relationship with them.

                                            In an amazing coincidence, I saw a van on my route that said Schmalz Provisions. I spoke with the guy who owned the van and it turned out that he is the owner of Schmalz Provisions. I went to their plant in Newark and spoke with him there. The dogs can be bought there along with their other products. And for much cheaper than you would buy them at Federicos. While I was there, I asked him where else his hot dogs were sold and why I didn't see them in supermarkets. I was told that he had problems getting them in supermarkets, even being required to pay a fee to get them in there. He said his dogs are sold in Chicago and Russia. Yes, Russia! He then asked me if I heard of Hot Dog Johnny's. I said that I had, and he told me that his dogs are used there. They are sold to a distributor who sells them to Johnny's.

                                            When I went to the plant in Newark, the dogs were sold in packages labeled Schmalz. When buying them at Schmidt's/Federicos they come either loose or in unlabeled plastic packages.
                                             
                                            #22
                                              John Fox

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                                              RE: new jersey hot dog excursion Sun, 09/5/04 10:21 PM (permalink)
                                              Finally made it to Johnny's today. Surprised that I was still able to eat dogs after having 5 yesterday. I got 2 without onions and a birch beer. I forgot that they would also have relish and ketchup on them in addition to the yellow mustard and pickles that I expected. I went back and got another one with just mustard and pickles (which I pulled off and ate) in order to get a good taste of the dog itself. It is a Schmalz brand dog, small and skinless. Jayson, the dogs at Federicos are the same recipe, but have a natural casing and are a little bigger. If that makes a difference, then I would suggest going to the plant on Napolean St. in Newark where you will be able to get the exact ones served at Johnny's.

                                              These dogs are definitely deep fried. I also found out from someone who is friends with a Johnny's employee that they are fried in olive oil. To me, this is preferable to steaming or boiling this type of dog (beef/pork). The one time I went to Johnny's 2 or 3 years ago, I thought the dogs were awful. This time, they were ok. I think part of the reason that I didn't like them the first time was because I was expecting them to be so much better because so many people raved about them. This time I enjoyed them more. Decent, but nothing special. Typical of the dogs served in Westen Jersey/Pa. I like the dogs at Toby's Cup better. But Johnny's are ok; definitely not something I would classify as lousy like I did the last time. The birch beer was very good, and like many say; you can't beat the location and atmosphere.

                                              For a perfect hot dog experience, I would take the Syd's dog, top it with the chili from the Hot Grill, in a roadside joint like Hiram's, but put it where Hot Dog Johnny's is located.
                                               
                                              #23
                                                Red Head

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                                                • Joined: 9/1/2004
                                                • Location: Ambler, PA
                                                RE: new jersey hot dog excursion Sun, 09/5/04 10:43 PM (permalink)
                                                John,
                                                I am so impressed that you were able to eat another hot dog today. You truly are a hot dog authority. Where is Johnny's? When we took our daughter up to Penn State last week, we saw someone wearing a tee shirt from Hot Dog Johnny's. Is it near the PA border?
                                                Again, thanks for yesterday. It was a great day; everyone who was there had a fun and very informative day because of all of your hard work. Hank and I wore our hot dog pins, that Aleswench made, all day today so we could tell the people who asked about them about the NJ Hot Dog Tour.
                                                 
                                                #24
                                                  John Fox

                                                  • Total Posts: 2313
                                                  • Joined: 12/3/2000
                                                  • Location: Union, NJ
                                                  RE: new jersey hot dog excursion Mon, 09/6/04 8:56 AM (permalink)
                                                  Red Head,
                                                  Johnny's is located on rt 46 in Buttzville, which is in White Township in Warren County. Close to the Delaware Water Gap. They have directions on the website. If you are coming from Pa (they list Scranton) take 380 to rt 80 east to rt 46. Many of their customers come from Pa. I'm sure it's a lot closer to where you live than where we went on the tour.
                                                   
                                                  #25
                                                    mayor al

                                                    • Total Posts: 15075
                                                    • Joined: 8/20/2002
                                                    • Location: Louisville area, Southern Indiana
                                                    • Roadfood Insider
                                                    RE: new jersey hot dog excursion Mon, 09/6/04 9:54 AM (permalink)
                                                    Folks,
                                                    I have heard and read of the BBQ Culture, the Country Fried Steak Culture, The Chili Culture and Various Seafood Sub-Cultures. I am proud to say that I am now VERY Aware of the Hot-Dog Sub-Culture. What a great way to examine the way folks live in one particular segment of the country. I lived in New Jersey for 6 years (a generation ago) and learned quite a bit about Subs and Hoagies, but nothing about this HotDog World.
                                                    Thank You for opening new vista's for me.
                                                     
                                                    #26
                                                      Jayson

                                                      • Total Posts: 5
                                                      • Joined: 8/17/2004
                                                      • Location: North Jersey, NJ
                                                      RE: new jersey hot dog excursion Wed, 09/8/04 6:08 PM (permalink)
                                                      John, I just got back from the Schmalz plant. I asked the guy for hotdogs and he muttered something. He was russian or something. I asked again for hotdogs and he muttered something(possibly trying to ask me what kind) and then he showed me the kind packed with the Schmalz label. I said to myself I can easily ask someone else who knows better english but these look like the right dogs to me so I bought 5 packs. I brought them home and boiled them for a couple minutes to get them hot then into the fryer. Right away I could tell they werent the style of HDJ's because the skin was to thick and the dogs were bigger but had a similar taste still. But still not the ones I want so im gonna have to go back and talk to someone that can speak a bit better. I saw an italian hotdog truck set up just down the block, and again down another street. It was hotdog heaven. But thanks for letting me know HDJ's uses Schmalz. Im 90% the way there to having them in my own home anytime I want.
                                                       
                                                      #27
                                                        John Fox

                                                        • Total Posts: 2313
                                                        • Joined: 12/3/2000
                                                        • Location: Union, NJ
                                                        RE: new jersey hot dog excursion Wed, 09/8/04 6:40 PM (permalink)
                                                        Jayson, Sorry you didn't get what you wanted. Definitely go back. And ask for Mr. Schmalz. I think his first name is John. Tell him his old mailman sent you. I have a different route and haven't seen him in close to 2 years. Even when I was there, he was rarely home. I spoke to his wife and kids more than him. But tell him that you want to buy the exact same dogs that he sells to Johnny's. I'm sure he will be able to help you. You will probably have to wear a hairnet when you go inside. Good luck, and let me know how you make out. His father started the company I think, and may still be there. If an older guy comes out to meet you, mention his son (who lives in Colonia). He's the one I know.
                                                         
                                                        #28
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