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Rutt's Hut

417 River Rd., Clifton, NJ - (973) 779-8615
Posted By Michael Stern on 9/25/2007 11:04:00 PM
Fans of Rutt’s know the magnificent hot dogs served here as rippers because their skin tears and crinkles when they are deep fried. The oil bath turns the pork-and-beef links rugged, dark, and chewy on the outside, while the interior remains soft and juicy. Weenie wimps can ask for an “in and outer,” which gets plucked from the fat more quickly and remains thoroughly pink and plump; while those who crave maximum succulence can get one well-done, which is so porcine that it reminds us of fried pig skin.

The one stellar addition for a ripper is Rutt’s spicy-sweet relish, a dense yellow condiment made from onions, finely chopped carrots, and cabbage. Hamburgers and hot-from-the-kettle French fries are nice, too; and we are especially fond of Rutt’s chili: a chunky mid-Atlantic brew of clods of ground beef with an occasional bean among it, suspended in a vividly spicy tomato emulsion. With crumbled crackers on top, it’s a formidable meal.

Rutt’s serves hot-lunch meals as well as real drinks in an adjoining tap room with its own separate entrance. Here, amidst wood-panel décor, one can quaff many beers with platters of such blue-plate fare as chicken croquettes, stuffed cabbage, Jersey pork chops, and bean heavy chili by the cup or bowl. Prices are low, and the food we have tasted is mighty satisfying.

But if you are coming to Rutt’s only once, eat hot dogs at a counter. It’s a Roadfood experience to remember: Dine in a wide-open mess hall with high counters at the windows that provide a view of the parking lot. Stand and eat off paper plates, and for entertainment, enjoy the calls of the counter men as they sing out, “Twins, all the way,” meaning a pair of rippers with mustard and relish.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
hot dog with relish
Onion Rings
Ripper
Cremator
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

Left: a well-cooked ripper, unadorned. Right: a regular ripper, topped with Rutt's relish.
"Left: a well-cooked ripper, unadorned. Right: a regular ripper, topped with Rutt's relish."
Michael Stern





With a sprinkle of salt, Rutt's onion rings are fine if not particularly oniony-tasting.
"With a sprinkle of salt, Rutt's onion rings are fine if not particularly oniony-tasting."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle


The cremators aren't actually black, but they are crunchy and hard-crusted, with a taste a little bit like overcooked bacon.
"The cremators aren't actually black, but they are crunchy and hard-crusted, with a taste a little bit like overcooked bacon."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle


The dog with a bite out of it.
"The dog with a bite out of it."
Stephanie Volpe


Plain ole fries.
"Plain ole fries."
Stephanie Volpe


A view of the counters in the middle of Rutt's stand-up dining room. Next door in the tap room you can sit and eat, but for the Rutt's connoisseur, this is the only place to be.
"A view of the counters in the middle of Rutt's stand-up dining room. Next door in the tap room you can sit and eat, but for the Rutt's connoisseur, this is the only place to be."
Michael Stern


With a separate entrance around the corner from the stand-up hot dog side of Rutt's, this tap room has a vintage roadhouse ambience all its own.
"With a separate entrance around the corner from the stand-up hot dog side of Rutt's, this tap room has a vintage roadhouse ambience all its own."
Michael Stern


Outside Rutt's, you will meet some of the fattest pigeons and most well-fed gulls anywhere.  They cruise the parking lot looking for scraps.
"Outside Rutt's, you will meet some of the fattest pigeons and most well-fed gulls anywhere. They cruise the parking lot looking for scraps."
Michael Stern



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