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Rutt's Hut

417 River Rd., Clifton, NJ - (973) 779-8615
Posted By Brian Sniatkowski on 8/17/2010 5:17:00 PM
Rutt's Hut makes the finest hot dog in NJ. The nicotine-stained, never-left-the-50's seediness is part of the charm of this place.

Some of the negative reviews complain about the quality of the dog, which in fact is a high quality Thumann's dog made specially for the restaurant industry, and is identical to those served at a number of popular hot dog places in NJ. The difference at Rutt's is that they are deep-fried in beef tallow.

Sure, if you start venturing around the menu you're going to find a lot of clunkers. Roast duckling and leg of lamb? You'd have to be insane to order those here. I once saw a diner eating a ham steak that was served with some sort of pineapple jelly smeared on it. Yuk! Burgers? If you want a good burger what the heck are you doing in a hot dog place? That's like going to a seafood place and complaining about the ribeye steak.

You come to Rutt's for one reason: the hot dogs, and that is what they do "weller" than anybody "elser." Order a pair of rippers and smear them with mustard and the amazing relish (which I have not been able find the equal of anywhere. Heck I don't even like relish.) and you are in hot dog heaven. A mug of draft beer and frenchies with gravy make it even better.

Though most people seem to order the rippers, the dogs are also served as "In and Outers" (just barely cooked), "Wellers" (well-done) and "Cremators" (cooked until charred).

I've been to Pinks, Gray's Papaya, the original Nathan's, Hot Dog Johnny's, Hot Grill, Jimmy Buff's, Callihan's, Johnny and Hanges, Galloping Hill, Dickie Dee's... and all are very good at what they do, but none reach the sublime heights of a Rutt's Ripper.

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Scorecard

4 - Overall: One of the Best - Worth a Trip
Overall: One of the Best - Worth a Trip
hot dog with relish
Hot Dog
chili
Onion Rings
Ripper
Cremator
Rate this place
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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