An Italian hot dog, also known as a Newark dog, is an all-beef wiener that is deep-fried until its outside is taut enough to crunch. One of these dogs, or preferably two, if you order a double as most people do, are hoisted from the oil and nestled inside a half a round loaf of sturdy Italian bread.
The hot dogs are just the beginning of this amazing sandwich. Atop the twin tube steaks are piled a mound of sautéed onions and peppers; and atop the onions and peppers go a half-pound of crisp-fried hunks of potato. There you have it: an amazing sight, a whole meal (and then some) in a wheelbarrow of a bun. Options atop this mighty mess include mustard or ketchup, a spill of marinara sauce, or Jimmy Buff’s onion relish. The relish is delicious, but it is scorchingly hot; those with the cajones to survive it get their name inscribed on an honor roll posted on Jimmy Buff’s wall.
Jimmy Buff's started in Newark back in the 1930s. The oldest of the current restaurants Jimmy Buff’s remains a great neighborhood establishment at 60 Washington Street in West Orange (phone: 973-325-9897). There are other branches, including those in East Hanover's Castle Ridge Plaza and on Rt. 22 West in Scotch Plains.