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Rutt's Hut

417 River Rd., Clifton, NJ - (973) 779-8615
Posted By Rocco Patierno on 1/13/2013 10:15:00 PM
Like 95% of the patrons of Rutt's, I have been a regular since my high school days at Passaic HS. For me, that's nearly 50 years. I drive around a lot and whenever I'm within five miles of the place I get that "gotta have one" feeling, that craving for a ripper.

True, the place has as much charm as a hot dog vendor in NYC. True, the interior has a sort of "crustiness" about it. True, the place has never been updated, renovated, or in any way redecorated in all those years. True, the waitstaff both inside the restaurant and in the walk-in area (where I have always eaten) do not have the elegance of the staff at the Waldorf or the cutesiness of those who work at a Friday's (frankly, they don't have the time, or even give a s&*t).

But all that plus the wonderful-tasting, greasy, lowdown, cholesterol-laden, "don't tell my doctor I'm eating this" food is precisely the reason folks LOVE the place and remain so loyal. On a recent visit I asked a guy to take my picture so I could email it to my high school buddy living in Florida. He was there with his 12-year-old son, and HIS father. The old man said he's been coming here for over 55 years, and he was getting a ripper to go for his 88-year-old father to sneak into the nursing home. That's four generations. How's that for loyalty?

The dogs are just the best and the fries are great too. I even get breakfast here on occasion: scrambled eggs with Taylor ham and toast, delicious. Some tips: never eat in the dining room, always at the stand-up counter. You'll meet more interesting people and the servers are the real thing. Learn the lingo: ripper or dog or weller = hot dog; Frenchy = French fries; rings = onion rings; howdy = orange soda; Marvis = chocolate drink (Yoo-hoo); BB = barbeque beef sandwich; Bobo = BLT, and if you want extra mayo ask for heavy on the whip.

Food junkies welcome; gourmets stay away. See you there. Hail to the red and hail to the blue.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
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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