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.