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: 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, and scorchingly hot.
Jimmy Buff’s started in Newark back in the 1930s and is thought to be the place the Newark dog first was served. Proprietor James Racioppi believes his grandparents, James and Mary Racioppi, originated Newark hot dogs during the Depression as a snack to serve friends who came to their North Ward apartment to play cards each week. “After a while, people started coming just to eat,” Mr. Racioppi says. “So in 1932 they opened a store at 14th and 9th to sell the sandwiches. That was the beginning.”