Excellent | Worth a Detour
Tommy’s Italian Sausage and Hot Dogs
Review by: Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle
North Jersey is well known for its great hot dogs, but the fine Italian sausage of the region should not be ignored. We present as example Tommy’s Italian Sausage in Elizabeth, a take-out only storefront that makes its own sausage and serves it up in the same classic configuration as an Italian hot dog, in a split loaf of what’s called pizza bread (like a cross between pita and Italian bread) with fried potatoes, onions and peppers. The sausage is sliced open and grilled to crustiness, then slipped into the fresh bread. The predominant flavor of this sausage is pork rather than spice, with a satisfying coarse-ground meaty texture.
We also love the excellent Italian hot dogs at Tommy’s, which we get with a spritz of ketchup. While we generally abhor ketchup on franks, we make an exception for the Italian dog, as the ketchup ends up mostly on the fried potatoes, where it belongs. The hot dogs themselves are primo; while they play a supporting role in an Italian dog, they’d do as well playing lead on a standard bun with brown mustard. As always, we recommend a half-moon shaped double for the Italian dog.
Tommy’s also offers a mind-boggling array of beverages to choose from. While there’s nowhere to dine at Tommy’s itself, there’s a pleasant little park directly across the street. Well, maybe park is overstating it a bit. It’s a grassy little triangular traffic island. There are benches there to sit and feast. Across the street from the “park” in another direction is a strip club.
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