60 dollars for 5 hotdogs? hope you had a lot of brewskis with that
Stephen Rushmore Jr.
Sixteenth and final outing, 8/29
81) HotDog Arena, Hamilton
This marks our final trip. Because the final wrap up in the Star Ledger was the most comprehensive article, Pete Genovese had to devote a lot of time to it. On top of that, he had to go to the 5 winners in each category to interview them for the article. With the deadline fast approaching, our final trip was not covered in the Ledger. But you can read about it here.
The HotDog Arena is a fairly small luncheonette with a few tables. This is an example of a place that tries to do too many things, and as a result doesn’t do a great job with any of them. On their menu, they have a description of a number of different dogs, each with their own name and description. Some that were on the menu have been discontinued. The 4 that were available on this day were: 1) a Nathan’s skinless dog that was prepared on a roller grill. A tasty dog even prepared this way, but a natural casing Nathan’s on a griddle would have been much better. 2) A Fiesta Dog. This is a big Berk’s beef/pork dog filled with cheese and spicy jalepeno pepper. We had the same dog at Jimmy’s on the Delaware. This dog may have also been prepared on the roller grill, but I’m not sure. 3) Hatfield beef/pork dog (8 to a lb skinless) boiled in beer. Bad, but not as bad as the dog at Tido’s. This particular dog just has a weird spicing. 4) Hebrew National 1/4 lb footlong, prepared on the roller grill. Again, a decent dog, but prepared like they do a baseball stadium rather than a hot dog joint. The young woman was quick and efficient. She was also helpful and had a knowledge of the different dogs served there.
82) Casino Tony Goes, Trenton
They call their dog the Original Italian Hot Dog. It is not. Jimmy Buffs was selling Italian Hot Dogs at least three years before Casino Tony Goes. But they are allowed to call theirs the Original, but not the Originator. Only Buffs can call theirs the Originator. To me it is semantic mumbo jumbo. Casino Tony Goes is popular in and around Trenton. In fact, they are looking to expand. They have already opened a location in Pennsylvania. On a side note, the strip mall where they opened in PA has a restaurant that serves their version of an Italian Hot Dog, which they called a Jersey Italian Hot Dog. Casino Tony Goes actually threatened legal action, so the PA place started calling their product a Pennsylvania style Italian Hot Dog. And their version (the PA restaurant) is more authentic in my opinion because they use a flavorful all beef dog, while Casino uses a beef and pork dog. I also think it’s a little hypocritical to threaten legal action when they falsely claim to be the original.
All that aside, what Casino Tony Goes serves is not what I consider an authentic Italian Hot Dog, which is served on circular Italian pizza bread (not a sub roll) stuffed with all beef hot dogs that have been fried in oil (not grilled) and topped with peppers, potatoes (not french fries), and onions. Their version is common in the southern half of Jersey and many pizzerias both north and south that really don’t sell a lot of Italian Hot Dogs. Some of these sandwiches (most notably Mijos in Colonia) are quite good. Casino Tony Goes isn’t.
Here they put a grilled beef and pork Dietz and Watson frank on a torpedo roll and top it with a few big chunks of green pepper and home fries. You can see it on http://www.casinotonygoes.com. It doesn’t even look appetizing in the pictutre. The dog itself tasted good but is all wrong for this sandwich. You need a spicy, kosher style all beef dog whose spices blend in better with the oils and vegetables.
This type of dog is popular in and around Trenton, but I consider it a different version of the true and original Italian Hot Dog invented in Newark, N.J.
83) Patty Wagon, Spotswood
A truck owned by a woman named Patty. The dogs were small 12 to a lb Sabretts that weren’t served hot enough. Average chili. Very forgettable.
863,440,440,2007-03-03 15:24:51,RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs”
Today I went to the Grand Opening of a new hot dog restaurant. Called Amazing Hot Dog, it is located in a small strip mall at 148A Bloomfield Ave. in Verona. http://www.amazinghotdog.com.
The serve natural casing 1/4 lb Best’s all beef dogs. The dogs are quickly flash fried and pulled from the oil before the skin rips. This is a well seasoned beef frank that doesn’t need to be in the oil for as long as a milder pork based dog. This place specializes in toppings. You can get cream cheese and scallions on your dog as well as a fried egg and bacon wrapped around it. There are many other toppings as well. They also serve hamburgers which are good, although a little small for the price ($4.25) and french fries that might be the best that I’ve had. Thin, boardwalk style fires that are fried twice and well seasoned.
I had a plain dog with mustard that was juicy, beefy, and tasty. I prefer the 5 to a lb dog from Best’s which is longer and thinner, but the shorter, thicker quarter pounder is actually a better choice if you’re going to serve a lot of toppings. The other dog I had was wrapped with a slice of bacon and topped with delicious chili and coleslaw which was much better than average. The chili might be the best I’ve had on a hot dog. There wasn’t much on mine, plus it was topped with coleslaw. Next time I’ll get a dog with just mustard and chili in order to better evaluate the chili.
A great new place; clean, great dogs, friendly owners. My first choice for a great tasting fried beef dog.
where is this Sal’s which you speak of John Fox, as Clark is right near my home!!!
My First Visit to Charlie’s Pool Room
I finally made my first trip to Charlie’s Pool Room in Alpha, NJ today. What a place! Is this the quintessential roadfood palce or not?
Here are some of the Stern’s guidelines for a good roadfood place that you will find at Charlie’s:
1) Owners on site.
2) Serves a unique dish.
3) Concentrates on what they do best.
4) Limited and/or unique menu. (I could not find a menu – they only make hot dogs three different ways.)
5) Makes their special dish in a unique manner. (When was the last time you had a hot dog called a "mealie"?)
I think the only thing they were missing was the placement of a hot dog on the roof of the building.
Charlie’s is a unique place. You walk in and wonder what is this dark and obviously old place. You look into what appears to be a dining room and and there is an old pool table covered with a cloth. Then you notice a few long benches along the walls, but the only place to eat is at a single large round table with about eight chairs around it.
You don’t see any place to order or anything that resembles a kitchen. A voice calls out from the back "I’ll be with you in a moment" because they have heard you squeaking the floorboards as you investigated this funny little place.
Shortly, Joe Fencz walks out from the bowels of the building to take your order. Joe is a friendly man, so he asks you your name, shakes your hand, and seems to want to get to know you personally. This a Saturday morning just before noon and there is no one else in the place.
After you order two hot dogs, Joe asks you how you want them. Since all you seem to remember is that they make a great relish (properly referred to as a sauce) you ask Joe what your choices are.
He explains that you can have your dog with their home made sauce, sauce and onions, or sauce, onions, and hot peppers. John explains that this last version is known as a "mealie". You order one with sauce and onions and the other as a mealie. You ask for pickle with both. The total cost is $3.65.
John Fencz, Joe’s brother also comes out of the back of the building to get your order from Joe. John then heads back to wherever the kitchen is located to prepare your hot dogs.
As you wait for your hot dogs you talk Chicago style hot dogs with Joe. Joe seems to know hot dogs and is very enthusiastic about them. He begins to mention that some of their customers have come because they saw his place on hollyeats.com. You mention that you saw them there but that you also read about them in the NJ Hot Dog forum on roadfood.com.
Joe says that they do not have a computer, but that he knows John Fox and has heard of the NJ Hot Dog forum. You say that you have met Joe on the most recent NJ Hot Dog Tour.
Gradually you and Joe move into the dining area and settle at the round table to talk about hot dogs, roadfood, and eating while traveling. John finishes preparing your hot dogs and gives them to John, who serves them to you.
As you eat these amazing hot dogs, John comes out and listens to your continuing conversation with Joe. As you munch your dogs you notice that the "mealie" is the better dog. The unique sauce is great, but the addition of a few thin slivers of cherry peppers adds the slightest bit of heat that makes this a world class hot dog.
You also notice that you are taking your time and savoring your conversation with Joe and that John has joined the two of you. John listens intently as you speak. You gradually include John in the conversation. You also notice that your dogs are still warm.
John makes the dogs by slowly pan frying them in a little bit of oil until they are cooked through and have a slight chew. They are then placed in a steamed bun and covered in the warm sauce. This makes for a tasty dog that stays warm a lot longer than most.
When a few more customers come in, Joe gets up to take their order. Joe,3,440.422,1,7586,188.8.131.52
861,440,440,2007-03-02 12:17:27,RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs”
Fat Mikes was a hotdog place on the south side of rt.17. Im not sure if it was in Hasbtouck Hieghts. But anyway the hotdogs were boiled and thay may have been a certain grade of sabrett. They had other food there but hotdogs were what they were known for. On the wall in the place there was a picture of a fat fellow who won a hotdog eating contest there. It might have been Fat Mike himself but I don’t know that for sure. I think they went out of buss. more then 7 years ago. The chile sauce was insane. I remember it exactly it had little tiny bits of meat in it and was kinda like the texture of a chineese lobster sauce only of course it was chile. If anyone ever finds info. on this place PLEASE post it I BEG YOU.
Today I went to Sal’s Dog House in Clark. It’s in the same town I work in, so I’ve been there quite a few times. The dogs are dirty water Sabrett’s with a natural casing. Easily one of the better Sabrett dirty water dogs. They are always fresh and delicious, with a great snap. And they are always served at the perfect temperature. I should have asked if he has some kind of thermostat or device that keeps the water at a constant temperature. The only thing I wish was different about Sal’s dogs are their size. I prefer a dog bigger than 12 to a lb. But they are tasty, so I just get more of them. Their chili is very spicy. I had 3 dogs; 2 with just mustard and one with mustard and chili. The chili tasted so much like Father & Son’s that I had to ask Sal if he got it from there.
Turns out that he did. I had mentioned in my review of the summer of 2006 (Munchmobile) that the first time I went and got a chili dog, it was awful. I vowed never to have another dog from Sal’s with chili. One day someone gave me a dog from there that had chili on it. I was happy to discover that the chili was different and better. It was Father & Son’s. Sal says he believes it is the best chili around and it is so much easier for him to buy it rather than making his own. He was given a recipe from somewhere and told me that most chilis made at hot dog restaurants have a long list of ingredients that have to be added at the precise time. It’s too much of a hassle according to him.
Steve’s Hot Dog Wagon on Elizabeth Ave. in Linden also uses chili from Father & Son.
Stephen Rushmore Jr.
Fourteenth outing, 8/25
67) John’s Texas Weiners, Newark
A small old fashioned luncheonette serving the smallest Texas Weiner I’ve seen. Smaller than even a 12 to a lb dog. It was a skinless Sabrett all beef dog prepared on a griddle. The chili was unbalanced and had an overly cinnamony flavor. Underwhelming.
68) Karl Ehmer’s, Hillsdale
Karl Ehmer’s is the name of a butcher shop in Queens. It has been there a long time and eventually expanded and opened up other stores in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. Some have since closed, but you can check their website to find their current locations and other places that sell their franks and sausages. Everything is made in the Queens location and sent to their stores.
The Hillsdale Karl Ehmer’s has a cart outside of the store that serves hot dogs, bratwurst, weisswurst, and other sausages. This cart has a griddle, a grill, and a compartment for water. You can get your dog or sausage any way you like, but if you don’t specify, it will come prepared on the griddle. As for the hot dogs, you have a choice of all beef or German style beef and pork. Both are excellent. I had been here once previously. I had both dogs and bought some at the store to bring home. On this particular visit I discovered that the German frank sold for take home and served at the cart is not produced by Karl Ehmer, but rather by Kochers Meats in Ridgefield. All of the other products are made by Ehmers.
The all beef dog was excellent. A typical New York/New Jersey Jewish style all beef dog well spiced. 6 to a lb with a tough natural casing. Definitely one of the better beef dogs available in the area. But the German style dog from Kochers that was served at the cart was a standout. It took 3rd place for best grilled dog. Unfortunately there was only one category for grilled dogs rather than 2; I tried to get one for all beef and one for beef/pork. Had there been a beef/pork category, this dog would have taken first place. The 2 that finished above Ehmers (Syd’s and Boulevard Drinks) are both all beef dogs. It is also 6 to a lb, with a natural casing. The mix here is 70% beef, 30% pork. No garlic or paprika. Similar to many of the better European butcher shop or pork store hot dogs in that it is fresh, high quality, tender, and loosely packed. I’ve compared this dog to others in this style and it is better. It is right up there with Thumanns griller. You can get this dog to take home at this location or at Kochers. I was to Kochers and was told that their dogs are sold at between 30 and 40 different stores, delis, and hot dog restaurants. Definitely one of the best hot dogs tasted all summer.
69) Hank’s Franks, route 46 Lodi
Hank’s is a small hot dog restaurant located on busy rt 46. One of the more well known places in Jersey, although it was my first time there. The dog is a 12 to a lb natural casing all beef Sabrett served dirty water style. There was a line when we went, but service was fast and efficient. They have enough people working there and they prepared the dogs quickly. Although small, they were served hot and had a decent snap. Above average spicy chili.
70) Danny’s Dogs, Garfield
Tiny little place serving 11 to a lb boiled Sabretts. Run of the mill. A thick chili that was too spicy for my taste.
71) Teddy’s, Paterson
Teddy’s is a converted bar that is located in a dingy industrial area. An obscure place that I had never heard of before, and am sure that not too many people know of. We went here based on an e-mail recommending it. The women on the team complained about the dirty restroom and were reluctant to eat here. It has the atmosphere of an old neighborhood bar, which it was in a previous life. As for the dogs, I was glad to discover that Teddy’s served something a little different. I was expecting another small dirty water dog. What we got was a natural casing 6 to a lb Sabrett beef dog that was deep fried. And a great deal at $1.50. This s,3,440.419,1,7406,184.108.40.206
858,440,440,2007-03-01 07:18:39,RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs”
I’ve heard of Fat Mike’s, but didn’t know how long it has been gone from the Jersey Hot Dog Scene…just heard of the legend.
Aside from the fact that several people miss the place and that their chili was special, does anyone have any specific details on what kind of a place it was?
Meaning, description of place, type and size of frankfurter sold, toppings favored aside from chili, and the general aura of the restaurant.
287 South to exit 13, Route 28 (I believe going south there’s only one exit, no A and B). Make a left at the light onto Route 28 East and Amazing Hot Dog is up ahead on the right. The parking lot comes first and you’ll see a 7-Eleven in the same parking lot. There’s also a Burger King across the street as another landmark. If I’m wrong about any of this someone correct me.
Does anyone here have any knowledge of the fate of J’s Beef in Linden? I stopped there today craving a Chicago dog at about 2:30 and they were closed.
Great picture! When I first saw it, I knew it had to be either Rutt’s Hut or Hiram’s. Hiram’s dogs don’t usually rip open as much as those pictured unless you specify that you want yours "well". The tables at the 2 places are similar, but upon closer inspection, the mustard and relish containers are definitely those that you find at Rutt’s Hut.
Simply Amazing !!
Gonna have to get over to the new location in Bound Brook one of these days .
Whats the best directions coming from the north ,say GSP or Rt. 287 ??
An excellent combination for the deep fryer is half beef tallow and half peanut oil. Maybe Rutts uses half or some other portion of vegetable oil along with beef fat?
You either love them or hate them .
Rutts was our final destination on the Jersey Hot Dog Tour this past Sept.
Despite the full stomachs almost everyone tried a Ripper .
Varying likes and dislikes .
I myself love them with the best relish I’ve ever tasted.
Thanks for the photos
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