OK, you guys are KILLING me! Where’s the guy from waaaaaaaaaaay up thread who wanted to start up an Italian hot dog gig in South Florida? I have been craving my favorite childhood hot dog–from Jackie’s (now closed I think) in Belleville, NJ. I would gladly patronize and "evangelize" on behalf of some enterprising Jersey boys/girls who could produce such a dog somewhere between Delray Beach and Ft. Lauderdale. (Sorry, I’m not braving traffic through Miami–not even for a fix!)
The trouble down here seems to be the bread as much as anything else. Ask any (sane) South Floridian. You CAN’T (well, you can, but you really shouldn’t) drink the water down here, so how the heck can you possible make decent pizza dough (or even a bagel for that matter)with such swill? Water here is either full of sulfur or full of chlorine, or both and it’s N A S T Y!!! I don’t know how they purify whatever came through Essex County, NJ, but it must be the secret to the bread.
Why do I wax on not-so-poetically about the bread? That’s easy. I can order Sabretts, Viennas, Schickhaus, Thuman’s, Best’s etc. I can even find a well-seasoned grill to cook ’em on! But what am I supposed to do with a lovely hot dog and a pile of potatoes, peppers, and onions when all they give me down here is "dead" bread????
Italian hot dog and pizza lovers (and Italians in general, for that matter)have lost hope here in South Florida. Oh sure, occassionally there will be some new place that supposedly has great pizza or Italian style (fill in the blank). Dutifully, like lemmings, we wander into these places like zombies, bereft of all hope. Once in a while we find something that is sufficient, which then becomes our place, but most of the time we take one bite and grudgingly finish something inferior. Or worse, we get some glimmer of hot dogs, pizzas, and breads past (<–I guess that’s what would have happened if Dickens had written about life in Newark instead of London). We leave confused-but-hopeful only to return more alert a week or so later and find that it was nothing but an illusion.
If you build it, (and I mean the "real" it complete with appropriate supplies of purified Passaic River water to make the bread) we will come.
Stephen Rushmore Jr.
I stopped at Jimmy Buff’s in East Hanover the other day. My quest was to find an Italian Dog that I liked. The only one I had tried that I liked was at Mijo’s.
What I liked about that dog was that it was relatively dry and the potatoes were crisp. I prefer my potatoes to be crisp especially in things like hash browns and home fries.
I had read some postings on this forum by Jimmy Buff and was inclined to give his recommendations a try. He recommended ordering a "dry sandwich" and the potatoes well done. This seemed to throw the lady at the counter who took my order – she did not seem to quite know what I was talking about, but she took the order anyway.
Jimmy Buff’s runs a Tuesday special of a double Italian dog for the price of a single. It was Tuesday so I ordered the double.
From reading Jimmy Buff’s posts on this board I was impressed by his dedication to customer service. I had a chance to chat with Jimmy as he made my dogs and found him to be very friendly and customer oriented.
Once I got my dogs I carefully picked the potatoes off and let them cool on the side. I tried one of them and they were nice and crisp – but too hot to eat immediately.
Instead, I started to work on the double dog. Nestled under a nice pile of soft fried onions and peppers were two fried hot dogs. They had just the right snap and spices to compliment the onions and peppers. A light coating of brown mustard inside the soft but firm half moon of bread tied the sandwich together.
As the potatoes cooled off I started to eat them as well. The quest was accomplished – I had found an Italian dog that I liked. Although Italian dogs may never become my first choice (having been born and raised on the south side of Chicago my preferences lie there) I have found somewhere that makes an Italian dog that suits my preferences.
I also discovered that Jimmy Buff’s makes an amazing foot long dog. I have read what John Fox says about this dog and completely agree with him. The foot long dog is a great experience.
As John says, it is deep fried and then finished on a grill. This gives the dog a wonderful snap as well as great flavor. Put a little brown mustard on this dog and you have a great balance between the snap of the dog, the spices in the dog, the mustard, and the flavors from the way the dog was cooked.
All of that pales when you put the chili that Jimmy serves with this dog on the dog itself. I have eaten a lot of chili in a lot places over the years. I have never encountered a chili quite like this one.
Over the past year I have sampled several hot dog chilis at different places around New Jersey and elsewhere. The most common type of chili served on dogs is what I refer to as Greek or Cincinnati chili. This is a sweet chili that is heavy on spices like cloves, mace, and cinnamnon. The other kind of chili is a traditional TexMex chili – sometimes including beans.
John Fox describes the chili at Jimmy Buff’s East Hanover as "Bolognese" style. For those who do not watch Molto Mario, Bolognese is a style of tomato based meat sauce that is heavy on the meat and served on pasta. I agree with this description as a "Bolognese" style chili rather than pasta sauce.
The little cup of chili that Jimmy serves is just the right amount for you to put some on your foot long dog and eat a little directly. I liked it both ways. It complimented the dog perfectly.
In eating the chili directly I found it had a bit of sweetness and a bit of green pepper flavor and a bit of hot pepper bite. Not a lot of heat – just enough that you knew it was there. Jimmy also appears to chop his own meat that he puts in the chili. The different sizes of the chopped meat also lend an interesting mouth feel to this chili.
The foot long hot dog was a bonus on my quest. I went looking for an Italian hot dog and found a great foot long dog and some wonderful chili. It is a bit of a drive from,3,440.460,1,7586,18.104.22.168
899,440,440,2007-04-27 14:29:42,RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs”
Welcome back to New Jersey! While here, you must also try Syd’s. Galloping Hill Inn is still referred to as Peterson’s by people who remember it when it was called that. In fact, I have to correct my wife when I hear her giving directions to our home. She always says to make the first left past Peterson’s. To someone not familiar with the area, they would be looking forever for Peterson’s since it hasn’t been on the buiding in years. I’ve never had the dogs prior to the new owners taking over, but was told it is based on the Gaiser’s recipe, but now made by Grote & Weigel. The rolls are now made by Pechters rather than Zimmermans.
Never heard of Zap’s & Kaps, but I have heard of Walts. They are long gone but far from forgotten. They used an all beef Haydu dog that they cooked on a griddle. What brand of dog was used at Zap’s & Kaps?
Nathan’s are good if you get the natural casing dogs and if they are prepared right. Slowly on the griddle.
In New York, the Brooklyn Diner serves a huge dog made by Golden D. Most places use Sabrett. I believe the 2nd Ave Deli uses Empire National kosher dogs. You can also find Hebrew National at Fine & Shapiro. Crif Dogs serve a deep fried Thumann’s dog. Hallo Berlin uses a quality beef and pork dog from Karl Ehmer’s.
Glad that you can enjoy the beef/pork version of the Sabrett dog that is used at the Windmill. The new issue of New Jersey Monthly has an article about Max’s and the Windmill.
I saw the paper finally off the windows a few weeks back. Have not been able to get there yet but i may be in the area on Wed. I may be in that area too early so i may have to wait until i wind up there at a later date. Let us know how they are if you wind up getting there!
Tommy’s South, 2nd location of Tommy’s Italian Hot Dogs and Sausages is closed for good. I was at Tommy’s in Elizabeth Sunday and asked about their North Brunswick store. I had heard that it was being remodeled, but that isn’t the case. I guess in that part of Jersey they don’t really get the Italian Hot Dog.
On another note, the Mexican restaurant located where Frank & Fries was is now closed. Maybe that location is jinxed.
I am returning to New Jersey this week for a trip down nostalgia lane. High on my list is the Galloping Hill Inn. I am true hot dog connoisseur, but I certainly tip my hat to John Fox whose knowledge amazes me. I was fortunate enough to brought up in Roselle Park, a stone’s throw from Five Points. Eating there from roughly 1955 through 1976, when I moved to Central Pa. then to FL.I used to be "counter-buddies" with Frank, the son, who knew me well from my extensive patronage. The place was also known as "Peterson’s," as much or more than "Five Points." I loved their hot dogs dearly, but about five years ago I passed through on vacation and felt they went down a notch. Now I know why, thanks to this forum.
However, the purpose of this missive is to ask if anyone remembers the true king of hot dogs, Hap’s & Kaps on Westfield Avenue in Roselle Park? These were the greatest hot dogs I’ve ever had, I can remember the flavor 50 years later! These dogs, which sold for 12 cents, were thin. Perhaps 3/4" diameter, and they always had the snap of being grilled long enough. They flew off the griddle at lunch time when the high school kids came in and pretty much moved briskly all the time. But being so thin, if they overstayed their welcome on the griddle (and a group were always there, just in case)they became hard on one side, anywhere from a little hard to maybe an 1/8" deep. Even they tasted great! The best by far–does anyone else remember them?
And how about "Walt’s" in Linden on the main highway–was it US? They were excellent hot dogs–they are long closed–and probably forgotten. Also, on the Jersey Shore, in Manasquan or Seaside Heights I believe, was a place called GeeGee’s with some excellent dogs.
Here in Florida for the last 25+ years, I’ve searched far and wide for great hot dogs. There used to be a place in Miami called "Coney Island Franks" which easily could have been transplanted from NJ or NY. Gone now. Nathan’s ran some free standing places(and still does). I know of one in Boca Raton back of City Place.
There is a place in St. Petersburg, George’s Meat Market Inc
4611 Haines Rd N, that sells (or at least did sell) Dubuque Hot Dogs, right from Iowa beef country–but now I just read Dubuque Meats went belly up in the 80’s. Again, there wa a great place called LaVerne’s near me in Hobe Sound FL that "imported" Shickhaus Hot Dogs weekly. They were life sustaining. But she retired.
So now I’m stuck with Miami Subs, serving Nathan’s–which they apparently bought. They have a number of outlets here in FL, and the hot dogs are good as long as you order them well-done. Otherwise they may have no snap.
As far as I’m concerned, Mel’s in Tampa sucks. How can any NJ boy eat a Chicago hot dog?
I’ll be glad to hear if anyone has discovered any great FL hot dog joints. And if anyone remembers the spots I mentioned. PS, aren’t there some great hot dog place in New York (that don’t serve Sabrett’s)? Can anyone give me a place or two to try, please? Thanks.
does anyone rememeber haydus hot dogs?they used tobe a jersey staple,but I think they are gone now. I used to know some of the haydu family in livingston
also enjoyed the note about seymours in livingston…used to go there as a kid on the way home from school for a soda- I remember well it cost 10 cents…seymour himself was quite a guy- all the kids loved him
Anyone hear or know anything about J’s Beef on the Seaside boardwalk? I’m guessing it’ll be a seasonal operation?
I had 2 dogs today from 2 different places in Red Bank. Had one with "everything" from G&G’s Truck. Pretty good dog, although I prefer a belly buster from JJ’s or Tony’s. The roll was a little stale, possibly because of his outdoor location and the past few days weather? Second dog was from That Hot Dog Place in an alley off Monmouth St. The website is http://www.soupmeister.com. The owner has some local fame because of his soups, but the dogs are good too, dirty water Sabretts and grilled 1/4 pounders (not sure of the brand). I had his version of a chicago dog, no idea how accurate it was, but it was good. I think he used regular relish and not the infamous Chicago relish I’ve read about, and hot spicy relish in place of sport peppers. There was mustard, a pickle spear, sliced tomatoes and celery salt. The roll was a smallish sub roll, no poppy seads. Again I have no idea how accurate the dog was but it was good.
The Munchmobile SWAT DOG Team will be hitting between 3-5 places every week for the rest of the season. It’s supposed to be secret, so I won’t be able to reveal where we will be going. If the people who run and operate these hot dog restaurants knew when we will be coming, they would be prepared to perhaps provide service (and quantity) above and beyond what they would normally provide to the general public on an average day. Sort of like how restaurant reviewers try to go incognito so as to get a true indication of the restaurant’s normal experience. For example, I know of a few places that freeze their leftover bread (for Italian Hot Dogs). If they knew we were coming, they would make sure that everything would be fresh and better than what they would normally serve.
I can tell you that the articles will be in the paper on Friday; both for the regular Munchmobile series as well as the Swat Dog Team. I’m really looking forward to this. We will be reviewing approximately 55-70 hot dog joints.
Rumor has it that another regular poster on Roadfood has been chosen as a member of the Swat Dog Team.
You wouldn’t believe the abuse I took at work for dressing up in that costume.
I’ve noticed that a place called New England Hot Dog Co. has finally opened on Route 9 North in Freehold. I have yet to check it out myself, has anyone else gone? It’s in a large strip mall South of the Raceway Mall, but on the Northbound side. The website is http://www.nehotdog.com . I’ve been waiting for months for it to open and I think I’ll try to get there in the next week or so and will post when I do.
In Paterson you have Libby’s, Duffy’s Grill, (where Johnny & Hanges used to be) and numerous luncheonettes that serve Texas Weiners or "hot dogs all the way". In Clifton there is the Hot Grill, Corral, and Getty Grill. In Totowa there is Pappy’s Diner. Falls View has close to 10 locations scattered around North Jersey. Johnny & Hanges is in Fair Lawn. Just drive around anywhere near Paterson and you’re bound to find a number of places that have what you’re looking for.
John I agree with your take on the peppers. When I owned my Seven Eleven we had a period of time that Tomatoes went to nearly $8 per pound. I sold over 150 grinders a day. Most places charged extra for them or raised their prices. I kept my prices the same and put up a sign telling my customers that I appreciated their business and I would adsorb the increase since it is cyclical and prices will go back down My customers really appreciated it.
I took the day off yesterday to drive my daughter back to school, which gave my daughter an extra day home this weekend. My son was home too so the three of us took the ride. On the way we stopped at the Hot Dog Caboose in Midland Park which got a favorable write up in the Star Ledger a while back.
Be warned this is a "stand outisde and wait for your food" type place, not recommended on a 13 degree day like yesterday. Fortunately we were the only customers at about 12 noon, so the wait was short. There are a few picnic tables around, but yesterday was definitely a day to eat in the car. Oh, and no bathroom of any type. So much for having made 2 other food stops on the way there (Corrado’s and Basse Nuts) without using any facilities.
My son and I each had 2 chili dogs and pronounced them excellent. I added a cup of terrific Cheddar Cheese soup, which just seemed right on a day like yesterday. The dogs were dirty water Sabretts, with very good Chili. The Chili was thier own, and very flavorful without being too sweet or spicy. My daughter, who is a vegetarian this week, (and I think last week too and also for about a month in 1994) had the vegetarian Chili and said it was pretty good, which is about a complimentary as she gets when it’s not her own cooking.
Here’s a link to the website. Highly recommended, especially when it gets a little warmer:
I’m partial to Libby’s Lunch. I like the old diner vibe there.
Congrats to Mr. Fox who is the team leader of the Star Ledger Hot Dog SWAT team this summer. John maybe you should start a future thread about where you and the team will be heading this summer. No surprise to all of us on here that you got the gig. Nice shot of you in the costume eating a Syds dog by the way. Looking forward to the tour.
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.