Local Vibes

Local Vibes

Local Vibes

I painstakingly polled people from across the state to ask them where they go for the best hot dogs in their favorite towns in the Garden State.

I asked residents in North Jersey, the fine folks in South Jersey, the Jersey Shore people, and quite a few people in other parts of the state.

I found that the folks in South Jersey were the most passionate, with the North Jersey crew coming in a close second.

John Fox was front and center in an army of die-hard hot dog lovers in South Jersey. I found his credentials rather impressive.

John is an actual expert on hot dogs. No joke, the man knows his stuff.

Here’s how John responded when I asked the South Jersey Food Scene crew about the best hot dogs in their area.:

“Ambassador to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council and Co-founder of Hot Dog Nation I’ve been to close to 200 Hot Dog establishments. South Jersey for the most part is a hot dog wasteland. However, arguably the best hot dog in the state is served at Maui’s in Wildwood. Their brand is Hofmann’s German hot dog; a pork, beef, and veal blend and the best hot dog in my opinion. Another exceptional place is the Original Hot Dog Factory in Voorhees. An excellent Angus all beef dog prepared perfectly on the grill. If you need suggestions for the rest of the state please contact me. I’ve been to over 90 places in N.J. with Pete Genovese for Inside Jersey magazine and 87 places for the Star Ledger.”

John, you’re my personal go to when it comes to hot dogs. Thank you for responding.

Then there are people like me who are not hot dog experts. For the most part, I grew up on Hebrew National and Nathan’s hot dogs. As a kid growing up in the burbs of Long Island, I have had my share of Armour, Oscar Meyer, Ballpark Franks (both the brand and actual ballpark franks), Sabrett, and a few others at neighbor’s homes or other places.

When you have grandparents who live in Brooklyn, Nathan’s on Coney Island was the place to go.

I totally missed National Hot Dog Day this year because I took the day off to take my cat, “Oscar Wilde” to the vet for eye surgery. Oscar is recovering slowly, and I’m catching up on some work.

Let’s find out where people grab their favorite hot dogs, and the condiments some people swear by.

  • The Original Hot Dog Factory - 910 Haddonfield-Berlin Rd #3, Voorhees Township, NJ 08043

    According to expert John Fox and countless others from across the state, this place needs to be on the list. John described the hot dogs in the above article as; “An excellent Angus all beef dog prepared perfectly on the grill.” A lot of people called attention to the amazing staff, as well as all the options to choose from to dress their dogs. After looking at the menu, I find it hard to decide which one to try for the first time. I’ll revisit.

  • Maui's Dog House - 806 New Jersey Ave, Wildwood, NJ 08260

    According to John Fox; Maui’s has the snap that comes from a natural casing. Original Hot Dog Factory serves a skinless dog.” All I know is that so MANY people had Maui’s on their lists. The menu is insane! For instance, “The Cardiac” – Covered in globs and globs of cheese and real bacon. Then out of left field for me is “The Soprano” – Baby spinach sauteed with garlic and white wine, and gently topped with Xtra sharp provolone cheese. That sounds somewhat refined for a hot dog, and I’m all in.

    I still have never been to Wildwood. What is taking me so long?

     

     

     

  • White Dotte Dairy Bar & Grill - 2345 US-206, Southampton Township, NJ 08088

    Holly G & company chose this place that’s been around since 1952. Holly especially likes the heavenly deep fried dogs. Her fave; The Cowboy Dog – Wrapped in bacon and deep fried, topped with fried onions, BBQ sauce and shredded cheese.  She and others have called attention to the “Reuben Dog” & “Jersey Devil Dog”.

    White Dotte also serves up burgers, fries, cheesesteaks, wings, shakes, onion rings and more. A staple in the area for over 70 years has my heart.

     

     

  • G&G Hot Dogs - Shrewsbury Ave, Red Bank, NJ 07701 Food Truck

    The G&G Hot Dog truck near the tracks by the Red Bank train station has many fans on the food boards. Lots of people mentioned they knew Gus, the owner from back in the 70’s who was sidelined by health issues after 41 years of serving happy customers.
    The truck is now run by Gus’s daughter Dimi and her husband George and business is still going strong after 50 years.
    The Sabrett hot dogs are the main attraction, but you can also grab sausage, meatball, and other sandwiches, along with a nice cold beverage and some snacks.

    G&G Hot Dogs

    G&G Hot dogs - Red Bank, NJ

    15 reviews and 11 photos of G&G HOT DOGS "If you live anywhere near Red Bank you have already had a dog here. If not then you have to have one. For years Gus ram this place and has been on this spot every day.

  • Jimmy Buff's Italian Hot Dogs - West Orange & Kenilworth

    I lost count of how many people mentioned Jimmy Buff’s. Established in Newark in 1932, Jimmy Buff’s is the birthplace of the original Italian hot dog. Deep fried dogs smothered with fried potatoes, onions, and peppers all deep fried in one custom made flat top and stuffed into a beautiful Italian pizza bread roll. All those flavors melding together just waiting for you to dig right in.

  • Amabile’s Hot Dog - 1 Waterside Dr, Little Ferry, NJ 07643

    Jeff A. from the Wednesday Warrior’s page is someone I often rely on for suggestions of various places to find good food. Not good food as in fancy food, but good food that stands out among the competition.

    Natural casing Sabrett dogs steamed and often topped with their famous red onion sauce or the famous chili.
    Amabile's Hot dog

    A little birdie told me that Frank L. one of the guys who runs the WW page loves this place and has been going to this truck for decades as do many others who suggested Amabile’s.

     

    Amabiles Hot Dogs - Little Ferry, NJ

    9 reviews and 8 photos of AMABILES HOT DOGS "Best hot dogs around.... And the hottest (temperature wise) Been coming here. it has to be 40 years... . I wont even go to the place 3 miles west of here . ( h.f's.) . .Amabile's puts them to shame..... .

  • Hiram's - 1345 Palisade Ave, Fort Lee, NJ 07024

    So many people from all over the state have had their share of Hiram’s hot dogs, including Tom F. who runs the Jersey Food Warrior’s page. Hiram’s is another iconic place in Bergen County that’s been in business since 1932. They have near perfect reviews from several food ratings sites. For every less than excellent review, there were hundreds of reviews raving about the joint.

    This roadside eatery even serves up many brands of ice cold beer to wash down your dogs. Heads up. Hiram’s is CASH Only.

    The onion rings and fries are crispy and perfectly salted.

  • Rutt's Hut - 417 River Rd, Clifton, NJ 07014

    I’ve seen so many food shows include this institution that’s been around since 1928. I hear from native Jersey folks all the time that eating a Rutt’s “Ripper” should be on my bucket list of things to do before I leave planet Earth.

    For folks outside of New Jersey reading this, a “Ripper” is a hot dog that is deep fried until  the hot dog casing cracks and splits, which led to the nickname “Rippers”

    Paul wrote: “It’s a happy place. Middle aged people strolling in, reliving decades of good times, and breaking out into giddy smiles. All generations have a spot at the table here.” 

    So I guess it’s a “Ripper Dog” with Rutt’s homemade relish for this rocker chick . Another hot dog joint that is CASH only, but there is an ATM onsite should you be low on dough.

     

     

     

  • Destination Dogs - 101 Paterson St, New Brunswick, NJ 08901

    I have heard about this place a lot since it opened in 2012. I saw it on the Travel Channel, plus I work with Jimmy Cronk’s mom Linda. I think it’s one of the most interesting concepts in the world of hot dogs and sausage. The brainchild of Jimmy Cronk and Sean Hosty, mixes the love of food with the love of travel. Jimmy is the brains behind the concept and Sean focuses on the business end.

    You choose your dogs from a menu of categories: Domestic, International, & Pilot Your Own Dog.

    The domestic dogs are inspired by cities in the U.S. For instance, the New Orleans dog is: Alligator & shrimp sausage, fried shrimp, cabbage, tomato, jalapeno remoulade, pickle, lemon, scallions. 

    The International dogs are inspired by countries around the globe such as Greece – The Achille’s Meal is: Lamb sausage, tzatziki, red onions, tomatoes, scallions. 

    The Pilot Your Own Dog is your choice of protein such as an All Beef dog, Alligator, Sausage, Duck, Beyond Meat Vegan…etc.  Then you choose from a menu of toppings, followed by the condiments of your choice.

    If your selecting something from the sides menu, Avery S. said “The Duck Fat Fries are incredible.”

    Destination Dogs also offers appetizers, salads, sandwiches, and sides. Head to New Brunswick to chow down on some of these interesting menu items.

    Destination dog made with pork roll bacon country links

     

     

  • Weber's Drive In - 6019 Lexington Ave, Pennsauken Township, NJ 08109

    The South Jersey Food Scene folks take me to a place that is steeped in nostalgia. I love hearing stories from people who have cherished memories of places from their childhood. Almost every review or suggestion I read, mentioned comments that included; “I remember coming here as a kid.” Hot dogs, shakes, fries, root beer floats, and window trays.  Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to see “Elvis” dancing in the parking lot while eating your hot dogs.

    Weber's Drive In

  • Chris's Red Hots - Hot Dog Truck - 248 Heller Pkwy, Newark, NJ 07104

    According to some folks, Chris’s has the best dirty water dogs in North Jersey. Robert from the JFW page drove a garbage truck back in the day and this was one of two hot dog guys he chose to grab a bite from. The other was Tony’s World Famous Hot Dog truck, because Robert felt that Tony’s hot onions and chili were a bit better. Chris’s Red Hots has a 4.9 Google review rating which is pretty impressive in my book. He made it a thing to include putting spicy mashed potatoes on your dog.

    Mark’s review sums it up: “ Chris’s Red Hots! Excellent selection of extraordinary toppings unlike most hot dog joints. This is true hot dog truck experience!”

     

  • Pattie's Franks Hot Dog Truck- 1436 NJ-88, Brick Township, NJ 08724

    Patti does the old school Sabrett dirty water dog with your choice of toppings. Now you don’t have to drive to Newark, Patti’s is here in Ocean County on the Jersey Shore. Both Food Warriors factions say Patti DeMasi and her hot dogs are Warrior approved.

    Patti's Franks Truck

    @pattiesfranksnj

    Pattie's Franks 1436 Rt. 88 Brick NJ Monday through Friday 11-4 Dirty Water Dogs at it's Best..#fyp #dirtywaterdogs #brick #jerseyshore #simplythebest #seeyathere #newark #bestaround

    ♬ Simply the Best - Jolice
  • Hank's Franks - 210 US-46, Lodi, NJ 07644

    Hanks’s was on the list of over 40% of the people I polled online or in person. I decided to see if the online reviews were in line with what the people I engaged with had to say.

    I came across a review from just a few days ago from someone named Burt Shoob. Obviously Burt has a history with Hanks,  here’s Burt’s review: Hank’s Franks is a North Jersey hot dog icon. It is a tiny stand located on US 46 East in Lodi, just about a mile from Teterboro Airport. It has stood in the same spot with only a few cosmetic changes over the years. While the appearance may have changed a bit, the quality of the menu has remained steady at the top notch throughout the years. To start with, it’s the top of the line brand for the franks, and that’s Sabrett’s. They use toppings that are superlative to say the least. Their chili topping has a nice kick to it and actually tastes like a chili should. They also found two ways to my heart with their menu. #1, for mustard, they use real brown (and not “Yer Yella”) mustard. And #2, they have my favorite cola, RC.
    The people that run this place are some of the most engaging and affable people I’ve ever met in a business, and their love of their work truly shows.

     

  • Karl Ehmer Quality Meats - 120 Broadway, Hillsdale, NJ 07642

    You can’t just drive by Ehmer’s without grabbing one their famous hot dogs from the cart just outside the store. Karl Ehmer has been known for their top quality products since 1932. I love a good German butcher, and I love a good Ehmer bratwurst. If you’re ever on Long Island, they have a Karl Ehmer store in Patchogue.
    All Ehmer products are free of gluten and MSG except for the pinkelwurst. I had to look up pinkelwurst, and now I want some. It’s a sausage made with pork, bacon, oats, and onions.

  • Hudock's Custard Stand - : 544 Salem Quinton Rd, Salem, NJ 08079

    Ann K. sends us to to the Quinton/Salem area for her mom’s favorite hot dog. Ann says, “My mom is a hot dog snob, but Hudock’s is her absolute favorite.” “It’s where we go for Mother’s Day every year.” Mom’s seal of approval is what we all look for in all areas of life.

    Footlong hot dogs, amazing corn fritters, and frozen custard are just some of the reasons to head to Hudock’s.

    Hudock's Frozen Custard Stand - Salem, NJ

    HUDOCK'S FROZEN CUSTARD STAND, 544 Salem Quinton Rd, Salem, NJ 08079, 64 Photos, Mon - 10:00 am - 9:00 pm, Tue - 10:00 am - 9:00 pm, Wed - 10:00 am - 9:00 pm, Thu - 10:00 am - 9:00 pm, Fri - 10:00 am - 9:00 pm, Sat - 10:00 am - 9:00 pm, Sun - 10:00 am - 9:00 pm

     

  • Hot Dog Johnny's - 333 US-46, Belvidere, NJ 07823

    Longtime roadside hot dog stand with frosted glasses of buttermilk & birch beer, plus a swing set. Chef Ray Sheehan was one of many who advised me to take a ride through Buttzville to experience the goodness that is Hot Dog Johnny’s.  It’s a pretty famous place. People have these dogs shipped to places outside of New Jersey. 

    Family owned and operated since 1944. Just look for the big hot dog on the roof.

  • Windmill Hot Dogs - 5 locations on the Jersey Shore

    I remember my first Windmill hot dog, it was bursting with flavor! Aaron Levine, the grandson of the original owner did a hot dog eating contest in the WRAT parking lot during Jimmy Steal’s afternoon show.

    In 2022 after nearly 60 years of serving the Jersey Shore, the Levine family sold the Windmill to Ralph Epstein. I understand that Mr. Epstein hasn’t changed a thing. Why mess with success. Oh and the cheese fries are as divine as they are messy.

  • Johnny & Hanges - 23-20 Maple Ave, Fair Lawn, NJ 07410

    Paul H. laid it out for us : “Legendary hot dog spot in New Jersey if not in the nation. Nice snap and seasoning on the dog and buns that hold up to the chili, cheese and mustard. Known for their hot dog chili I got a cup to go plus some Birch Beer.”

    Some have recommended getting the Texas Weiner all the way. When they say,  “all the way”,  it means that the food you ordered is covered with mustard, chopped raw onion and their famous chili sauce.” Some folks made sure I knew about the crispy onion rings. Johnny & Hanges is another Jersey hot dog institution that’s been around since your  father or grandfather was a kid. The original opened in Patterson in 1939 and moved to it’s current location in 1998.

  • Sonny's Grille - 821 Belmar Plaza, Belmar, NJ 07719

    I’ve written about Sonny’s before. Folks hipped me to their delicious burgers. Now it’s all about the hot dogs. They have a lot of hot dog toppings and cool combos to choose from. I hear their version of the Italian hot dog is amazing.

    They offer Sabretts beef hot dogs, Schickhaus Jumbos, and Sabrett beef hots, grilled, dirty water, or fried.

    On Tuesdays, First responders, military folks, and teachers get 25% off their bill, I love a business who gives back to the community.

  • Dicky's Dogs - 332 Atlantic City Blvd, Toms River, NJ 08757

    Could they be in a better location? I think not.  The Social Leaf, a weed dispensary, recently opened next door.  I’ll bet both places are raking in the dough.  The Wednesday Warriors and the Big Foods Big Dudes guys hit up Dicky’s not too long ago and gave them their seal  of approval. Open for breakfast at 8 am and closes shop at 6pm.

    They have some ethnic choices like the Columbian Dog, Tropical Dog, empanadas, and the Italian hot dog. Charlie feels Dicky’s serves the best chili dog in Ocean County.

  • Hot Grill - 669 Lexington Ave, Clifton, NJ 07011

    Hot Grill came up nearly a couple of dozen times in my poll.  A 50-year-old fast-food joint for Texas hot dogs, burgers & sandwiches.

    Adam had the most colorful description. “Soo good it will make you smack your momma!” Best hot dogs in New Jersey. Definitely get two dogs “all the way” with a side of fries with chili and cheese. Secret tip: get the roast beef sandwich on a hard roll with extra gravy. It’s like heaven made of tasty meat dipped in God’s gravy!”

    Adam, I want to meet you.

     

  • Hot Diggidy Dog - 3970 Main St, Chatsworth, NJ 08019

    Established 1989 In the Heart of Downtown Chatsworth, NJ. Hot Diggidy Dog serves Dietz & Watson Hot Dogs. I’ve heard people describe this place a watering hole in the Pinelands of South Jersey. It’s not just good old hot dogs for sale. They have kielbasa, jalapeno cheddar dogs, Buffalo chicken sausage, Jerk sausage and many other selections.

    Alison from the South Jersey Food page recommends I get my hot dog with the spicy cranberry relish. 

    The service is terrific, and it’s a nice spot to rest your weary bones during a hike or a bike ride through the protected forests and fields of the more than one million-acre Pinelands National Reserve

  • Randy the Hot Dog Guy - 303 Long Ave, Hillside, NJ 07205

    Years ago, you may have seen this loveable kooky guy and his hot dog cart outside the Wonder Bar on Ocean Ave in Asbury, or outside The Saint on Main St in Asbury Park. Nowadays, you can find New Jersey’s most interesting man behind the counter at his brick mortar location at the corners of Liberty and Long Avenue in Hillside, NJ . Randy Pollack serves up all types, sizes, and shapes of tubular meat.

    Randy The Hot Dog Guy

  • Sophie’s Hot Dog Stand - 3 W Park Pl, Morristown, NJ 07960

    This is the first time I’ve heard of Sophie’s. I should have consulted my Beasley family up there in Morristown. Alana and a few others from the area brought Sophie’s to my attention. Andrew said, “A staple of the Morristown green! It is always nice to grab a delicious hot dog and bag of chips from this stand. I really enjoy the food here and it is definitely a little break from the expensive tastes of the surrounding area.”

    It seems that Sophie Hsieh has been selling hot dogs on the green  from March to December from 11am to 6pm since 1984! 

  • Tommy's Italian Sausage & Hot Dogs - 900 2nd Ave, Elizabeth, NJ 07201

    There have been showdowns between Jimmy Buff’s fans and Tommy’s fans regarding who has the best Italian hot dog in Jersey. I’m not getting in the middle of this brawl, because I am not qualified.  I came across Mr. Scout’s interview and he would know better than me because he grew up in that neighborhood. He said, “Was there today. Haven’t been there in 50 years. I moved out of Elizabeth 45 years ago. Had a double Italian hot dog. Just as good today, as it was back then. LOVE the pizza bread, potatoes, onions and pepper. But the flavor of the dogs were SUPERB! Different than your everyday hotdogs. Spoke with the two brothers for a bit. Really nice guys… very friendly, courteous and accommodating. Thx, Guys!!! You made my nostalgia trip that much better.”

    Crystal’s been going Tommy’s for over 3 decades and claims Tommy’s tops everyone else in the Italian hot dog arena.  It’s all subjective.

  • Hot Dog Tommy's - 319 Beach Ave, Cape May, NJ 08204

    HotDog Tommy’s offers nothing less than the finest and freshest ingredients from the tiny galley. Those “Wonderful Wieners” are the famous Berks Brand – official hot dog of Hershey Park.  I noticed a lot of cool combinations on Tommy’s menu, and I gravitated toward “The Meshugana” (Oh Goy) – A hot dog with coleslaw, Russian dressing, and potato chips.  Get off the beach and head to Hot Dog Tommy’s for one of their creative offerings .  Keep an eye out for Bruce, he’s the one wearing a hot dog on his head.

     

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