Together, these three hot dog joints have served Jersey for 245 years.

There is no doubt that New Jersey is rich in food history. Pizza, bagels, and Chinese-American takeout are he one of the state’s longest-serving specialties. The history of intense food has sparked countless debates among Jersey residents.

Is it… Taylor ham or pork roll?

Sub or Hoagie?

tomato pie Or pizza?

One thing is very clear: it wouldn’t be a Jersey staple without controversy.Three hot dog shops in North Jersey have been serving fried wieners for a combined 245 years, and each of the three has its own fanatic. I have a customer.

The name “Texas Wiener” actually comes from New Jersey. In the 1920s, a Paterson man ran a hot dog stand and gave it the name to describe dogs smothered in chili sauce. For over 100 years, New Jersey has been America’s premier Frankfurt store destination. This is the story of his three fried hot dogs.

Hot Grill | Photo Clifton, New Jersey

of hot grill It opened on Friday the 13th, 1961, in Clifton, New Jersey. This makes him the youngest in the arena, but still in his 61 years, Hot Grill has been serving fried Texas wieners to its devout customers.

The Hot Grill features homemade chili sauce. The rich mahogany-colored beef chili is ladle over hundreds of hot dogs daily. It’s kind of an obscure sauce, to be honest. It’s a little thinner than a typical chili pepper and too loose to be eaten with a spoon, but it makes a great seasoning. The go-to order at the Hot Grill is the dog’s “all the way,” serving fried pork and beef frankfurters topped with mustard, chopped raw onions, and their famous chili sauce, at no extra charge.

3 kinds of hot dogs with chili sauce and raw onions.

Hot Dog “Zutto” | Photo by @drinklocalbrews

Thin fast-food-style burgers (in the best possible way), fries with cheese and brown gravy, and hot roast beef sandwiches are some of the other beloved items on the menu.

For too long, I hated the hot grill. I pledged allegiance to another Clifton spot and never looked back. But ever since I opened my eyes, I’ve discovered my love for hot grills. With a top-secret chili sauce and an atmosphere akin to his 1960s entry into America, it brings something unique to the table. Wooden booths and hot dog mascot caricatures on the walls all combine to make Hot Grill a special place.

Clifton’s Hot Grill has been a patron for 60 years and the original owners are very much in business. The epitome of a working class lunch spot. Fair pricing and consistency sprinkled in.

Not to mention the legendary commercials that have appeared on North Jersey TV for years.

Hiram’s Roadstand | Fort Lee, New Jersey

Long live Anthony Bourdain who was a big fan Hiram’s Fort Lee included it in an episode of CNN’s Parts Unknown New Jersey.

“I come here to feed my soul from the cultural wellspring of New Jersey. It’s the antidote to everything else,” Bourdain says of Hiram’s Roadstand.

Hiram’s has been serving fried dogs, crushable burgers and cold, inexpensive beer since 1932. It’s a kind of perfect facility, a relic of a long lost era (which seems to be a common theme with this type of fare). Roadside Gem’s menu is very simple. Options include Thuman’s beef and pork dog fries, burgers, grilled cheese, and onion rings.

Chili hot dog, hot dog with ketchup and chili cheese fries.

Chili hot dogs at Hiram’s Roadtstand | Photo by @twenty50bywindsor

Bright green relishes, spicy brown mustard, raw or cooked onions, and sauerkraut make up the list of ways to top dogs and burgers. Of course, you can add chili and cheese to both as well. There’s more than one way to eat a Hiram hot dog.

A few tables are tucked into Hiram’s Roadstand’s tiny interior, but as the name suggests, it’s exactly that: Roadstand. to a wooden picnic table outside.

Hiram’s Roadstand refuses to change. In his 90 years of business Hiram’s has developed Fort Lee into a prosperous and bustling city. Korean cuisine, skyscrapers, lush parklands, and views of the George Washington Bridge, but Hiram sits comfortably in the past. As usual he was right.

Lutz’s Hut | Clifton, New Jersey

rat house It’s a place I hold dear to my heart. During his 24 years (half a year) I have been on this planet, I have been eating Rutt’s dog. Ripper— for as long as i remember. My grandparents took me here when my parents were kids and it has been handed down to me like clockwork.

This cash-only joint is famous for its rippers, strangely delicious relishes, brown gravy-soaked burgers, onion rings, and even roast duck. The menu is so extensive that he probably eats less than 15%. You’re here to read about hot dogs, so that’s okay.

Some hot dogs fried in oil.

Ripper Flies | Photo Ripper Flies Photo courtesy of

First of all, never ask for a chili dog. they simply don’t do it. You can order the dog and chili separately and combine them, but never order them together. I don’t know why, but I suspect it has something to do with Chili Dog being a hot grill thing.

A ripper with relish or mustard is magical.was named to The best hot dogs in AmericaLike Hiram’s, Thuman’s beef and pork frankfurters are deep-fried. However, unlike the former, it is fried until the casing cracks, hence the nickname. I used to fry dogs in beef tallow, but have since switched to standard fryer oil. There are several ways to order a hot dog at Rutt’s, so it’s important to familiarize yourself with the terminology before you travel.

  • Ripper: A standard fried hot dog (the most popular one).
  • Weller: Similar to Ripper, but cooked a little longer.
  • In-And-Outer: A hot dog just warmed up in oil. No rips or tears in the casing.
  • Crematorium: An over-done fried dog. Melt-crisp like bacon with a few cuts on the outside.

Relish is as famous as the Ripper. German-style cabbage seasoning, seasoned with mustard, pickling salt, etc. There are copycat recipes you can find online, but nothing compares to spooning directly into a piping hot ripper or weller from a metal vat on the counter.

Two hot dogs and relish, fries and Pepsi.

Two Rippers with Pepsi, Gravy Fries, and Relish | Photo by @nicksolares

Rutt’s has 3 restaurants. A dimly lit dining room decorated at least 50 years ago. A legendary bar with taps that pour chilled Miller High Life and Beck’s into chilled mugs. And finally, the standing counter room, the most iconic of them all. Lunch break or family get together, listen to the screams in the kitchen and quickly scarf a ripper or two.

I can’t forget even if I disappear

Hot dogs are historically entrenched in New Jersey food culture. This is a niche that has had many different providers over the years, with his three above plus a notable, then-closed legendary hot dog his joint.

Libby’s Lunch was opened in Paterson in 1936 by a former hot dog street vendor. Libby’s was one of the first free standing spots to win Texas winners in Paterson and has spawned many copycats over the decades. It was a comfortable environment to enjoy their products. Sadly, Libby’s closed in 2020 after 84 years in business.

Falls View Grill has had several locations over the years, but was originally operated out of Paterson. Founded in 1949 by former Libby’s Ranch employees, Falls View Grill spread the Paterson hot dog legend.texas weeNars was a must here, along with gravy fries, burgers, Greek and milkshakes. Although there are currently no operating locations, Fallsview has its place in the New Jersey history books forever.

PNJ-Libby's Ranch
Which of these three institutions is your favorite? Missed your go-to spot? Let us know in the comments!

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