THE BEST Dogs in North Jersey
In my extensive travels through the upper portion of New Jersey between the Poconos in Pennsylvania and New York City I have managed to eat dozens of worthy hot dogs to be mentioned here. This is my list of the top of the top, the best of the best, the dog eat dog list of dogs to eat! These spots in the order mean nothing, this isn’t a best to worst list or vice versa, this is the collective best all ranking #1 in their own rights! The best Hot Dogs in North Jersey…
Now there’s a dog that’ll hunt!
Hiram’s Road Stand – Fort Lee, NJ – Hiram’s is located off the last exit in New Jersey before you hit the bridge and head into New York. This one was heavily suggested by people who view our TikTok page and it surely did not let us down. I took my boys to this one right before going to NYG fan fest day at Met Life for a good bite before a fun night! The kids got a plain dog and one with ketchup (forgive them, they’re still learning) and I got a dog with red onions and mustard, and another with chili (by suggestion). The dogs themselves were large and flavorful with a nice snap to them and the buns were lightly toasted. The red onions were as solid as any I’ve found (unless you want spicy red onions, then keep reading) and the chili had great flavor and was meaty. Fantastic spot for a dog and another big bonus…they had a parking lot.
Hank’s Franks – Lodi, NJ – Hank’s is another small spot (with parking) that has been slinging dogs in the same way for many years. The interior consists of where you order, a stand up counter…and that’s it. There is some outdoor seating available and it’s a cash only spot. They serve Sabrett’s from the water and the toppings were excellent. Really good chili with raw onion on one dog and excellent red onions with mustard on another.
My girlfriend goes for just mustard on her dog and she loved hers as well. Easy access off Route 46 and the staff were very friendly and helpful. Great spot to grab a fairly inexpensive lunch and have a quick chat. In our TikTok video you can hear the guys joking about Vince McMahon rigging the Super Bowl with the opening speech from “The Rock” and that really summed up the kind of home town conversations and comfort level you have here.
The Hot Grill – Clifton, NJ – There is a serious conversation between people in the Clifton area of where you need to go to get your dogs. In one corner we have the establishment we’ll speak of next and in the other corner you have Hot Grill. This place is another spot with parking available and indoor as well as outdoor seating. A slight difference from Hiram’s and Hank’s is that at Hot Grill we tried the burger and fries as well. We got the pro tip from our friend Renee who is a former local to the Clifton area to order the gravy fries as well as both the burger and dogs “all the way”. The gravy on the fries was very unique and I enjoyed it a great deal. Couldn’t put my finger exactly on what it was, but it was very good. The burger was a smaller patty and the burger itself was pretty middle of the road, but getting it “all the way” made a world of difference. All the way consists of mustard, onion, and chili sauce and it really sent the burger to new heights. This is how I order dogs at a lot of places already so it was nice they had the phrase all set up for me here, and it was a great dog. That chili sauce is really high up there on my list!
Rutt’s Hut – Clifton, NJ – And then there was the other contender for Clifton! Rutt’s has that fun “middle of nowhere” charm while being right in the middle of a busy area. It goes from a huge mall area to nothing, then to Rutt’s, then to nothing, and back to big business areas. This is another cash only spot and another place where many people said we needed to go. We also got many different suggestions for menu items to try here but we decided to keep it low key and go with “The Ripper” and the “Double Dip”.
The Ripper is Rutt’s dog, basically named that because they are deep fried and the casing rips when they’re cooked. They do have a special item for their dogs here though, that Rutt’s Relish! This is a mustardy style of relish that really sets off the dog in a special way. I enjoyed this one a lot! The Double dip is their burger with gravy and it was a sloppy mess but in the best way possible. Loved both items and can’t wait to try more.
Jersey Dog – Newton, NJ – This spot is a little closer to home for me than some of the ones out near NY and they have some wild options. One of the ones I got here that was suggested by a brilliant culinary mind (my friend Heidi) was the BLT dog. The dog was wrapped in Bacon and had lettuce, tomato, and “dirty Jersey sauce” which is basically a spicy mayo. This dog was seriously fantastic. I was skeptical about the toppings on a dog but it all really worked!
I also had an Italian dog that was very good. The potatoes, peppers, and onions were all seasoned and cooked perfectly. My daughter got a plain dog that she enjoyed, one of my sons got a bacon wrapped dog and my other son went out of his comfort zone and tried the Pizza Dog which he loved as well. I may or may not have stolen a bite of that one too and it may or may not have been delicious with the garlic bread roll it comes on! Definitely worth a try in the Newton area.
Hot Dog Johnny’s – Buttzville, NJ – Here is another spot that is closer to where I live and has some sentimental old school feel for me. Johnny’s has a super small menu of items that they do well. Dogs fried in peanut oil, fries, buttermilk, and Birch Beer is pretty much the end of the list. I prefer to get their dogs with everything which is basically topped with mustard, chopped onion, and a pickle spear.
The peanut oil gives the dog a different flavor than most you’ll find and from frying them there is a nice additional snap. The ice cold birch beer served in frosted mugs is super refreshing on a hot day and they have outdoor seating but you can enjoy all of this standing near the river that flows right behind the property as well.
Definitely a staple of the area for roughly 80 years and an easy on/off from route 46 with ample parking. If you’re passing through, you should absolutely make sure to make time to stop off and grab a dog. The buttermilk might be excellent too, I’ve never had it.
Boulevard Drinks – Jersey City, NJ – This dog is just downright excellent. A few cooks and someone to handle the drinks is all Boulevard Drinks needs to crank out some deliciousness. A small shop in the middle of a busy town square pumping out tons of dogs to hungry patrons at the right price. I’d highly suggest trying the red onions here, these are some of the best ones I have had. Coupled with some brown mustard, these flattop grilled dogs have a nice snap and an excellent taste.
You can also buy them in bulk to take home built, or ready to be cooked if you’d like to prepare them yourself at home.
Parking in this area was a little tough so be prepared for that (i.e. – me double parking just long enough for my son and I to slam down a dog and drink each) but totally worth the hassle to check this place out. Don’t forget to order “The Orange Drink” to round out your meal!
Chris’ Red Hots – Newark, NJ – Chris’ is somewhere that is gaining some real notoriety on social platforms like TikTok for their hot dog based food truck, and for good reason. He is set on Heller Parkway with plenty of beautiful grassy park area nearby to enjoy your dogs and he is getting pretty creative out here! Earlier I mentioned that if you like spicy red onions there was a place to get them…this is the place. Chris’ onions are not similar to really any others that I have tried (another nearby truck has spicy onions but I definitely give the edge to Chris’), and if you like a nice little kick, it’s a tasty way to get that.
He does some fun things like “The Disco Dog” on special. I did not want to like this dog because it sounded weird and not like something I would want…and then I loved it. This dog was topped with “Fresh Muzz”, gravy, and potato Stix. After it’s wrapped the cheese melts and the gravy softens the potatoes so the whole thing emulates eating disco fries. It was awesome, I would eat that one again any day of the week. Their “chili cheese potato dog” is another big hit that has their signature mash on it. Definitely go by here and try them out.
Tommy’s Italian Sausage and Hot Dogs – Elizabeth, NJ – The next one will be a battle of the best Italian Dogs but Tommy’s couldn’t exactly be placed in that battle. The reason is, at Tommy’s we got something that was an Italian Dog…but not really an Italian dog. Tommy’s boasts a combo dog that is fan-freaking-tastic. This is your standard Italian dog right down until they toss some of their signature Italian sausage on it as well! You get the dog, the sausage, the peppers and onions, the potatoes, and this massive roll that looks like a half of the biggest bagel you’ve ever seen. The flavor is excellent and it’s nearly impossible to finish this one, this could be two meals easy. Ironically we didn’t realize how large this was so we ordered a cup of their fried potatoes as well. This was a huge portion of those same fried potatoes they put on the sandwich and they are just delicious. Crispy exterior with just enough of that mushy potato center still to have a nice balance and contrast. I’m drooling just thinking of the next time I can stop here!
Dickee Dee’s – Newark, NJ and Jimmy Buff’s – West Orange, NJ – These two are both heavyweight champions in their own right and have a strangle hold on the Italian Dog debate. It was very hard for me to select which was ” better” because I liked things from both just slightly better than the other. I do believe the bread was slightly better from the Dickee Dee’s dog and I felt the dog itself was a bit better. I found that the potatoes from the Jimmy Buff’s dog were a bit better and they had a parking lot (parking was a disaster at Dickee Dee’s). I thought the onions and peppers were cooked and seasoned well at both spots. With either of these dogs I would be happy 10 out of 10 times for sure so it’s really nit-picking to even find little things better than the other. That is why I rate them together as the “King(s) of the Italian Dog”! My kids and girlfriend got some dogs at Jimmy Buff’s that they loved too. My daughter went as far as to say “I don’t know what type of hot dog this is, but it’s the type I like”. *Side note – Also grabbed a pizza for the kids from Dickee Dee’s and it was a decent pie as well.
…And what the heck, how about an honorable mention!
Harold’s New York Deli – Edison, NJ – Harold’s is a spot that Chas has taken me to a few times now that I would have never even thought to grab a hot dog. They have such excellent Jewish deli food here (and in gargantuan portions) from corned beef and pastrami to knishes to pearled barley…I just would not have ever said to myself “Try the Hot Dog”. Well that changed one night when I was getting Chas from the Newark airport and my son took the ride with me. He has been a somewhat picky eater in the past and I was worried he may not really eat the Reuben, matzo ball soup, or pearled barley we were getting so he ordered this hot dog that came out looking more like a softball bat than a hot dog. It was MASSIVE. The thing about Harold’s though is it’s not just show food, the size of their portions is appealing, but that’s not the draw. Harold’s food is just extremely tasty. This dog was no exception. All beef and specially made for Harold’s exclusively and we all sampled it but my son nearly at the whole rest of it himself!
There you have it folks, our comprehensive list of the best spots in Northern NJ to grab a hot dog! What other lists do you want to see next?! Send us an email here or check us out on TikTok here to let us know! If you saw it here, then you know it Didn’t Suck!