N.J.’s best hot dog joint: The 10 finalists

N.J.'s best hot dog joint: The 10 finalists

01 Ağustos 2018 - 02:00

And then there were 10.

After much deliberation we have the 10 finalists in our N.J.'s best hot dog joint showdown.

To recap, we started last month with a call for nominations. More than 100 places were nominated; all were put on ballots, separated onto North I, North II, Central and South Jersey/The Shore.

The top six vote-getters in each region were 24 of our semifinalists; I picked the other 26, and visited all 50 semifinalists over three weeks. I alone picked the 10 finalists; no voting was involved in their selection.

Many legendary hot dog joints were left off the finalist list, and there were surprise newcomers. But as with all our previous N.J.'s best showdowns, this competition wasn't about popularity, ranking or reputation — it was about the hot dogs sampled at each place during the competition.

You can vote starting now for the Readers' Choice winner; the poll is below. I will pick the overall winner.  

Peter Genovese | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
Hiram's Roadstand, Fort Lee

Hiram's is located at what was once the hot dog crossroads of New Jersey - hot dog landmark Callahan's was across the street. Callahan's is now in Norwood, but Hiram's remains, with its brick exterior, tiny parking lot and even tinier men's room.   

There apparently never was a owner named Hiram, according to current co-owner Pete Demiris. When his boss went on vacation, he and Jeff Escudero, employees at the time, added chili dogs to the menu. They now own the place, and the chili dogs are recognized as among the state's best.

Peter Genovese | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

Why they made the top 10:  The chili dog (right in photo) remains among the state's best; it's a Thumann's beef and pork dog. Eat inside, along the window or in the compact dining room, or take your order outside, to the picnic area. A 16-ounce beer goes for a measly $2.25, although that's not the reason they made the top 10. 

Peter Genovese | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
Relish, Belmar

Relish, which opened in March, is a breath of fresh hot dog air. It's a cozy, cramped space (no seating, but there's an outdoor ledge to put your hot dogs). The owners, Martin Birdsall and Chris Delaney, own a tech company down the street.  

Peter Genovese | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

Why they made the top 10:  No hot dog stand in New Jersey has quite the range of creative condiments as Relish. Bacon dijon relish, chipotle lime glaze, beer kraut and fire roasted salsa are among the options. Another difference: The buns are placed on warming spikes, creating a hollowed-out roll. In the same-same New Jersey hot dog world you need to stand out, and Relish does.       



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