Welcome to The Hot Dog Man!

Growing up in Northern New Jersey (the historic Springfield to be exact), I was often subjected to the torment of my friends who lived across two rivers.  My friends in NYC would brag about how they had the best pizza and bagels in the world - both debatable points - and my friends from Philly would brag about their superior cheesesteaks (again, debatable).  It didn't seem fair!  NYC has all this amazing food, and my friends could go anywhere in the world and people would automatically make the connection simply by knowing their homes!


I mean, we have pizza, bagels, and cheese steaks too (and some of it is superior to anything you can find in the city).  But no matter how hard I try, it will never be "mine", and regardless of my attempts people will always automatically assume that the original has to be the best.

We're finally on the map!

So I looked.  What is the one food item that we have here in my little pocket of the world that is often imitated, never duplicated, and that I can call my own?  Something that can be changed or altered, but is still something that people will recognize as truly "New Jerseyian."  Then it smacked me in the face.  Hot Dogs, Franks, "Frankfurters," weenies and wieners - call them what you want.  They're ours.

"This is a hot dog" - The Government

Question:  But Mike!  Aren't there tons of variation already with hot dogs?  Sonic has like, 6 different types of them!
Answer:  Yeah I know, I know. We'll get to them in due time!  But look at this dynamically created list by Urban Spoon.  There are over 120 hot dog restaurants in NORTH New Jersey alone.  Almost none of them are chain places (and I'll try them too!)

Also, there is a variation of the hot dog I have NEVER seen outside of New Jersey, not in NYC, not in Philly, and not in Miami.  The Italian Hot Dog.  Two dogs, in what can only be called an enormous Italian Pita, covered in spicy brown mustard, peppers, onions and french fries.  I dare you to find me somewhere that does it better than us.

Placeholder picture of a delicious looking Italian Hot Dog borrowed from the incredible PA food blog the Hungry Pilgrims
My goal is to review them.  I want to visit and try a hot dog from EVERY place in NJ that serves them.  There are other sites/blogs out there that visits NJ's best greasy spoons, side of the road burger joints, and brick-in-the-wall dives that happens to have amazing food.  But nowhere is there a site completely devoted to the hot dogs of NJ.  Trust me, I've looked.

How will this be done?  More info about our rating system will be coming in the future.  It will most likely be on a scale of 0-10.  Where a "5" is barely passable, "7" is average, "9-10" is extremely exceptional.  "0-4.9" indicate that there was a major problem with the hot dog (rotten, raw, cold inside, burnt to a crisp, or not as advertised).

Lastly, the burning question I'm sure you're all wondering:


I'm the fatty on the right.
My name is Mike and I currently live in Springfield, NJ.  I grew up in Springfield and went to Jonathan Dayton High School.  I later graduated from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst with a BA in History and minors in Education and Psychology.  Currently, I'm attending Montclair State University going for my MAT in Social Studies.  I have been eating hot dogs my entire life, going to the old "Charlie's and Son's" by Route 22 was a special bonding moment with me and my dad.  I've gone on rides with my grandfather to the heart of Newark for some of the most amazing hot dogs I've ever had in my entire life.  More on them to come.

But I can't run this thing alone.

We just completed the "Rugged Maniac" mud run.  Don't hate us because we're beautiful!
This is Nicole.  We met up at UMass and have been inseparable ever since.  A native of Texas and Newton, Mass she currently lives and works in the beautiful Miami, Florida.  She has a degree in HTM and she grew up surrounded by amazing Polish and German food.  She still has a lot to learn about hot dogs (but she's trying!)  Almost everywhere we go together for dinner we would dine on sausage.  We have had amazing trips to beer gardens, bars, hookah lounges, pubs and taverns.  She's my main proofreader and the one who pushed me to pursue this project.

So again, welcome!  Have fun!  And eat more hot dogs!

-Mike (09/04/12)

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