As many of you already know, we have a true appreciation hot dogs. We love all types and styles of dogs, but we just can't resist the allure of a deep fried hot dog. Our first post on deep fried dogs was a result of our visit to Crif Dogs. While they were really good and we loved the numerous options at Crif Dogs, they were not our first. Our first bite of a deep fried dog occurred at none other than Rutt's Hut.
We had long been told stories of Rutt's from our friend Phil. He told us of this place in Jersey that sells deep fried dogs. We of course scoffed at the idea but he proceeded to tell us the tale of Rutt's and the "ripper'. Rutt's is located right off of Route 3 and Route 21 in Clifton. It is located in this plain brick storefront that in no way resembles an inviting restaurant. The only way you know you would even know that you are at Rutt's is the glowing neon sign. Once you have found yourself in the parking lot you realize the entrance is not very obvious. On the side of the restaurant is a unmarked doorway, this is the way to the Hot Dog counter. Rutt's also has a full bar and restaurant that is completely separate located at the front of the building. That however is for another day. We are just interested with the hot dog area for now.
We must warn you, don't expect to see a sit down restaurant with tables, chairs, booths or welcoming hostesses. Instead you are walking into a small open-air room with two large counter tops to eat on with no seats. Everything at Rutt's is eaten standing up. Your friendly hostess has also been replaced with a handful of brash Jersey guys, attitude and all. It would almost seem as if you are interrupting something important when you place an order with them. This however is all part of the charm of Rutt's.
We usually like to review the full menu at our destinations but here at Rutt's we are are focused on only one item, the "ripper".
What We Ate:
The "Ripper" - a deep fried hot dog with house made relish and brown mustard, with a side of fries.
The "Ripper" is a deep fried hot dog that get it's name from the transformation that occurs as it is cooked. As the dogs cook in hot oil the outer casing tends to rip open, thus creating the ripper. This process creates a crispy, crunchy outer crust on the dogs which complements the natural flavor of the hot dog. The ripper is however not complete without a generous helping of Rutt's house made relish. This bright yellow almost neon relish provides a spicy-sweet flavor that comes from the combination of onions, finely chopped carrots, and cabbage. The relish offers up the perfect counterpoint to the salty crunch of the dogs with its sweet and addicting flavor. The "ripper' is a hot dog at it's finest, simple but extremely satisfying.
The fries at Rutt's are actually pretty plain, but still tasty. They are your classic frozen fries that you would expect to find at any concession stand across America. Nothing special here, but they do pair perfectly with a fresh "ripper".
Should or Should Not Eat:
Rutt's is home of the famous "ripper" and is a Should Eat for any hot dog lover. Rutt's may be a no frills intimidating place, but it's rough personality grows on you. You will come to appreciate it's charm and bring everyone you know. The "ripper" is one of the best hot dogs in the entire country, so be sure not to miss a chance to try it.
Clifton, NJ: 417 River Road> 973.779.8615