Hot Dogs

Rutt's Hut - Clifton, New Jersey

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.  

The Menu:

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.

Restaurant Information:

Rutt's Hut

Clifton, NJ: 417 River Road> 973.779.8615


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Crif Dogs - Brooklyn, New York


Crif Dogs is not your average NY Hot Dog eatery.  It's not a cart on the street corner with dogs sitting in "dirty water" (for those who are not aware I do not actually mean they use dirty water, it is just the color the water gets after cooking hot dogs all day long). It's also not a place where you are going to get 2 grill top cooked dogs and a drink for $5, like some other famous NYC hot dog ioints. 

Instead it is a place where you are able to get a hot dog that most people have had before, a Deep Fried dog.

Yes I did just say a deep fried hot dog and that's not all, most of them are wrapped in Bacon or Taylor Ham. Now I bet after reading deep fried hot dog  many of you just said "eww, gross". To those who did we ask, how often have you had something deep fried and it was bad?  

Crif Dogs has two locations, the original is located at 113 St. Marks Place in Manhattan, NY. Their second location is in Williamsburg, Brooklyn located right off the Bedford L Train stop at 555 Driggs Ave.  Both locations offer the same exact lunch/dinner menus and food quality so choose which ever location is closest to you and head out.  The Brooklyn location offers breakfast sandwiches in the morning.

The Menu:

They have an array of hot dog combinations, here are just a few of the ones that stick out.  

The Chihuahua - a Bacon wrapped dog covered with avocados & sour cream

The John-John Deragon - a crif dog with a schmear of cream cheese, scallions & everything bagel seeds

The Tsunami - a house dog, bacon wrapped, with teriyaki, pineapple and green onions

The Jersey Morning - taylor ham wrapped house dog with melted cheese and a fried egg


What We Ate:

A regular Crif Dog wrapped in bacon w/ a side of tater tots

We went here with a group of people most of them were Crif Dog virgins. A few of them were a bit intimidated by the menu and decided to take it easy and just get a classic Crif dog wrapped in bacon.  From our past experience these delicious, pork wrapped dogs are very good.  Crif Dogs also makes some killer tots and waffle fries, but be aware when your order a large they give you a massive amount.


 The Garden State (top) & John-John Deragon (bottom)

Garden State - is a taylor ham wrapped house dog, chopped pepperoncini peppers & American cheese.  The hog dog itself has a great crunch to it thanks to the deep fried bath and layer of taylor ham. The American cheese helps to give it a nice smooth taste,  but it is actually the peppers that really make this dog. The pepperoncinis help break up the salty pork flavor with a sweet and slightly spicy kick.  We highly recommend this one.


John-John Deragon -  We first have to note that our order was modified a bit from the original.  The original John-John is a crif dog with a schmear of cream cheese, scallions & everything bagel seeds.  This was what we were going to order until speaking with the guy working at the counter.  He said the John-John was his favorite dog but he likes to get it with hot sauce.  As soon as he said hot sauce we were sold.  We have had the original in the past and it is very good. Again there is a perfect crunch to the dog thanks to the fryer. The cream cheese is a strange choice but in the end is a perfect compliment to the dog.  Topped of with scallions and everything bagel seeds you feel as if your eating a breakfast sandwich.  Our version had the added component of hot sauce, and it was awesome.  We love hot sauce and it made us wonder why we had not thought of this sooner, in fact we even regretted not adding hot sauce to everything else we got.  Oh well there is always next time, but this dog with hot sauce is just amazing.

We feel it is important to mention that Crif Dogs does offer a vegetarian dog called the veggie special.  It is a veggie dog w/ onions, tomato, cucumber & jalapenos. It is pretty good, says our vegetarian friend.  Crif Dogs also offers a burger which we have not had but will have to try one of these days. 

Should or Should Not Eat:

Crif Dogs is a definite Should Eat. If you like Hot Dogs you will love this place.  Don't be afraid of the crazy toppings, they would not be on the menu if they didn't taste good.  We promise after you visit Crif Dogs once, you will be hooked.

Restaurant Information:

Crif Dogs

Manhattan: 113 st.marks place > 212.614.2728

Brooklyn: 555 driggs avenue > 718.302.3200


Crif Dogs on Urbanspoon