NJ Dining: Hank’s Franks

Hank’s Franks Inc
210 US Highway 46 E, Lodi, NJ
(973) 473-8589

Hot Dogs are a huge phenomenon in New Jersey. There are literally tons of places that specialize in them, and all of them have loyal fans, depending on what town you grew up in and if your parents or grandparents first brought you there. Many of the Dog joints in Jersey fixate on the deep fried variety but there are few remaining old-school places that do a New York-style “dirty water dog”. One of these is Hank’s Franks, in Lodi.

Hank’s is literally just a small take-out stand kind of place right off of Highway 46. It was established in 1959 and is still run by the same family.

Frank’s proudly uses Sabrett, a “Kosher-style” all-beef natural casing hot dog manufactured by Marathon Enterprises, a New Jersey company. Sabrett is the definitive New York pushcart Hot Dog, and the preferred method of cooking them is in a hot water bath “dirty water” style (where the dogs are contantly being added to the bath, thus rendering some of the flavor of the frankfurters in water as a seasoning) as Frank’s prepares them. Sabrett dogs can also be grilled, but the “snap” and proper texture can only be achieved with boiling this particular type of dog.

Hot Dogs with Hot Onions and Spicy Mustard.

A Hot Onion/Spicy Mustard Dog and a stewed potatoes/onion/peppers dog, unique to New Jersey.

Chili Dogs, with Hot Mustard.

Chili Cheese Dogs.

Bosco Syrup, which is used to make Egg Creams. I’m partial to Fox’s U-Bet but Bosco makes a very good egg cream as well.

Large Chocolate Egg Cream, and a very good one at that.

Frank, Circa 1950’s.

30 Responses to NJ Dining: Hank’s Franks

  1. Pete says:

    As a kid I grew up right around the corner form Hanks Franks, and I have to say they do have some of the best hot dogs around. Every time I come back to Lodi I always try to stob by.

  2. i love hanks franks& go there with my dad i love there potatoes& would love to know how to make them at home. . my mom makes the peppers& potatoes for herself but the sauce we can’t figure out. it smells like them but the sauce? thanks billy also i wanna know how to make the tarter sauce from rutts hutt& the hot grill chilli sauce.

  3. Nick says:

    Hank’s Franks will forever have the best hot dog toppings around!! I heard that the owner is the only one that knows the ingredients to the toppings because they are a very special combination of spices. I went there the other day and they are now selling their toppings by the pint and quart to take home!!! My family will forever be loyal to HANK’S FRANKS-THE BEST PLACE AROUND!!!!

  4. John Baker says:

    I spent most of my childhood and my adult life at Hanks Franks. Playing baseball when I was younger for “Costa’s” or “Loveys”, my father and/or mother would take me to Hanks Franks after my games. I also used to work there when I was still in high school. I have since moved out of state to Indiana and there are NO SABRETT HOT DOGS out here. Ugh. I miss Hanks Franks and the memories there, it should be considered a landmark.

  5. Plasmud says:

    Hanks was the first job i ever had. i used to make the orange aid in the back in that small little room with the sink. what members of the hanks family are still working there?
    i worked with hank himself and his wife. and i havent had a dog from there in 15 years. damn i gotta get over there

  6. tommbo says:

    i luv hanks!!i remember the phone booth with the fan in it!! when i was a teen, charlie ran the place after mr hank. i still go there and they are as good as ever! and when i go i always get the free one!

  7. lindsay benanti says:

    daddy i love ur hotdogs and i love u everytime i go there i have to try a different hotdog. i love working there and having fun with the workers and great costumers!!! hanks franks is the best!!!!<33

  8. I worked for hank and his wife also. at that time his daughter was working there also. i know every time i meet up with jerry only of the misfits, the first question is, have you been to hanks lately?
    One of these days tommbo will buy some for me and bring them up state for me to eat!!!!!

  9. Susan Marro says:

    I ate these hotdogs with the potatoes for 10 years. Then I moved and i am really craving one. Would it be possible for you to send me the recipe of the potato hotdog?

  10. I love Hank’s Frank’s! i love going to work with you and always finishing my last bite of my favorite hotdog toppings! Hank’s Frank’s may be small but it still have the awesomest hotdogs in New Jersey! i love Hank’s Franks, I love your hotdogs, I love your toppings, and mostly I love you!!! thank you for giving me the chance to grow up with a dad who owns the best hotdog place around!
    ~Your daughter Lauren~

  11. lindsay benanti says:

    thanks for these comment we really enjoy u leaving them and all the support we get.!!=] hank was my granfather and gary his son is my dad i will tell him everything all the comments u write and im sure he would love to see ur faces in hanks franks! thanks again his daughter Lindsay

  12. Jenni says:

    I was wondering if Hanks franks would consider sending orders out, My boyfriend John Baker loves your food and is always talking about it, and I would love to surprise him with some, we are living out west (utah) and he asks people about hot dogs simular and gets wierd looks lol

  13. Philly Mags says:

    I have the same experiences that Pete wrote. Although I grew up in the middle section of Lodi (Prospect St.) making trips
    to Hank’s was somewhat of a requirement as an always hungry teen. We would buy the five get one free which hit the spot
    a few hours before dinner. I’ve lived here in Florida since 1975 and traveled the state attempting to find a frank that could give Hank’s a run, can’t be done. I’ve tried to explain the potatoes to several hot dog entreprenures but found it will not and can not be done.
    I’ll be taking a trip to Lodi with my wife in July 08 and am looking so forward to having the best, and also having her (from Va.) finally know what I’ve been talking about .

  14. Melissa and Lindsay Benanti says:

    thanks so much much for your great comments. we really appreciate that u have recognized our great restaurant. keep commenting thanks again

    The hanks franks team

  15. Joseph Benanti says:

    I am the son of the owner of Hanks Franks. If you ever wondered, Henry, or as his nickname was, Hank, started the business. Thats where the name came from; Hanks Franks. Frank meaning a hot dog. Well anyway, my dad Gary now owns the restaurant. Hopefully i will someday own it too. It is a blast growing up around it, and i love the food. And to all those Hanks chili and potato lovers, i’m sorry to say that you will not be finding out the ingredients anytime soon. It is a secret. But I hope you continue to enjoy our great hot dogs and keep coming back for more. If you have any questions just post a comment. I’ll be checking.

    Dad. I love you. And you too Mom. You are the best parents ever.

    • Dear mr Benanti
      Would you please reconsider revealing the ingredients to the hot peppers and onions? I live in Washington state and miss hanks franks.
      Maria Franzese

  16. David frm Hermosa Bch,CA says:

    Igrew up in Saddle Brook, but now live in Hermosa Bch,CA. I am completely addicted to Hanks Franks. I miss it so bad that I am trying to open a replica of it here at the beach in Cali. Not an easy task w/o the hot dog culture of NJ, The big hot dog joint in LA is Pinks hot dogs. It is a disgrace compared to Hanks Franks. All of Hollywood goes there and it is always on TV. Wish I could convince someone from Hank’s family to come out here to sunny California and help me kick Pinks butt. I know it would be a success!!

    Please email me.

  17. Tommbo says:

    I could remember Mr.Hank talking to Mrs. Hank on the intercom to their house across the street. My brother Brian and John worked there. Mr Hank would get mad if you touched the plates! He was great!

  18. Peter Chletsos says:

    I remember Hank’s Franks from the 60’s. My father, Nicholas Chletsos, was the distributor who brought the hotdogs and rolls to Hank’s each day. I worked for my father in the 60’s and drove the Sabrett truck during the summers on my break from college to pick up the dogs and rolls from Sabrett’s in Jersey City each day. I would distribute them to pushcarts and businesses in Passaic, Lodi, Garfield, Saddle Brook, Hasbrouck Heights, East Rutherford, and anywhere in Bergen and Passaic counties. I remember delivering to Adam Soccio’s in Garfield, Ester Sudol in Lodi, Frank Russo in Lodi, and Fat Mike’s in Hasbrouck Heights. I even delivered rolls to Jungle Habitat in West Milford (remember that place?!?) jin the early 70’s.

    But, of all the customers to whom I delivered dogs, Hank’s Franks will always be my favorite. Hank was the only place I would buy dogs for lunch. . . . always with mustard on each and cooked onions or saurkraut on some. He would charge $0.20 a dog and $1.00 for 6. I always got 6.

    Still today, I always look for a pushcart that sell Sabrett’s but they never did meet the standards of Hank’s Franks. Hank was meticulous in his preparation of his dogs and his condiments. He took great pride in cooking his dogs and serving his customers. I still live in Jersey and need to stop by for a great treat.

    One thing I remember, always be on Hank’s good side. He had his standards and wouldn’t allow anything less.

    Here’s to a great guy.

    Peter Chletsos

    • Ron says:

      Hi Peter, not sure if you will see this, but I saw your post and you mentioned Adams (Soccio) Hot Dogs. I lived up the street from his pave in Garfield and I just got a photo of him in front of his place. Do you happen to remember when Adam started the business, cuold have been 59 or 60? There was a bar and grill next door… “Kardash” and Pony track next to that. My dad ran the pony track. Do you have any photo’s of that area? Thanks!

  19. ron of hawthorne says:

    Can’t wait to get my next trio of dogs covered with mustard and your terrific red onions. we lived in virginia for a while and could not get anything close to your tasty dogs. my wife asked what i missed most about new jersey and i said, “hank’s franks.”

  20. John Neidhardt says:

    When I worked for Hank, his daughter Gail was just getting started to learn the art of hot dog making. I remember once a year on the stores anniversary, hank would make me put out 2 big jars or pickles and peppers. Also the orange aid was superb. I barely remember 5 or 6 types of toppings, he eventually got alot more that that. Do they still wrap in waxed paper and wrap with a rubber band?

  21. John Neidhardt says:

    Got to Hanks yesterday, had 4 dogs with all my favorites and talked to the staff about when i worked there with hanks,
    It still rules, Go to hanks!!!!!

  22. drew says:

    I grew up in lodi, thank god no longer live there but loved hanks. buy 8 get one free was a running joke with my buddy john perillo who alwas aked when we went, “what do you want on the free one.”
    I keep telling my 17 year old son about the place, we need to do tht before he’s off to Hamilton college. He has already experienced he crows nest now its hanks and ruts hut and he’ll be all set.
    if I’m in the are I still stop, burp all the way back to new york, but worth the trip if just for the memories of my father and a simpler time.
    Glad the place is still in action!

    • Judy says:

      My son was a fan of Rut’s Hut. Can’t compare to Hanks. I grew up in the Land of Dumb Italians and no longer live there. Best wishes for your son in college. Bring him to Hank’s and get out of there quick.

  23. Judy says:

    I grew up in Lodi and even though I am not a hot dog fan, a frank at Hank’s is the best. I guess that it is the dirty water sabrett that makes it along with the potatoes.

  24. Maria says:

    Does anyone know how to replicate the amazing chili hod dog sauce that Hank’s Frank’s, in NJ, uses?

  25. Andrew says:

    I remember my dad taking me there… My dad would ask me how many I wanted, and I would say a number, but remember that I always wanted more. I can’t think of a better place to go. I look at the pictures and it brings back the memories. I remember the lines as well making a loop in the place too. Did anyone ever see anyone even make a phone call from that phone booth…LOL
    If anyone knows of a good place in Arizona, let me know..

  26. Maria says:

    Has anyone ever tried to recreate hank’s franks chili? I would love the recipie.

  27. Mark O'Neill says:

    Someone get the chilli recipe and post it, not everyone can get to N.J. I’m in Australia

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