NJ Dining: Johnny and Hanges

Johnny & Hanges
23-20 Maple Ave, Fair Lawn, NJ
(201) 791-9060

Johnny and Hanges is a good example of how a brand or a legendary fast food restaurant falls on hard times, but then is revived by new ownership and restores it to its former glory. Johnny and Hanges, which opened in 1939 in Paterson, went through a long decline in the 1980’s and multiple owners until filing for bankruptcy back in the late 90’s. In 1999, an enterprising deli owner bought the rights to the name and the restaurant’s chili recipe for $20,000 and re-opened the restaurant at a brand new location in Fair Lawn. It’s now doing gangbusters business.

Elvis worship is a common theme at Johnny and Hanges.

Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more Hot Dog porn.

See? The food is rich in healthy Omega 9 oils.

An “all the way” dog, with chili, raw onion and mustard. The chili has an interesting flavor, its heavy on the cinnamon. Along with the raw onion and mustard, the combination works great. The dogs are a blander natural casing type of dog, which is then deep-fried.

Chocolate Shake

A dog with hot onions and mustard.

White Cheese and Gravy Fries. So bad, yet so good.

53 Responses to NJ Dining: Johnny and Hanges

  1. Jason R says:

    Looks great. We’ve been regaled with tales of the Patterson J & H for years, and love going to the one in Fair Lawn. Great, clean, friendly atmosphere with fantastic food to match.

    – Jason R.

  2. John Fox says:

    I’ve been to J&H a few times; most recently with the Munchmobile. They are one of the few Texas Weiner places that also serve a spicier all beef dog in addition to the common beef/pork dog. It’s funny how some people swear by the old Paterson J&H. I’ve never been to the old location, but the owner told me that the chili and dogs are the exact same. I think memories and atmosphere often clouds people’s judgement. The owner of Callahan’s told me the same thing about their dogs being the same at all 3 of their locations (now 2). I found that the dogs were the same at Little Ferry and Fort Lee.

    My favorite Texas Weiner place is Pappy’s in Totowa. They use the same Thumanns dog for deep frying that most places use, but leave it in the oil for a sufficient amount of time. But what makes it my favorite is the sweet, spicy, zesty chili sauce. Although Hirams was voted first place for chili dog by the Munchmobile, my vote went to Pappy’s. But all the north Jersey places do a pretty good job of making a quality Texas Weiner.

  3. tracey says:

    I just tried the “new” store after having been to the original oh maybe 17 yrs ago. I think I liked it better back then. I was telling Eric from Amazing HD that the chili sauce couldnt stand up to the flavor of the FFs. It was a good accent to the hot dog itself, though very mild. I meant to get the Crispy Crowns not the FFs. May have to go back.


  4. Can someone tell me what a “Texas Weiner” is and why it’s a popular style of dog in New Jersey? I’m just asking because I’m from Texas and while we eat hot dogs it’s not considered one of our signature dishes–unless you’re talking about corny dogs.

  5. It’s called a Texas Weiner because it has beanless chili on it, with raw onions and mustard. It was invented in New Jersey and its a just the name that caught on, it has nothing to do with Texas at all.


  6. Robert says:

    I worked at Johnny and Hanges, back in 1960, of course the old location (which now is a florist) and recently went to the Fairlawn location. While the setting leaves a lot to be desired, compared with the old one on river Street, the taste and quality of the sauce is still the SAME.

  7. Wally Smith says:

    Now for the big question. Does anyone know the recipe for the Johnny and Hanges hot dog sauce? It’s been a deep dark secret for so many years. Any takers? Wally

    • Sonny In Florida says:

      A bit of history: (names and/or relationships may be changed to protect both the innocent and guilty)
      This recipe was accidentally submitted by a person (wife, son, daughter, covert operator) for inclusion in a church cookbook. All the recipes were photocopied so the originals could be returned. The owner of the restaurant, upon learning his secret recipe could be out, immediately came to my house looking for the submission. He asked if it had been copied yet and since my mother was handling the whole thing, I was not sure and simply answered “no”. He snatched the recipe from my hand and as I look back on this, he let out a huge sigh of relief as he walked away. Later when my mother came home, I told her what had happened and she immediately got the copies, THERE IT WAS! No heading at all, just the recipe along with a bunch of side notes, she knew what it was and we had the only copy in existence not in possession of the owner. Equations had to be worked out from such a large volume down to family size portions, but it was done and the following recipe is the final result. I hope you all enjoy it.

      2 lbs ground beef
      2 8oz cans tomato paste
      2 cups water
      1 tsp ginger
      1 tbsp cumin
      1 ½ tbsp chili powder
      ¾ tbsp paprika
      ¾ tsp onion powder
      ½ tsp garlic salt
      ½ tsp celery seed
      ¼ tsp cinnamon
      ½ tsp nutmeg
      1 tsp salt
      1 tsp ground pepper
      6 oz Heinz ketchup
      2 tbsp spicy brown mustard
      1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
      1 cup finely chopped onion and another 2 cups that do not go into the recipe.

      The process is just as important as the ingredients, so please do not try to rush this.
      1) Put all measured dry ingredients above into a small bowl and mix well, set aside.
      2) Brown the ground beef while breaking it into the smallest pieces possible, drain most of the grease, leave a little.
      3) Add tomato paste and water directly to the pan with the beef, medium heat, combine well.
      4) Sprinkle all dry ingredients evenly into beef/tomato paste mixture while keeping a medium to low heat.
      5) Add all other remaining ingredients to pan and stir/mix well. Remember, only 1 cup onion goes in.
      6) Slow simmer for at least 1 hour, adding water as necessary so as not to dry out or burn.

      Your final sauce should have enough consistency so it does not drip or get too runny, yet thin enough not to clump into a ball.

      Hot dogs should be deep fried until the outside has a bit of a snap when biting into it.

      Open hot dog bun and put about 1 tbsp chopped onion evenly down center from end to end, add hot dog, then top with all-the-way sauce until dog is covered. EAT.

      Don’t forget to deep fry the Sabrett skinless hot dogs

      • Brian says:

        Thanks for the recipe, could you please send the Large Volume recipe prior to your breakdown?
        I thought J&H chili sauce may have had some sort of beans in it? I guess not…

        Thanks again!

      • ilmbeaches says:

        Thanks :)

    • kathy cllahan says:

      the two men that know this recipe are dead……..anybody trying will never duplicate the recipe. not even fairlawn we were just up there and it sucked and my family owned the one on river street and 7 family members worked on river street for 37 years it will never be the same

  8. I remember the OLD J&H In Paterson, we used to order, as a family, go out to the car, and eat !! It was not only the food, but the atmosphere and memories that you can’t go back to in Fairlawn. I think you will understand what I mean when the Yankees move out of the house that Ruth Built.

    I live in So California now, and when I go back to Visit my Family in Hawthorne, I will be driving over to Fairlawn for a DAWG ALL THE WAY

    • wayne i do not if you remember me, but we played hockey together for hawthorne high. you and van kooten would drive me MIKE SASSO and CHICO DADIAN back and forth to practice on late saturdays , early sundays at the paramus mall. i live in vegas been here for thirty years. if you get a chance drop me an e-mail

  9. Shirley says:

    Wow! Ditto for the above comments by Wayne…I have the same memories as a little girl when it was a ritual to go to J&H for an outing…we lived off of Rt 20 in Paterson. My father was a huge fan and loaded up the car and took the kids there and no hot dog ever made it back to the house and we always got the sauce on our clothes and down our chins! I live in Tampa, FL now and my daughter asked me about this place just last week remembering how I introduced her to J&H and she really liked the chili cheese fries. The last time we were in NJ was in the early 90’s and I thought you could then purchase the sauce….is this true now?…do you ship… We are really homesick for a really good hot dog! Needless to say, I was thrilled to find this site and with great pics too!

  10. richie says:

    are you still looking for the johnny and hanges recipe ?

  11. richie says:

    any one wanting johnny and hanges recipe email me at welafong1@yahoo.com i will give you a recipe for red orions to go along with the johnny and hanges recipe this is better them the $20.000 recipe how do i know i have the real recipe dont ask me for that one for legal resions i wont give it out you will have to turst me when i say its better then then the $20.000 one

  12. Wally Smith says:

    Richie. You will hear from me soon about the recipe.

  13. Chris says:

    I have been a consumer of the J&H dogs since the early 80’s. I was devastated when the original closed in Paterson. Since the re-opening….definitely mixed feelings. When they first reappeared, the sauce was the same as it ever was. Within the last few years though, it has changed and just doesn’t taste the same anymore. I have no other way of describing it other then it lakes the vest it used to have. Anyone else agree?

  14. Wally Smith says:

    Chris. I get back to NJ once a year and always stop in J&H for a dawg. I also buy several quarts of the sauce to take back to Virginia. I don’t think the recipe has changed at all. Still the same and they still deep fry their dawgs. Anyone else have an opinion? Wally.

  15. GINO says:


  16. Nancy Bakelaar Kime says:

    I definitely agree with you about the change in the sauce. When they originally opened, the sauce tasted the same as years ago, but then it’s as if they watered it down and they went to a larger bun for the hamburgers which also takes away from the taste. How can you taste the sauce through all that roll? They told us that is what the customers wanted! Well, not the old timers, they should offer a choice. I was always a hamburger fan there, but will switch to the hotdogs just so I can taste the watered down sauce. We don’t buy the sauce to take home anymore, in fact I have to beg my husband to stop there because he feels the sauce has changed so much.

  17. gino says:


  18. JOAN says:


    • Tim Miller says:

      Dear Joan, not sure if my first email to you went through – I was asking you if you would send me the recipe for “Jersey Dogs” sauce recipe.

      Tim Miller in WV


    • brian says:

      Joan, I would love a copy of your Johnny & hange chili dog sauce. I live in the mid-west now and do not get to NJ enough to get my Johnny & hange fill.

      Thank You!!
      please reply nto:

      njguy407at Hotmail dot com

    • Carol says:

      Joan, I know that this post was done in 2007 but if possible, I would love to have the recipe. We also moved from NJ to FL. Thanks so much in advance.

  19. Wally says:

    Joan. Will you divulge the recipe? I grew up on J&H Hot Dogs, but moved to Virginia. Thanks. Wally

  20. Kq says:

    We gre up on Clixes hot dogs. Would love to get there recipe. If not I will settle fro J&H’s . If any has it please let me know.

  21. Brian says:

    I loved the old J&H location, The new place is not bad either… The Texas weiners still taste great. I live in the mid-west now and go there every trip back(some times twice) Nothing in the mid-west even comes close. Anyone with the recipe fro J&H chili sauce please contact me. For that matter, if you have any of the NJ texas weiner chili recipes I would love them also. my contact info NJGUY407 at hotmail dot com.
    NJ texas weiners forever!!!!

  22. Jim says:

    During WWII my folks lived in Hawthorne NJ just across the bridge from the Paterson J&H. Going there for Texas wieners was always a rare treat. The sauce is not chili but is a Greek recipe which was found in some of the little corner restaurants in downtown Paterson and especially, as I recall, near the Wright Aero factory (built the engine that powered Lindberg across the Atlantic in 1927). The pop singer, Blonde, Debbie Harry, lived within walking distance of the J&H on Coolidge Place in Hawthorne. Her (adoption) father, Richard Harry, and my dad were in the Boy scouts together in the 1930’s and he was my God-father.

    We also used to go to a place on Goffle Rd and then there was Libby’s Lunch near the Passaic Falls – which is still going.

    I found this site while searching for someone who knew how to make that Greek sauce and try to get them to enter it in a charity chili-cook-off here in Citrus County in Florida this November. (Yeah, I know, if it’s not chili, why do you want it in a chili cook-off? Because it’s so good and it looks like it’s chili!)

  23. soldiermom11x says:

    I remember Johnnie & Hanges when they were in Paterson and they made THEE best hotdogs around. Everyone who has tasted those delicious Johnnie & Hanges hotdogs knows what I mean. I went to school with one of the owner’s daughter’s. They eventually moved out of Paterson to Bergen county and are in Fair Lawn. I live in Bergen County so I still go there but they are definately not as good as when they were in Paterson.

  24. Mark from Mississippi says:

    I was born in bred in Paterson (1947-1965). I grew up on Johnny and Hanges. Our family ate there (mainly to go) weekly. It was my biggest treat growing up. We had “New Yorkers, Cremated, Soupy) that was extra onions, well-done and extra sauce. I had an uncle who lived on long island. He visited us frequently and had a real food palate….he only wanted to eat in on place when he visited…you guessed J&H. I am not back to Jersey often but on my next trip I will visit the “new” J & h. and I am looking forward to it.

  25. soldiermom11x says:

    Senore Mark when they were in Paterson by the river Johnnie & hanges was a drive-in. You could eat those delicious hot dogs in your car. that was thee seventies and they did not have an eat in part. I live in New Jersey and still like to go to Johnnie & Hanges in Fair Lawn but thee sauce is not as good as it used to be. oh how I miss those good ole days when we would pile in papa’s slant v-6 dodge dart and go get our dogs.

  26. Frank Verlardi says:

    Anyone, I will pay $100 for a hot dog sauce recipe , either Johnny and Hanges, Falls View, or what is the name of that hot dog place on market st. somewhre around 20th Ave?? or a few blocks from Madison Ave, or Rutt’s Hut in Clifton.

    I now live in the Seattle area and really miss good East Coast food, good food is unheard of out here. These Italian restaurants out her have pictures of Venice on the walls, Italian music in the background and then they serve you the most disgusting pasta sauce ever. I am back in Jersey maybe three times a year and visit all my food stops. B&W Bakery in Hackensack for their crumb cake, Calandra’s Bakery in Fairfield, for their bread, Bella Napoli in Clifton for anything they serve.
    I don’t know why I torture myself like this. Frank

    • C@TRH says:

      Hey Frank, we’re a tavern down here in Tacoma at The Red Hot (2914 6th Ave, Tacoma WA 98406). We do a great chili sauce here (no beans or filler ‘protein’ like those places up in Seattle). We can also give a good italian beef sammich if you craving is there. Brats, Kielbasa, and Andoulle sausages round us out. Unfortuneately no fries, but we’re 21 and over and have a killer selection of rotating craft beer on tap. We can serve it up to go if you need.

  27. Frank Verlardi says:

    I forgot to leave my email address: sirfixit@aol.com

  28. David Lamb says:

    I grow up in Paterson and went there weekly. They were the greatest. A friend’s dad work there on the grill cooking hamburgers. We (Our Lady of Lords) drum corps would stop there on our way back from a contest or parade to fill up on those dwg’s. I veve in California but do not get back much but would love the recipe if someone has it and could send it to me. fwrl@verizon.net

    Thanks for the memories.

  29. holiday_bundt_cake says:

    I am a lil ole Jewish Matron who shall be living in Bergen County, New Jersey. Thee taxes are very high where I live and I often get frustrated living in New Jersey, but thee only thing that shall keep this lil ole Jewish hausfrau from moving shall be those delicious Johnny & Hanges hot dogs. I know I would feel like a dopo if I moved out because I would miss those hot dogs.

  30. Gary Wilson says:

    miss the old place in Paterson we used to live up River Street and went to Johnnys all the time. My Dad’s favorite place for liquid refreshment, Andy’s Bar & Grill was just around the corner how convienent! We moved to Mahwah eventually and I wonder If anybody remembers the short lived Johnny and Hanges in Suffern NY?

  31. Lou Puma says:

    I remember Johnnie and Hanges from when I was a kid. Dad and I would go there for hamburgers more so than the hot dogs. We lived in East Paterson then, now Elmwood Park. I moved to Florida in 1959 and never found a burger as good as theirs. For hot dogs, however, we used to go to Corrals on Hazel Street, in Clifton I believe and they too were great. We had a Johnnie and Hanges in Deerfield Beach, Florida for a short while and only got to go there once and on my second trip it was closed. Going to Jersey next month and will try to get there when I visit Elmwood Park.

  32. […] covered Texas Weiners on our posts about Goffle Grill and Johnny and Hanges. I’ve also created my own recipe for hot dog chili similar to Texas Weiner sauce called […]

  33. mariruth says:

    We moved to NY upstate 4 years ago and still have family in NJ. We stopped at J and H last week for dogs all the way. If anyone has a recipe for the sauce please send to me and thanks. I tried to make some myself but it was lacking to say the least! mariruthwild@yahoo.com
    Thanks for any help!

  34. Bruce Johnson says:

    From as early as I can remember every Saturday, if my brother and I were good, my Dad would bring us to visit our Grandmother, then after the visit, he would bring us to Johnny and Hanges for their “All The Way”. In 1968, I joined the Navy, and the weekly visits quickly ended. I have traveled the world, and I must admit nothing has matched my memories of Johnny and Hanges. I now live in Florida, and I still think about having an “All The Way” dog. Since driving up there might be out of the question, I wonder if they deliver?

  35. Iggy says:

    I grew in Riverside, and I almost lived in Johnnie & Hanges, whenever I had money to go there, and then when I started working, I was there regurlarly 2-3 times a week, I moved out of Paterson in 1985, but went there every time I went back to visit my family. And then when they moved out, I haven’t been back to Paterson since, and I miss it terribly. (Johnnie & Hanges, NOT PATERSON!!!). Wonder if they airmail???

  36. Tom Morrison says:

    I grew up in the “riverside ‘ section of Paterson and grew up with Johnnie and Hanges all during the 50’s and 60’s and yes, even the 70’s. It was always a great place to pull into with your car and your favorite girl next to you. I can still see some of the guys who worked there, in the back, peeling potatoes for their fries. Yes, fresh , not frozen fries from freshly peeled potatoes. The dogs were out of sight with no competitor to even come close.
    That was then, but this is now. The fries are not freshly peeled potatoes, but frozen and the dogs are not the same meat as they were before. The only thing that stayed the same, was the sauce for the “all the way” teatment. Thank God for that, because there would be no resemblence to the old Paterson store at all without it. I’m not saying the dogs aren’t good, but there are many more hot dog joints out there, just as good and back then, there weren’t.
    Tom Morrison, Westwood,nj.

  37. Janet Law says:

    Of course I remember Johnny&Hange’s. That’s how I found this site. I grew up in Glen Rock and we used to go to Passaic every Sunday, passing J&H, but my father would never stop. When I was in high school, though, I went to Clixe’s whenever I could and then there was another dawg drive-in, also on Goffle Rd that I went to when my kids were babies.

    A couple of years ago I was back in the area for a reunion, and I found a decent substitute that might have been in Clixe’s old place. Didn’t know about the FairLawn J&H.

    It’s been fun reading these comments and I can almost, almost taste that great taste I loved so much. Thanks for the memories, and thanks for the recipe too.

    Janet Law

  38. Sammy Bee says:

    I was a J&H original. During WWII I had a shoe shine box and shined shoes for the Army Air Force guys stationed in the building just up the block on River Street from J&H. I would take a few dimes and buy a hot dog all the way with fries from J&H. I was odd because Johnson’s was across the street where they sold hot dogs but did not compare to J&H. I have been away from the Paterson/Fair Lawn for more than 60 years and glad to see that J&H is still around but not on 1st & River anymore
    Sammy B

  39. ilmbeaches says:

    Thanks Sonny in Florida :)

  40. Hey Linda,I wonder if this is Sonny AKA AJG? If so ,he and I frequented J&H since I lived walking distance on East 16th Street. Our dates consisted of J& H and Patsy’s.I went to the Fairlawn J&H and it does not compare to the Riverside location. I have become a faithful at Hot Grill in Clifton.They have been serving the public since 1970. When J& H was on its way out ,Hot Grill was a budding new hot dog place. Since the recession, Hot Griill offers Buy 1 get one free everyday from 3:00 – 6:00PM.

  41. Ok so all we have are memories of the best hot dog ever… RIP J&H
    Wish they left the recipe LOL

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