1345 Palisade Ave, Fort Lee, NJ
Having recently read the Munchmobile’s results regarding the top NJ dogs and their glowing review of Hiram’s chili dog, I had to go see what the fuss was about for myself.
As a former resident of the Cliffside Park/Fort Lee area for nearly five years, I am quite familiar with the dogs at Hiram’s. Of course, anyone who knows me well is aware I was more of a Callahan’s fan, but I certainly respected Hiram’s — you really kind of have to, considering the characters that walk in there, which includes guys like Tony Bourdain (who featured it on his New Jersey homecoming episode of No Reservations).
But lets get into what fundamentally separated the two places. Hiram’s uses a blander Thumann’s dog (which is essentially a bologna stick) whereas Callahan’s used (well, technically still uses if you count the Route 46 Little Ferry branch and the Hasbrouck Heights location) a Sabrett Pork and Beef hybrid that is more heavily spiced, and I am definitely in the heavily spiced camp. Both dogs were deep fried. That being said, and after consuming numerous Hiram’s dogs over the years, I had never had their chili dog. I needed to rectify this shortcoming, and quickly.
The Hiram’s parking lot. While both Hiram’s and Callahan’s both served alcohol, Hiram’s was always the more seedier (and much smaller) place in my estimation, attracting bikers and questionable characters of all types. This is not a dig at Hiram’s — everyone likes it that way. Of course, in this photo you can see more respectable vehicles parked alongside, and that’s because Callahan’s, which was always the more family-oriented place, is now a empty lot.
The view behind the counter.
Hiram’s dining room, which is usually populated with rowdy inebriated types. Again, not a dig — that’s why we love the joint. The Star Ledger Munchmobile describes Hiram’s as a “Hot Dog Roadhouse”. I’d say that’s a perfect description.
The Hiram’s chili dog. I have to say, the Munchmobile folks really nailed this one on the head. I practically want to kill myself for never having had one of these before — the spicing on the chili is just perfect, with a nice beefy flavor. It’s a perfect compliment to the firm but somewhat bland deep-fried Thumann’s dog, which is begging for some seasoning. In fact, I’d have to say that this is the only way I’m going to have a Hiram’s dog from now on. It just doesn’t seem right without the chili.
I loved this chili dog so much I just had to show it from another profile.
Hiram’s, at night.