NJ Dining: Goffle Grill

July 9, 2007

Goffle Grill
1140 Goffle Rd, Hawthorne, NJ

(973) 423-0881





Web Site: http://www.gofflegrill.com

Click Here for Hi-Res Photos!

I know I said last week that I didn’t want to eat any more hot dogs for at least a month, but Rachel and I caved in a few days later at the Goffle Grill in Hawthorne, one of the most well known hot dog stands in New Jersey.

Like Johnny and Hanges, Goffle Grill is also a Texas Weiner joint, and has been proudly serving them since 1979. It uses the same Thumann’s deep fryer dog that is common to several classic NJ “ripper” joints, such as Rutt’s Hutt, Hot Dog Heaven, and Hiram’s.

Texas Weiners await at the Goffle Grill. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more!

Read the rest of this entry »

The Great Off The Broiler Hot Dog Tasting of 2007

July 3, 2007

Spread the word: digg this story

In our previous hot dog tasting, in the summer of 2004, we evaluated 14 brands of hot dogs which could easily be purchased at supermarket chains in the New York Metropolitan area. Three years later, Consumer Reports released a similar study where the hot dogs from Hebrew National, owned by industrial foods giant ConAgra rose to the top — a result which ruffled the feathers of many seasoned hot dog experts, myself included. The gauntlet (or in this case, the bun) had been thrown down, and it was time for Off The Broiler to dust off its scoring sheets.

Click Here for Hi-Res Slide Show of the tasting day.

Click Here to view the Tasting Results data sheet (Adobe Acrobat Reader required)

Click Here to listen to the Hot Dog Tasting Podcast (34 minutes) with Jason Perlow, Rachel Perlow, Brandon Perlow, John Fox, Eric Eisenbud, Jonathan Lurie and Jordana Z.

Click Here to listen to the supplementary audio (2 hours and 23 minutes) with all the panelists, where we discuss all the hot dogs we tasted real-tine. Includes hilarious bickering and arguing, and the classic “What @#$%& number is it?” Abbott and Costello sketch.

Click Here to watch some video clips of the tasting day at Google Video.

Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below to read the results of the survey.

Read the rest of this entry »

NJ Dining: Hirams

September 13, 2006

Hiram’s Roadstand
1345 Palisade Ave, Fort Lee, NJ
(201) 592-9602

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.

The Menu.

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.

Ode to Callahan’s of Fort Lee

September 8, 2006

With the release of the Newark Star-Ledger’s 2006 Jersey hot dog ratings, which will send seismic waves throughout the hot dog universe for some time to come, the Jersey Dog again finds itself in the spotlight of hot dog lovers everywhere. Perhaps the Jersey Dog will now become the subject of some form of blue-collar gastrotourism, and that’s just fine as far as I am concerned — I’d much rather that our Garden State be known as the Hot Dog capital of the world instead of the butt of “She told me to kiss her where it smells, so I brought her to Jersey” jokes.

Yet with the release of those ratings I still feel like something was missing. There was some unfinished business, a recognition unfulfilled. And I knew exactly what it was. Callahan’s.

Yes, there’s one other Callahan’s restaurant left in Little Ferry, and purportedly it still makes the same good hot dogs and Italian sausage and big juicy Callahoony burgers, and I know for sure I will be visiting it soon. But it just isn’t the same — there was this certain air of nostalgia about the place, the ever-present ghosts of decades of summers at the Palisades Amusement Park, the wonderful ephemera all over its walls, something which made it a landmark. And the food was the finest of its genre, without a doubt. I have to think if the place was still standing today, it would rank highly on the Munchmobile’s list.

In November of 2005 I wrote a short eptiaph of the restaurant for the New York Times only a few months before it finally closed down in February of 2006. I had one of my last meals there and documented my experience. At the time I wished that I had more space to show people the photos I took and to vent my overwhelming sadness of watching Fort Lee’s equivalent to Nathan’s in Coney Island in its final days. But given the recent spike in Jersey hot dog interest, I think its a good time to bring this stuff to the foreground again.

Now, if you’ll indulge me, I’d like you to share my pain.

What you’re looking at is how Callahan’s appears now, from the perspective of Hiram’s parking lot. Hiram’s (which got top honors in Chili Dogs in the recent Munchmobile survey) and Callahan’s enjoyed a hot dog rivalry spanning over 55 years. Both had their devoted fans, and some of us even enjoyed going to both places in sequence to compare and contrast, over and over again, much like the Pat’s and Geno’s cheese steak rivalry in Philly. The site is now being developed for a Bank of New Jersey branch. Yeah, like we need another bank. There’s one across the street, and another Bank of New Jersey a mile away.

Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below to see photos of how Callahan’s was, before it was demolished.

Read the rest of this entry »

New Jersey’s Top Dogs

September 8, 2006


The BLT Dog and Hawaii-Five-O at Amazing Hot Dog in Verona.

The Grilled dog at Syd’s in Union.

Peter Genovese’s “Munchmobile” crew spent the entire summer visiting nearly 90 hot dog places in Northern New Jersey. Which ones came out on top?

The Top Dogs (Newark Star Ledger)


Amazing Hot Dog (click for OTB podcast) won for best deep fried dog and Hiram’s in Fort Lee won for best Chili dog. Syds in Union grabbed the gold for the best grilled dog. These are three of my most favorite hot dog places, ever.

Although the Star Ledger primarily covers Northern New Jersey, I wish there had been more coverage of Central and South Jersey dogs, because I think more places like the Windmill (which got Second Place in Chili Dogs in their survey) deserve some ‘lovin as well.

So many hot dogs, so little time.