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Fab Hot Dogs--mini report

Having just seen the newly-revived discussion about "rippers", which recently included mention of Fab Hot Dogs in Reseda, DH and I decided to travel the 30 miles or so from our house to go try some dogs. Being a former Jersey Girl, I was practically raised on Rutt's Hut rippers (for those of you who have never heard of them, they are hot dogs with a casing that "rips" when cooked in hot oil), so I headed to Reseda with both great anticipation and wariness.

As we entered the unassuming storefront, we found a clean and cheerful interior with 3 tables on one side and two stools next to a tiny counter on the other. Taking up an entire wall was an extensive menu, featuring different dogs, some burgers, and many toppings. Among the offerings are The Bald Eagle (ripper with mustard relish), Coney Island (chili, cheddar cheese, diced onions and mustard), L.A. Street Dog (bacon-wrapped all-beef dog, grilled onions & peppers, diced tomato, jalapenos, mustard, mayo & ketchup), Spicy Hatch Green Chile Dog (roasted Hatch chiles with jack cheese & mustard), and a Carolina Slaw Dog (homemade chili, mustard and southern cole slaw). There are also double dogs (such as the Sonora Dog, consisting of two dogs on a toasted sub roll with bacon, tomatillo salsa, Jack cheese, pinto beans, shredded lettuce, tomato, onion & sour cream), a few different French fry options, and tater tots. I went for the Bald Eagle, while DH tried one as well, along with an L.A. Street Dog. After we ordered them, the owner showed us the ripper before he applied the toppings, because he said he likes to show them to people, I think so they know what they're getting (and let's face it, a ripper has an unusual look). We got to chatting, and he said that he and his wife had taken an East Coast hot dog tour so they could try different styles (as reflected on the menu). He also said that his rippers are supplied by the same place that supplies Rutt's Hut, and that he had to convince them to ship the dogs out to him.

Finally, the moment of truth had arrived... Well, actually, the Street Dog came out first, so DH chowed down on that as I waited (okay, I had a bite too!). Really good--I'm not one to put jalapenos on my hot dogs, but I liked it, and hubby enjoyed the smokey flavor the bacon added. (As a disclaimer, we can't compare them to actual L.A. street dogs, as neither of us has been initiated enough to try them, despite passing by trays of them many a time after a Hollywood Bowl performance--but, that's a whole other discussion!) We were told that the Fab relish was different than Rutt's, and it was. Carrots, a long-rumored "secret ingredient" of Rutt's relish, were in visible evidence here. I liked the crunchy texture of the relish a lot, but to anyone who expects Rutt's relish, be forewarned that this is not the same. Good in its own right, though. As for the hot dog, I liked it very much. I actually would have preferred a bit more crunch or snap (maybe next time I'll ask for it well-done), but it was still very tasty. DH enjoyed his as well. Can't comment on the fries or tots, as we didn't have any, but next time I'll have to try the Garlic Ranch fries--yum!

The owner was super-nice--he said they'd been open about 6 weeks, and when I told him I'd discovered the place from a thread on Chowhound, he was very intrigued. I really like the idea of the menu including different regional styles of hot dogs, and I can't wait to go back to try some different kinds.

So, the final analysis? Well, to me, nothing can replace my beloved Rutt's Hut rippers (though I think part of that is the overall atmosphere, including the surly waitresses, wood paneling, and knowing that the place has been around since my grandparents were dating there), but Fab does a really good job. And considering that a drive to Reseda from the Westside is a lot quicker and cheaper than a flight to Newark, I'll be back again for sure, especially since this is the first time I've seen rippers on this coast at all.

Fab Dogs
6747 Tampa Ave.
Reseda, CA 91335 (just south of Vanowen)
(818) 344-4336

Mon-Sat 11am-9pm
Sun 11am-6pm

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  1. Thanks for running and taking one for the crowd, Green - and for the great review!! I am so excited by all the different versions of hot dogs they have. I am an LA native and have not had an LA Dog, so... also, I have never been to Rutt's so I will have nothing to compare it to! I love it that they researched hot dogs before opening. That is great - shows real dedication to what they are doing.
    Whenever I go to the valley, I always get a Cupid's chili dog (and some to go) but next time, it will definitely be Fab's.
    Thank you again, Green. BTW, are you one of those who were conceived in the parking lot of Rutts?? ;-)

    3 Replies
    1. re: WildSwede

      I was happy to sample Fab's wares to do the report--every time I saw the "rippers" thread I almost wanted to book a flight to NJ immediately (and then clean the drool off the keyboard...).

      And no, I wasn't conceived at Rutt's--but my mother always pointed out the make-out area of the parking lot... :)

      1. re: beingreen

        Beingreen, thank you for making my day with your great post. I went to Rutt's Hut as a child, and if anything here is even remotely close, I will consider it a blessing!

        1. re: foodhappy

          Thanks for the review. I am in Simi and this place is not too far for me to go to. I have never had a ripper so this will be something new for me.

    2. I'll be in the area this weekend. Looks like I know where I'm going.

      3 Replies
      1. re: ns1

        I just went back to the place today. I had their Bratwurst Special and a steamed dog. Both were excellent. Funny thing is, I still haven't tried the Ripper which is how I heard about this place on CH. Maybe it's the idea that it's deep fried that kinda scares me. I better try it. It can't be much unhealthier than the BLT dog that I had on my 1st visit (which was also excellent). I'm kinda interested in the coleslaw dog though.

        1. re: Galen

          As mentioned above, the whole point of the ripper is to get it with very few toppings - a minimalist approach (if one can say that about a deep fried dog) is best. Cut the inherent richness of a ripper with mustard and maybe a little sauerkraut.

          1. re: Galen


            Good to know you so enjoyed the other things you tried. If I were in the Valley more often I'd definitely be at Fab more, and not just for the Rippers... And don't worry, the deep-fried part isn't as scary as you think--it's more along the lines of fried balogna than, say, almost anything at a county fair... :)

        2. I tried Coney Island hotdog, which was very good. Has anyone tried their burgers?

          3 Replies
          1. re: brandygirl

            I wish someone would try their burgers! I'm hooked on their hotdogs!

            1. re: Galen

              Yeah, the Spicy Hatch Green Chile Burger is calling my name--but I can't get out to Reseda for at least several more days. Oh no!

              1. re: beingreen

                I can't get in a hamburger frame of mind with all those yummy hotdogs around, I hope you bite the bullet for us, Green.

          2. This place sounds awesome...i think i might have to take an extended lunch and give it a try. If i do, i could have a heart attack since i will probably also have a dodger dog or two tomorrow at the game...WOO Manny Ramirez is a dodger.

            1. Another Fab fan here. I was in there yesterday and had the Bald Eagle -- ripper with the special mustrad relish -- and it was terrific. Never been to Rutts, so nothing to compare it with, but it was delicious. The other dogs on the menu looked good too, and someone ordered a burger while I was there and it looked worth trying too. I'll definitely be back soon.

              3 Replies
              1. re: BHAppeal

                I went there again today and had the Carolina dog with coleslaw. It was really good. Next visit will finally be the Ripper then I'm gonna bite the bullet and get a hambuger.

                1. re: Galen

                  Aw, Galen, that means we have to wait until you visit two more times to find out about the burger? :)

                2. re: BHAppeal

                  I went in on Saturday and it was delicious. My sons who went with me can't wait to go again. I had the Fab dog. The owner makes his own tomato/onion relish. My 20 year old had a ripper,said it was okay and then had a jalepeno,chili chesse dog. He really enjoyed it. The buns were warm and soft. We also had the tater tots. They were good but they were tater tots.
                  The only problem is lack of tables and room in the place.
                  The owner is very nice!!

                3. So I came in there at about 1130, ordered a bald eagle.

                  It was excellent as described; that mustard relish was ridiculous.

                  Picked up a mad togo order too, the garlic fries made my car smell awesome and those burgers definitely look like winners.

                  I'm in the valley every other week so this is my new lunchtime spot when I go. Owner's a nice guy too; reads CH and Yelp haha

                  1. These reviews are making me hungry, but....
                    Dang it, why don't any decent hot dog stands open South of the I-10?

                    Fab Hot Dogs (location as of May 2010)
                    19417 Victory Blvd, Reseda, CA 91335

                    1. I don't know what impressed me more, the food or the owners. Some people own a hot dog stand and dream of owning the French Laundry, but you can tell that these people just love owning a hot dog stand. They welcome every customer warmly and make every order fresh. I love the fact that the owner proudly boasted that his relish was better than Rutt's Hut, when he found out I was from NJ (it's not, but I love that he said it.).

                      Finally, rippers in LA! And the tater tots, oh baby (who would have thought I would ever use the phrase "oh baby" to describe tater tots?). This is serious foodie food.

                      Now they just need to rent the store next door, knock down a wall or two and put in a few more tables.

                      8 Replies
                        1. re: creamfinger

                          You know what I thought the tater tots were pedestrian. They were merely tater tots that you'd get in grade school.

                          Did you look them because no where else serves tater tots, or these were above and beyond regular tater tots or just because tater tots brings back a strong sense of nostalgia?

                          But the owner is dedicated in sourcing the hot dogs from jersey, which is pretty admirable and perhaps the only outfit in CA, that imports these dogs from a single purveyor in NJ.

                          1. re: kevin

                            Pedestrian? Really? I like them because they DON'T taste like the ones the lunch lady served. To each his own, I guess...

                            1. re: Cherylcyn

                              I agree. No lunch lady at my school ever served tots like these. The outside is extra crunchy and inside is creamy and each piece has that bit of extra potatoey goodness that Ore-ida can only dream of.

                              1. re: creamfinger

                                My friend ordered tots. I tried a few and thought they were great, but I have nothing to compare it to. I haven't eaten a tater tot since the 60s!

                                1. re: creamfinger

                                  Mine weren't creamy on the inside and extra crispy on the outside.

                                  I'll probably get in trouble for saying this, but I prefer McD's hash browns to these tater tots and most grade school cafeteria tater tots.

                                  1. re: kevin

                                    You won't get in trouble at all. They only have three tables at Fab's. My wait just got a little shorter. Enjoy McDonalds.

                                    1. re: creamfinger

                                      But your wait will still be just as long, because I'll still go there for the hot dogs, I'll just skip the tots.

                          2. Thanks for tip about this place! GF and I love it... They have great hamburgers too! Definately have to try the burgers!

                            1. I stopped by for lunch today and started with a plain grilled dog with chili and onions. It was a good dog. For dessert I tried the spicy Polish with onions and mustard. It was hot. I was told that they are the same spicy Polish sausages that Wiener Factory served. It certainly hit the spot. The only thing that I would like would be a soda fountain. It takes more than a can of coke to wash down the spicy Polish.

                              1. I had the "Chicago" dog, and it was screamingly ordinary to my Chicago taste -- a small, uninteresting wiener (not Vienna Beef) swallowed up by the bun and a garden of decent toppings. OK in a pinch but no plump and very little juicy satisfaction. Next time I'll try something closer to their Jersey heart.

                                As to tater tots -- an item always greater in concept than in execution -- these were better than the worst I ever had in grade school. Yes, they were crunchy and creamy in the right places, but the cooking oil tasted off, and the whole venture looked and smacked of Ore-Ida or a close relative, Ida in Piscataway, e.g. I should have gotten two different hot dogs, instead.

                                By the way, I agree that the owner is a nice guy, an older, more-relaxed version of Dan at Fredo's Phillys in Pasadena -- involved, friendly, and curious about your reaction to his product. It sure beats dealing with the usual "hey, you want fries?" teenage drop-out.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: sbritchky

                                  I didn't even see a Chicago dog on the menu when I was there. Maybe it's an experiment.

                                  1. re: creamfinger

                                    The "Chicago dog" was on the board as a special. They should either keep it off the menu or go to the trouble of getting plump, juicy Vienna Beef dogs.

                                    I continue to be puzzled at all the support here for their tots. I'll try them again next time with a Jersey-style dog, but I'm doubtful. Too boring, unless they start blending a little jalapeno and grated onion into the potato. Maybe I'll put chili on top.

                                2. Based on all the positive comments, I went to Fab Hot Dogs today. I ordered The Ripper and The Grilled Dog, both with mustard, relish, and onions. I also ordered The Coney Island, which has chili, cheddar cheese, onions, and mustard. Being the hot dog lover that I am, these were fabulous. Great flavor!! Fries were excellent as well. And the drinks were nice and cold - especially appreciated on this hot day. The icing on the cake, though, was the owner. Great guy!! Super friendly!! We talked about hot dogs, and he shared with me about his family and how he got started. This just may be my new favorite hot dog place. Can't wait to try his burgers.

                                  1. Check out the review of Fab Dogs in LA Weekly. It's worth checking out if for no other reason than the photos.

                                    Damn, I'm hungry again...


                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: creamfinger

                                      our secret is blown! hope this doesn't mean it'll get too busy =X

                                      1. re: ns1

                                        I mentioned it to him yesterday. He knew about the review, just didn't know when. I think the review was also one of JG's most well-written in a while.

                                    2. Went Yesterday. Had the Bald Eagle, A Coney Isand (Chili, Cheese, Onions and Mustard) I opted for no onions and a little squirt of ketchup as well as the mustard.
                                      I got an order of Tater Tots too. Totally awesome dogs. The chili was great too! The Tots took me back to my childhood. My mom used to fry them up for us when I was a kid. I will definitely go back, maybe tomorrow. :chinscratch: As said, the owner is a great friendly guy. I am gonna go out on a limb here and say this place just might be the Best Dogs in LA!

                                      1. Thanks for the great review! Having never been to Rutt's either, I have nothing to compare the dogs to, but I was very pleased.

                                        Joe and Susie are so friendly and unassuming; I ordered two Bald Eagles medium well, and I really enjoyed them. We were yakking so much, though, that they'd cooled to room temp before I got to eat them. Nonetheless, decent flavor, nice crunch and "green-ness" to the relish mixture and soft buns. Didn't try any of the sides, just two ice-cold Cokes and two "B.E.'s". Hubby can't wait to try it. So on our 9th anniversary on Thursday, we're going to have lunch there!

                                        BTW, Joe gave me a little sample of his chili. It's all-meat, no beans. Very nice. Not too spicy and almost no grease. Can't wait to try their other menu items, but for now I'm hooked on the west-coast rippers.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: shelleykelly

                                          I finally tried the Ripper (Bald Eagle) today. I thought it was good, but you know what I thought was really good? My friend's Reuben Dog with sauerkraut and pastrami, man, was it yummy. I'm gonna order my own next trip. The food there reminds me of concoctions you'd eat if you were high on weed, except I haven't partaked in decades.

                                          1. re: Galen

                                            Just got back. I had a Bald Eagle, mild polish with slaw cheese onion, chili cheese fries. The wife had a bacon cheese dog, slaw dog and tater tots. The dogs were great, the chili was certainly the best I can ever recall having. The tater tots were fried just perfectly. The prices are rock bottom in my opinion. The place is a real hole in the wall...I sneezed and I missed it. Had to turn back around. I will go back very soon.


                                        2. Okay, so I finally got to the valley after a wonderful day at the beach on Sunday. I arrived around 5:15-ish. Having grown up in the hood - anyone been to Weber's Bar around the corner? - it felt like coming home. Inside, there were 2 people in line ahead of me. Two of the three 2-tops inside were put together and had a party of 4 sitting at it. I claimed the only remaining inside table with one chair next to the window. One of the two outside tables had 3 people sitting at it and the two people who ordered ahead of me were perched on two of the 4 or 5 stools. By the time I left, all the tables and some of the stools were occupied.
                                          I got to the counter and ordered a Creamator (the owner immediately asked if I had read J Gold's article, which I had, assuming that is where I heard about it. But really, could not anyone who had either 1) seen That Hot Dog Show on PBS or 2) been to Rutt's Hut (I am in the #1 camp) not deduced that if they were serving a Ripper, they could also easily make a Creamator?? I told her I first heard about them on Chowhound.
                                          So, I ordered the Creamator (it will take about 15 minutes - fine, I have my book!) with their homemade mustard relish and an order of Chili-Cheese Fries with chopped onions - cooked well done (as anyone who has spent anytime on this board knows, I order everything well done - pizza, fries and now, apparently, my hot dogs!). Oh, and a Squirt. $7.42 total - not including the $1 tip I put in the jar. I love the fact that they take credit cards!
                                          Once I was done ordering, I ran to the car, grabbed my book and sat down to wait. My food arrived (I don’t think it was even 10 minutes) and the first thing I did was take a bite of the chili. It was really good. A little hint of sweetness, nice meaty taste. I really liked it. And I always love it when I order my fries well done and they actually listen to me – as they did here!! ;-) Then I dug into the Creamator – the first thing that hit me was the crunchy, tangy, mustard-y taste of the relish. I liked it – it really worked on the Creamator. For those who don’t know what a Creamator is, it is a Ripper bumped up a notch (or two) – that is, fried longer than the Ripper. The outside of the dog was almost brittle (but not crisp). The dog was definitely more juicy that I expected it to be, but noticeably less juicy than a regular dog (obviously). It had an interesting taste – almost a grilled/charred taste to it – almost, but very faint; almost undetectable. It would definitely be much more noticeable without the relish. I did like it, but think I will stick to trying the other dog offerings from now on, although I do want to try the Ripper.
                                          Someone at one of the tables had ordered the Frito Pie and I overheard him state that it was really good. He also ordered the Polish Firecracker and exclaimed “I would order that again”. The people next to me had ordered the Ripper and another dog and then went back and ordered another before they left. Pretty much everyone who was in there that I overheard talking to the owner had said they were there because of Gold’s article.
                                          I would have to say that I cannot wait to go back and sample more of their offerings. Not sure if I am interested in the tater tots, but if I do break down and decide to get them, I will definitely be ordering them well done. So all I have to decide is when can I next detour into the valley… hmmm, I may just have the opportunity this Sunday!! Take care!

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: WildSwede

                                            I'll be there this weekend to try out the hamburger hehe

                                            1. re: WildSwede

                                              We couldn't wait either, potential SCARF outing be damned. We went last Sunday. Shared a ripper with the mustard relish, the chili-slaw dog and the Hatch chile dog. My favorite was the chili-slaw dog, which had a great melding of flavors and textures. Ripper was second, Hatch dog was third. I kind of expected the chiles to be hot (in temperature) but they weren't, though they were nicely spicy, but the cheese underneath didn't melt. Not that it was bad or anything. The ripper was kind of fun. I'm kind of glad that it's about 20-25 minutes from home - close enough to be accessible but far enough that we won't be running over there every week.

                                            2. Against my better judgement, I dropped by today and got a cheeseburger and a bald eagle. The cheeseburger is as delicious as it looks; best $4 burger I've ever had. Ripper still delicious, love that mustard relish.

                                              Good show, good show.

                                              1. Sooo...hubby and I returned (well, actually, it was MY return, his first time) to Fab's on our 9th anniversary for lunch.

                                                I'm absolutely STUCK on their "ripper, well done" and ordered two with the spicy horseradish mustard. LOVE LOVE LOVE!

                                                Hubby ordered a medium well ripper with chili, and really enjoyed it, which is saying a lot since he's a "chicken" guy to the core. We also ordered the Frito pie and what can I say? Just like home except Joe's chili is much better than mine.

                                                The guys next to us ordered the "Hatch" dogs, I think, to start, it was their first time and they just wanted to try something simple. Two minutes later, they ordered another round along with fries.

                                                Everyone was happy!

                                                I'm totally hooked. The other guys were, too, and they were old-school truck drivers, having eaten at the best places across the country.

                                                Joe, Susie, our hat's off to you, and many wishes for continued success and growth! You should buy the pizza joint next door and expand. We'll all be there.

                                                Shelley and Mike

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: shelleykelly

                                                  I went back on Friday afternoon. Had a Ripper (try it if you haven't had one) with slaw, cheese and onion, a Carolina which is chili, slaw and onion, garlic fries. Wife had a Kraut dog and Bacon dog with tater tots. Generally excellent I must comment that the garlic on the fries was way too much. The owner didn't flinch when I commented on that which in a way is ok. It's his product and he knows the way he wants to serve it. Maybe everyone else likes it that way..I would also like to see soda on a fountain and not in cans. And If you serve canned soda, serve ice as well.

                                                2. bratwurst = good, his saurkraut = excellent. was never a fan of saurkraut but I ate a ton today.

                                                  1. just wanted to put my two cents in -- i dragged my parents here yesterday. my mom and i had manhattan dogs -- they were great and had a delicious snap/crunch to them. my dad, a notoriously picky eater, ate every bite of his chilli dog, so i guess that means it was good!

                                                    oh, and i want to join the tot debate -- i loved them! deliciously crisp on the outside and creamy on the inside. mine were flecked with pepper and i added a little bit of salt... MMM!

                                                    3 hot dogs + 2 orders of tots + 3 cans of soda = $17

                                                    1. Loved the Chili Cheese Dog, good chili, and a very juicy dog, and the LA Street Dog, bacon was just meant to be wrapped around a dog, delish. I wasn't so impressed with the ripper, I think The Hot Dog Show somehow built my expectations of one up to some kind of nirvana, that it couldn't match (not that it has to, I'm just saying..), so while it was good, it didn't do much for me.

                                                      I love that they offer tater tots. There was a couple eating in as I was ordering out, who ordered tater tots with fresh garlic, I wished I'd thought of that (it is listed as a free topping), they looked amazing, golden tots, flecked with garlic. I'm ordering it that way next time I'm in the neighborhood. All this goodness, and parking to boot!

                                                      1. Ah, finally got to Fab Dogs last evening. Love the easy parking 'round back. The owner was, indeed, very friendly and enthusiastic about his chow. Apparently he hasn't had a single day off since July 4th, so he was training a fellow on-the-spot, step by step with each new order; the new trainee looked quite dazed like he'd just incurred blunt force head trauma ( trying to remember all the highly detailed dog/condiment combinations ), but he did just fine with my order... I had the Carolina Slaw Dog (great snap! great slaw! great chili!), the Bald Eagle, an order of the tator tots, and a delicious bitter lemon italian-style soda (canned). The Bald Eagle/Ripper was a different dog (meat-wise) as compared to the Carolina Slaw dog; the former was larger, plumper, and not at all greasy; the latter was more dense, snappier to the bite, and more flavorful as to spicing. As a matter of fact, the owner mentioned that he was glad that I sampled both types of dogs, as many new patrons go immediately for the Ripper, when in fact he is even more proud of his steamed/snappy dogs that do not undergo the ripper-process... As for the tator tots, i must repsectfully disagree with the naysayers. These were better than any tator tot that mom or the lunchlady ever produced. Exterior crunch-factor and interior cream-factor were 10-times more pronounced than what 'civilians' usually make at home. For $1.50, the tator tots are the way to go... Only one small quibble: the hotdog bun was very ordinary, I think, and too abundant (though necessary, to cradle both the large dog and the generous toppings... Very pleased. Simple pleasure, this one...

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: silence9

                                                          thanks for the review, I'll be sure to sample his other dogs and the tots next time

                                                        2. I made it to Fab Dogs for the first time today. People are not kidding when they talk about how nice and enthusiastic the owners are. They were great and gave a lot of recommendations. I had two dogs -- a bald eagle and a spicy polish sausage with mustard and grilled onions (the recommended toppings) -- an order of garlic fries, and two cokes for $11 plus change.

                                                          I tried the bald eagle because I wanted to try a ripper. I guess it's either not my thing or the mustard onion sauce overwhelmed the flavor of the dog. I don't think I will order this again.

                                                          But the polish sausage was outstanding. The owner's wife confirmed that they are from the same supplier as the ones that I used to get at the late-lamented Wiener Factory (RIP). Yum. Spicy, smokey, and great flavor. I actually liked it better than the Wiener Factory's because the grilled onions were phenomenal. As were the garlic fries. The only downside is that I got them to go, so my car still stinks of garlic.

                                                          I'll definitely be returning.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: Jwsel

                                                            Oh Jwsel, you beat me to it! My mother went today (I sent her the link to this thread - I don't care for hot dogs, so it's likely I will never visit) and she told me the same thing - he gets his polish dogs from the same place that Kevin did (she was a huge fan of WF which is why I sent her to Fab's).

                                                            She says she's in heaven and that actually, this might be better than WF because it's two blocks from her house.

                                                          2. Well, this is my first post here on Chowhound. I read all the reports on Fab Dogs and of course needed to go out there and try them. I was a big fan of the late, great Wiener Factory. To my taste, the best dogs were either WF or Pinks.

                                                            So it was with great expectations that I trekked out to Fab Dogs. We tried 3 different dogs: Red Cabbage (on their 'hidden menu'), the Coney (Chili/Cheese/Onions/Mustard), and the Ripper with the mustard relish.

                                                            I would have to say they were pretty good dogs, but IMHO, nowhere in league with the WF or Pinks. The casing on the chilidog was a bit too thick, and the bun wasn't the same as WF, it was an ordinary bun. Not bad, but nothing spectacular.

                                                            The ripper, to me, was a novelty. It tasted good, but I don't think I'd get it again. I always enjoy trying regional cuisine, but for my taste, this one can stay in New Jersey.

                                                            So would I go back? Probably not. I enjoyed the experience, but not enough to drive 24 miles (RT) for. I can do much better at Costco! If I was in the neighborhood and jonesing for a dog, I would stop, but I won't go out of my way for Fab Dogs.

                                                            It just goes to show you that "Taste is in the mouth of the beholder"®


                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: lacruiser

                                                              "To my taste, the best dogs were either WF or Pinks. "

                                                              I think we have found the problem. ;)

                                                              I would rather eat the mustard relish straight than anything from Pink's.

                                                              To be fair, I think Pink's has a decent dog. The problem is they cover their decent dog with a pound of subpar ingredients.

                                                              Also, as an addendum to my earlier reviews, I have discovered that

                                                              - The fab dog isn't that great
                                                              - The grilled dogs aren't that great (the dog itself)
                                                              - The casing on the steam dog freakin' ROCKS
                                                              - The ultimate combo is 1 steam dog with mustard relish, 1 bald eagle, tots, and a coke (or 2)

                                                              1. re: lacruiser

                                                                Welcome to chowhound, lacruiser. You'll find all manner of opinions and levels of food knowledge and expertise here. Never fear. Just give your honest opinion, and some 'hounds will agree, some will disagree. If that gets boring, state the opposite of your opinion -- same response.

                                                                As to Fab Dogs, I also feel they're good, not great, but would add that we should all try to support hardworking small businessmen who deliver a reasonable product. Most of what I've found at Fab does not meet the standards of this Southern Californian who lived many years in Chicago, but it's decent, and I stop by when I don't have to make a special effort to satisfy the hot dog yearning. If I can help keep a place going that so many of our Jersey friends seem to love, that's good enough for me.

                                                                1. re: sbritchky

                                                                  Well said... The hard-working owner(s) of Fab's seems to never take a day off, and frankly (pun intended), I want the food that others cook/prepare and that goes into my belly/body to be crafted by people who love to make food and believe in their ability to please their customers. I'll take a B+ dog served with an A+ attitude, over an A+ dog with a B+ attitude any day :-)

                                                              2. I had a day off and decided to try out Fabs. The location is very small, seats maybe eight people max. When I arrived, there were a few customers, but no line to order. After a few minutes of reviewing the menu, I ordered the Bald Eagle (the ripper with mustard relish), a Coney Island Chili Dog and a can of A&W Root Beer. The total was about $8. I was told the Coney Island dog would be served first.

                                                                As I sat and waited for my food, I thoroughly reviewed the menu. The LA Street Dog definitlely looked good, and cheaper ($3.75) then their street cousins ($5). They had many interesting options, but I couldn't wait for my order. After waiting about 5 mins I got the Coney Island dog, the grated cheddar cheese was nice. I really enjoyed the snap in the casing of the hot dog, but the bun left something to be desired. The chili was also pretty mild, but not bad. So it was a decent start.

                                                                The Bald Eagle arrived about ten minutes later. The relish was very interesting looking and had an interesting texture. The flavors were good, celery salt, celery, carrots, mustard, vinegar, etc...The hot dog itself was ok, I expected more of a crunch, maybe I needed to ask for it to be well done. But the overall taste was good.

                                                                If I'm ever in the area I will definitely passby. But for now I will mark if off the "to try" list.