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Jimmy Buff's Italian dog. I don't get it.

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So I finally got around to trying Jimmy Buff's famous Italian dog...and what a disappointment! I just did NOT get it.

Can someone explain the appeal of this "dog" to me? I mean, between the enormous bread and potato, I couldn't even find the hot dog in there. In a hot dog you should be getting SOME dog in every bite - in this one I had to go through 2-3 bites of potato/bread before getting to the dog portion. And when I got there the tiny, pathetic hot dog was pretty much completely overwhelmed by the rest of the fixins.

I know this is an institution and I'm not trying to trash it - but I just don't get it! What am I missing? Did I order it the wrong way? Also, 7 bucks for a bunch of bread and potato? C'mon...I felt robbed.

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  1. Try Charlie's Italian dog in Kenilworth. Those potatoes are to die for!

    1. get a "double dog" next time ...!

      but, I do hear you, joon joon, as sometimes I do find Italian hot dog rolls too "bready"...

      8 Replies
      1. re: ellen4441

        Hate to be a food snob, but why would anyone who enjoys food want a hot dog? I know we can't eat lobster, steak and at the finest restaurants every meal. And there is always a time to pig out on burgers, pizza, fried chicken, etc. But hot dogs are not a food where I expect to be pleasantly surprised with enjoyment. Maybe it's just me. Not to be harsh, everyone has guilty pleasures. P.S. : I don't get oversized corned beef and pastrami sandwiches, either.

        1. re: scarlet knight

          Then try harder, scarlet knight (smirk)! Don't dismiss some amazing local street food and legendary food stops in our state w/out a try.

          The last time hubby & I stopped at Charlie's in Kenilworth one Italian dog was a bit much for even the two of us (when we were dating, we could polish off two easily) but we took the leftovers home and reheated the next day. Still delicious. I agree that Jimmy's has changed over the many years but the place has an earned following. Wax nostalgic.
          The same can be said of popular pizza joints. NJ takes enough hits w/out residents slamming the food scene without actually tasting it first.

          1. re: scarlet knight

            Do you like other types of sausage?

            1. re: scarlet knight

              You've clearly never had a good hot dog.

              1. re: joonjoon

                ....or a good Corned Beef or Pastrami sandwich either.

                :0)

              2. re: scarlet knight

                you must go to newcastle pa and order a good chili dog (chili means a greek style meaty seasoning... no beans). we got a thread running over a hundred entries on "how do i make that sauce"?

                1. re: scarlet knight

                  You obviously didn't learn your dining habits at Fat Trucks, Scarlet Knight, born in 1767.
                  I'm not a big fan of Jimmy Buff's either. The toppings are too hard to see.
                  Mr. McGoo

                2. re: ellen4441

                  Hey Ellen, a double definitely would've helped, and a triple would be just right IMO. I'm guessing I'd have a really hard time finishing a triple italian though!

                  I like my dogs a many different ways - kraut, onions, chilli, cheese, mustard, curry/ketchup, and so on, but I don't think "extra bread and potatoes" will ever make my toppings list. Heheh :)

                3. Thanks for the honesty Joonjoon. I stopped at J.B.'s in Scotch Plains about 6 months ago after driving by for 16 years. I took a couple of bites and ended up tossing the rest. I love hotdogs and sausages, I love potatoes in any way shape or form and I certainly like bread, but this had to be the greasiest and most tasteless conglomeration of those ingredients I've tasted. I had read so much about them that I had to try, but what a disappointment.

                  1. jj,

                    Which location did you go to? By all accounts and opined by (hotdoglover), East Hanover is the best location and Kenilworth, although owned by a family member, is very inconsistent.

                    For the record, I agree with you. The Pizza Bread, Potatoes and Peppers are better suited with Italian Sausage....

                    13 Replies
                    1. re: fourunder

                      I'm not knocking anyone who likes hot dogs. I just don't think that they are made of things that strike me as good food and I don't think that they taste good, either.Their appeal eludes me.

                      I could see where a sausage with interesting herbs, flavors or fruit would be an improvement over a hot dog.

                      1. re: scarlet knight

                        de gustibus non est disputandum

                        Just about every single one of the millions of discussions all over the internet could have a post like yours. But that would be ridiculous. It's pointless.

                        Regarding hot dogs being made of "good food," again, do you not like any of the hundreds of varieties of sausages, pates, terrines, etc, that are and have been produced all over the world for centuries? If the answer is "no," there's no point in wondering. If the answer is "yes," perhaps it's time to rethink this particular sausage, with respect to the "good food" aspect.

                        1. re: scarlet knight

                          I have to admit, I do enjoy hot dogs on occasion. I purchase only what I perceive to be a quality hot dog, either Thumann's brand beef and pork, or something from a quality European Butcher like Kocher's or Piast.. As for enjoying hot dogs at stands.....I prefer to go to Rutt's Hut over Jimmy Buff's. I think their hot dog is the perfect platform for their house cabbage relish. The same for Johnny & Hanges and with their hot pepper relish....and the Hot Grill for their Texas Weiners.

                          http://www.kochers.com/

                          http://www.piast.com/

                          1. re: fourunder

                            I had that J&H hot pepper relish for the first time not too long ago. Yowza! Pretty good relish.

                            1. re: tommy

                              Isn't it nice when we sometimes agree....

                              :0)

                              1. re: fourunder

                                I always get a little scared when the two of you start posting on the same thread...lol. I guess I need to try some of this hot pepper relish...where/what is Johnny & Hanges?

                                -----
                                Johnny & Hanges
                                23-20 Maple Ave, Fair Lawn, NJ 07410

                                1. re: joonjoon

                                  http://johnnyandhanges.com/

                                  Fair Lawn.....just off 208 across from the Toyota Dealership and Nabisco

                          2. re: scarlet knight

                            SK, have you ever tried a Best's all-beef on the grill? Or for that matter, a Hebrew National? Seriously delicious hot dogs, imo. If I'm going to eat one, it's one of those, but in my quickly advancing age, I'm far more interested in good sausages!

                            1. re: Curlz

                              I'm also pretty partial to Hewbrew National....and I'm not sure why she thinks it's not made of "good food"...it's basically just beef and seasoning.

                              1. re: joonjoon

                                It's the notion that they're made from parts most people would throw away. Of course, people who have a passion for food often know those are the best parts.

                                1. re: tommy

                                  Gee, I think I'd prefer a good hot dog to a Taco Bell! Lol!

                          3. re: fourunder

                            I went to the East Hanover location, btw.

                            1. re: fourunder

                              kudos to the East Hanover location of Jimmy Buff's !!
                              Yes, it IS owned by a family member, the grandson of the original Jimmy Buff !!
                              (James Raccaipo ).....

                              The last time I was there was in September, as part of a NJ Hot Dog Tour !!! (via Roadfood.com) . James always treats us like gold ...!

                              I DO hear you about the "breadiness" of the bread, however,....
                              as the last few years, I am finding myself liking the Italian hot dog bread more my type at Frankly Burgers & More in Freehold....
                              not as bready.....

                              And I LOVE fried potatoes on hot dogs ! Guess it's a Jersey thing, lol !!!
                              fried potatoes , onions & peppers !!

                            2. 7 bucks for a bunch of bread and potato? C'mon...I felt robbed.
                              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                              I seem to recall I ordered a double, waffle fries and a soft drink....plus a couple of dollars for a tip and it was $14-15 bucks......I felt I could have gone to a Pub and gotten something more substantial along with a beer to boot.

                              1. For the past 10 years or so, I've been ordering "triples" instead of doubles when it comes to Italian hot dogs,....I do agree with joon-joon that the dogs are now miniscule IMO.....what is a triple today in quantity, was a double years ago......so I pay an extra dollar for the extra dog...

                                1. Some people get it and some don't. An Italian hot dog is more than "just a hot dog", It is the combination of everything that makes it what it is. The hot dog is not the star of the show the way it is with most hot dog joints, it's just one of the actors on stage.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: briansnat

                                    Agreed, and the best I've had is Charlie's in Kenilworth. The potatoes are awesome.

                                    1. re: menton1

                                      I'm a Dicky Dee's guy.

                                      1. re: bifpocaroba

                                        I love Dicky Dee's , too !!

                                  2. Idont get it. This is about Italian hot dogs and people who like them. Why would anyone else bother to read or write if you dont like the (club). I suggest the contrarians get a LIFE

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: santam

                                      No, it's not about Italian hot dogs and people who like them. It (assuming you're referring to this thread) is more about how people don't understand the product, as evidenced in the title of the thread: "I don't get it."

                                      Regarding the life, mine's pretty good already. Thanks.

                                      1. re: tommy

                                        Oh yeah, life without Italian Hot Dogs is unspeakable, lol.

                                        Still cast my vote for Charlie's in Kenilworth. Flies off the radar somehow, but it has great bread, great dog, and wonderful potatoes.

                                        I think John, the hot dog lover, also like's Charlie's, so I'm in good company.

                                    2. I love a good hot dog.
                                      I like Italian Hot Dogs. The 'breadiness' actually doesn't bother me because I prefer the dog to be on a decent roll or good bread rather than the pedestrian soft "white bread" rolls that are used so often for hot dogs. Personally, I think that the type of lightly crusty rolls used at Hallo Berlin in NYC for their various sausages and franks make the perfect hot dog roll).

                                      As far as Jimmy Buff's goes, they may call theirs 'the original', but you can get a better one just about anywhere else. They are far from the best. Maybe if they'd once in a while change the rancid fat that their flabby and greasy potatoes are fried in they might have something worthwhile.
                                      But as it stands, there are plenty of places to get a better Italian Hot Dog. Some give the option of swapping out the hot dog for a link of good Italian sausage...a nice change sometimes.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: The Professor

                                        Rancid oil aside.....doesn't JB's offer the Italian Sausage Sandwich prepared in the same style alone or in combination with the hot dog?