Cheap Eats: Hot Dogs

Here in the Garden State, we love our hot dogs. Find out where to find the best dogs at the best prices.

Cool Dog Cafe in Cherry Hill
Photo by David Michael Howarth.

Cool Dog Café
(Cherry Hill) When Ira Guttman grew up in Newark in the 1950s, hot dogs were his family’s favorite food. Tempering nostalgia with creativity, Guttman opened Cool Dog in 2011, and now deep fries all-beef Sabretts, topping them with things like Thai peanut sauce, guacamole and Fritos ($3-$5.75). The Chicago ($4.50) ladles on relish, mustard, onions, tomatoes, pickle, peppers and celery salt. For dessert, his Gadzooks slathers peanut butter, whipped cream, warm brownie pieces and chocolate and caramel sauces over a deep-fried dog on a potato roll ($4.50). If those aren’t outlandish enough, design your own. 2091 Marlton Pike E, 856-424-0400,—TN

Hiram’s Roadstand
(Fort Lee) For an extra 25 cents, Pete Dimiris and Jeff Escudero’s mouth-tingling chili is well worth adding to Hiram’s revered deep-fried dogs ($3) on toasted buns. They took over the ramshackle, 81-year-old, cash-only institution in 2002. “I can’t eat a hot dog any place than this,” said Steven Noriega, 19, of West New York, recently sharing counter space with a customer who recalled when the dogs cost 35 cents and a gallon of gas was about the same. 1345 Palisade Ave, 201-592-9602—MACF

Hot Dog Tommy’s
(Cape May) Tom Snyder is the funny guy in the hot-dog hat. His wife, Mary, makes the frisky fixins, like the chili for the Chili Cheese Dog with shredded cheddar ($3.75) and the cranberry cole slaw for the Jersey Slaw Dog ($3.40). Those prices are for the BAD puppy—the Black Angus Dog, all-beef and larger than their beef/pork weiner. The only hard part is waiting till they reopen in May. Jackson St at Beach Ave, 609-884-8388,—EL

Maui’s Dog House
(North Wildwood) The dogs—29 varieties—are made in-house from Maui’s own blend of beef, pork and veal, and are served in dog bowls. A Naked is $3.50; a Drunk (beer-infused sauerkraut and “killer horsey mustard”) $4; a Cardiac (bacon, cheddar) $4.75; a Forget-About-It (spicy chili, raw onion, spicy mustard, bacon and melted cheddar) $5. A $3.50 order of Salty Balls—small, round potatoes cooked in spicy brine, to be dipped in drawn butter—is essential. Damaged by Sandy, Maui’s vows to be back by spring. 8th and New Jersey avenues, 609-846-0444,—RS

The Windmill
(Nine Locations) Windmill CEO Rena Levine Levy would have blown a gasket had any other customer spun behind the counter to work the grill. But when Bruce Springsteen did it at the original Long Branch location (with the Windmill on the roof) a decade or so ago…well, she took it as a compliment. You don’t have to be rock royalty to crave Windmill’s quarter-pound, beef-and-pork dogs in their snappy natural casings ($4.39) or its French fries ($3.19), a long-time favorite of NJM readers.—EL

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