FANWOOD, NJ -- The 16th annual Hot Dog Nation Tour of New Jersey stopped at six locations that serve some of the best hot dogs in the state, including the Fanwood Grille (34 South Martine Ave.), where the “tourists” met boxing legend -- and Fanwood resident -- Gerry Cooney, who stopped in for lunch to celebrate his birthday.on Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019.
Nearly 100 “hot dog tourists” who traveled on two luxury motor coaches descended on the Fanwood Grille (34 South Martine Ave., Fanwood), the second stop on the 2019 tour. Among them were John Fox, one of the country's top hot dog experts, and Steve Keiner, the 1999 winner of the annual Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island.
"It's great to be back here. We had such a great time last year and the hot dogs were good," said John Fox of the annual Hot Dog Nation tour. "We always rotate between old favorites and new favorites. This is a new favorite. We enjoy the food and the service is great here."
"Fanwood Grille was one of the highlights of last year's tour. It's very rare that we go back to the same spot two years in a row," added co-organizer Erwin "Benzie" Benz. "The food, the hospitality... it's just a great spot.
The 2019 Hot Dog Nation Tour of New Jersey itinerary included the following places.
1) Galloping Hill Inn, Union. It’s the only stop that has been on every tour. "The dog is a very good German style beef and pork frank made from a recipe from Gaiser's Pork Store and prepared on a griddle," according to John Fox.
2) Fanwood Grille, Fanwood. The dogs are quarter pound Schickhaus, same as Max's in Long Branch, and feature homemade toppings, including the fire and ice hot dog -- hot onions (fire), and candied bacon (ice). Fanwood Grille also has award-winning soups, empanadas, cheesesteaks, (my favorite), burgers, lobster rolls and pulled pork.
3) Hot Dog Hut, Colonia. A new stop for the tour, Hot Dog Hut is a truck located in a spot that has had many trucks over the last 50 plus years. It serves the classic New York/New Jersey dirty water dog. "The Hut has been in this spot a few years and serves a tasty, hot, natural casing all beef Sabrett at a decent size," Fox said.
4) Manny's Texas Weiners, Union. "An old favorite that serves a classic Plainfield area Texas Weiner using the Grote & Weigel Texan brand beef and pork frank prepared on a griddle and topped with their thick, dry, spicy chili," Fox said.
5) Pastrami and Pickles, Roselle Park. Open less than two years, Pastrami and Pickles has already gained a reputation as one of the best Jewish delis in the area, according to Fox. They serve a kosher jumbo Hebrew National frank.
6) Bayway Diner, Linden. The Bayway Diner has the distinction of being the very first establishment on Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives.