Italian Hot Dogs at Jimmy Buff’s
The first time I ever had an Italian hot dog, it was sometime BHDB (before hot dog blog). I was probably still in college at Rutgers University, so probably sometime in the late 90’s. Occasionally I would take a drive towards the town of Menlo Park on Rt. 1, and would always pass by a little shack on the side of the road that looked like some kind of diner. I decided to stop in one day, and sat down at one of about 6 stools. The name of the place escapes me, and I heard it’s no longer there, but I will not forget my first time with the Italian dog. A giant bun stuffed with 2 dogs, peppers and onions, and fried potatoes. Genius! And for some reason, I never got another one until this past weekend at Jimmy Buff’s in Randolph NJ.
There’s not much more I can add about this great purveyor of the Italian hot dog that isn’t already all over the internets. In fact, enjoy this video about Jimmy Buff’s from the Travel Channel.
We visited our friends Mo and Adam in NJ this Labor Day weekend. And as any weenie wonk worth their salt would do, I did some research into what possible hot dog joints might be within a 20 minute radius. And since we were in northern NJ, I knew there would be a great opportunity for an awesome lunch. As luck would have it, Jimmy Buff’s was about a 10 minute drive up the road. We pulled into the parking lot, and if you are a golfer, then this is the place for you. After grabbing a double Italian combo, you can walk right over and hit some balls on the attached driving range!
A lot has been written about Jimmy Buff’s, and you can read a lot of these articles on the walls while you eat. For some reason, I’m the only one that got a hot dog. Ali, as usual, got a grilled chicken sandwich. So did Mo. Adam got a cheesesteak done up Grandpa Buff’s style, which means that the fried potato slices were added. I opted for a single Italian hot dog.
As you can see, this looks delicious. And I encourage you to go to one of their locations in West Orange, Kenilworth, or Randolph to curb your jealousy. When you get the double, they stuff the 2 dogs in half of loaf of the soft, chewy pizza bread, but only a quarter loaf is needed for the single. Everything in the sandwich is fried in cholesterol free soybean oil. I don’t think this exactly lowered my cholesterol level, but I’m sure my doctor will excuse it.
When I watch food shows, it seems a little scripted when the owner walks around to the tables asking how the food is. But Tommy Racioppi, who I believe is the great-grandson of the original Jimmy, went around to every table to say hello. Adam felt it prudent to announce I write about hot dogs, and I ended up being bestest friends with Tommy. Ok, not really but he sounded interested in what we do and was game for a picture together. He then reciprocated and took a picture of our table. If you check out their Facebook page, fans from all over the US head to Jimmy Buff’s for an authentic Italian dog. We also got stuffed and had a great time. And I think Mo and Adam are cool with knowing why I will really come to see them!
Jimmy Buff’s 1594 Sussex Turnpike at Rt. 10 East, Randolph NJ