West Orange, NJ 07052
- Cost: $
- Alcohol: None
- Parking: Private Lot
- Take Out: Yes
March 20, 2011
Update (Jan 2013)
The East Hanover and Scotch Plains locations have closed. There are currently only two Jimmy Buff’s in Jersey – in West Orange and Kenilworth (around the corner from Charlie’s Famous Italian Hot Dogs).
As soon as hot dogs became an EthnicNJ.com food category, Jimmy Buff’s was at the top of my list of places to try. You can’t live in North Jersey without hearing the name. Considered one of Jersey’s best hot dogs by many Jersey dog connoisseurs (“The Italian Hot Dog made here is one of the 3 best in N.J. therefore the world.,” according to John Fox, aka Chowhound’s hotdoglover ), Jimmy Buff’s has been around since opening in Newark in 1932. The West Orange stand is a classic spot to try an Italian Hot Dog.
The tiny stand – about the size of a small Dairy Queen – is not really for dining in, with four formica tables next to the counter. Order your dog standing at the counter and you can watch exactly how an Italian Dog (single or double) is constructed.
The base is a rounded wedge of soft, pizza-dough-ish bread, smeared with mustard. One or two caseless hot dogs – fried then charbroiled – are placed at the bottom of a large heap of fried onions, peppers and sliced potatoes. The dogs, when you get to them, have an excellent salty tang. I’m sure much of the flavor comes from frying the dogs together with the potatoes, onions and peppers in one slanted vat of boiling oil. It’s impossible to get to take a bite with a normal-sized mouth, but if you remove some potatoes with the plastic fork provided, and squeeze real hard, the Italian hot dog is an indulgent carb festival of flavor.