- Cost: $
- Credit Cards: No
- Alcohol: None
- Parking: Private Lot
- Take Out: Yes
August 31, 2013
Toby’s Cup is a one-of-a-kind Jersey roadside hot dog stand worth visiting for its unique charms and deep fried dogs.
Nestled precariously alongside Route 22 West (Memorial Parkway) outside Phillipsburg, NJ, just before you hit the Delaware River and Easton, Pennsylvania, is a ramshackle, aqua-colored food shack adorned with a large hot dog sign, a strange red orb with multicolored lights, and a creepy painted clown face. This is Toby’s Cup, where James Nicnick has been running the show for thirty years. His father opened the joint in 1946. I suggest entering the tiny parking lot from the local road (2nd Street), or risk getting rear-ended on Route 22 trying to turn into the lot. I wanted to stop the first few times I noticed this curious place, but Toby’s Cup passed too quickly on the highway.
There is usually a line out the door. Wait on line. Enter the small counter area (about six adults can fit inside) and form a line on the left. Try to glimpse the menu over James’ head. There’s really no need, however, since you’ll want a hot dog, or ten, as the guy in front of me ordered. The hot dogs here are deep fried and served with mustard, chopped onions and dill pickle (“everything”). Sauerkraut, chili and ketchup (God knows why?) are also available. Place your order at the front, step to the right, and pay when James calls out your order. Toby’s Cup is cash only. A meal here will not break the bank – dogs are $1.10 a piece. Head outside to enjoy your hot dogs at one of the two picnic tables in the parking lot, or in your car.
The deep fried hot dogs are very good, with a nicely wrinkled skin and snap, but not as well done as those at Rutt’s Hut. With a shout out to Chicago dogs, I like the dill pickle slices for the vinegary tang. Another worthy option at Toby’s Cup is the popular cheesesteak, chopped, not too heavy on the melted yellow cheese, with an onion relish and hot cherry peppers. The menu includes pork roll, BTW. If your waistline can take it, order one of the excellent thick milkshakes – vanilla, chocolate or “black and white.”
Who Toby was, is a mystery. You can interrogate James while he fries dogs and works the counter, but he is stingy with information. When I asked if I could take some pictures of the operation, he smiled and said, “Sure, but I’m in the witness protection program.”
With Hot Dog Johnny’s further north in Buttzville, Warren County is the hot dog hotbed of Western Jersey.