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John

Syd's R.I.P.

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Syd's luncheonette, serving the famous Syd's hot dog is no longer operational. That's the word from Arie Niederman, father of Eric Niederman, who owned Syd's. As many of you know, Syd's lease was not renewed at the Millburn Mall in Union. Eric moved into an existing diner called Tony's Place. The sign on the building said Syd's at Tony's Place. Eric left to persue other interests and Tony's Place is no longer opened. Their phone has been disconnected as well. So it looks like the end of an era. Here is a brief history of Syd's up until it was sold to the Niederman's in 2003: http://www.virtualnewarknj.com/memories/we.../bodiansyds.htm

To many, myself included, Syd's served the best hot dog around. It was a long, thin 5 to a lb natural casing all beef dog from Best's Provisions in Newark. You had a choice of getting it boiled or grilled. Grilled was actually boiled first and then finished off on a gas grill. The charbroiled Syd's dog was named best dog in 1998, the first year of the Star Ledger's Munchmobile series. Twelve of the most popular hot dog establishments were visited with Syd's being named the best. It was this article that sparked my interest in hot dogs. I had never heard of Syd's until I read about them in the Star Ledger's Munchmobile even though I live in Union. I went to Syd's and loved their dogs. I've been enjoying them ever since, not only at Syd's, but in the comfort of my own home as I buy the same dogs directly from the factory and prepare them the same way. This past year, I was a member of a team that reviewed hot dogs all summer for the Munchmobile. Called the S.W.A.T. Team, we went to 87 places and reviewed over 100 hot dogs in 5 categories. Syd's was picked as best in it's category of grilled hot dog. In an informal poll of S.W.A.T. members, Syd's was picked as best overall dog by 5 out of 8 members.

Syd's was not only popular for hot dogs, but for their other food as well. It was a classic old time luncheonette. Everything was extraordinary. Although I had hot dogs almost all of the time, I did enjoy their hamburgers, reuben sandwiches, and shakes. Their homemade, hand cut twice fried fries were among the best I've had. Also famous were their cucamongas (sp?) a grape drink with a touch of lemon.

Syd's will be missed. If you loved their hot dogs like I did, let me suggest the one place where you can get the closest thing to a Syd's dog. In fact, it is a Syd's dog, only you can't call it that because the Niederman's still own the Syd's name. This dog can be found at Jimmy Buff's in East Hanover. I only discovered this dog in January. It is the exact dog that was served at Syd's. Only it is prepared a little different. It is sauteed in oil and then finished off on a real charcoal grill rather than a gas grill like Syd's. It may sound blasphemous, but I like this dog better than Syd's. The method of preparation really brings out the flavor and spices in this dog. It is juicy and delicious while still retaining the excellent snap. If you prefer this dog boiled (as some at Syd's did) or boiled and grilled the way most Syd's customers enjoyed their dog, you can request it that way when you place your order.

I'm sorry that Syd's is no longer with us. But at Jimmy Buff's in East Hanover, you can enjoy the same great dog. In my opinion, there is none better.


John the hot dog guy

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I GRIEVE!

But I also rejoice. As restaurants go, Syd's had an incredibly long run (more than 60 yearsunder a number of ownerships and locations).

John, will Best continue to make the five-to-a-pound natural casing dogs? I would hope so, since Jimmy Buffs uses them.


Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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Bob,

They should continue to make them. Jimmy Buffs uses them, and I'm sure others may consider doing so. Some years back Don's in Livingston closed. They used Best 4 to a lb which is shorter and fatter than the Syd's 5. Best was going to stop making them, but since so many of Don's customers went to the plant and requested them, they continued to make them. Now there are several hot dog establishments that use the Best 4 to a lb. I'm one of many who go to Best's and buy the Syd's dog to prepare at home. So I'm sure they will continue to make them, but I'll call to find out.


John the hot dog guy

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I spoke with the plant manager at Best. They will continue to make the dogs. Jimmy Buffs uses them as do many walk in customers. I was told that there are distributors and wholesalers who also purchase them.


John the hot dog guy

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I spoke with the plant manager at Best. They will continue to make the dogs. Jimmy Buffs uses them as do many walk in customers. I was told that there are distributors and wholesalers who also purchase them.

how do you go about ordering the "syd's" hot dogs from best? do you need to call ahead? can you just go there? how much do you need to order when you do order them? what are the specifications of those particular hot dogs?

sorry for so many questions. thanks.

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To get Syd's hot dogs, just go to the factory on Avon Ave. and Jeliff St. I think once or twice in 9 years they didn't have them when I went, so depending on how far you're travelling, you might want to call to make sure they have them. Years ago, you could order as little as a pound (5 hot dogs). After 3 people died from lysteria poisoning eating tainted Sabrett hot dogs, a law was passed that hot dogs purchased from the factory had to wrapped in cryovac or otherwised sealed.

The Syd's dogs as well as the other sizes available are sold in 2 lb or 5 lb packages. The dog served at Syd's was a 5 to a lb natural casing all beef dog. Just ask for the Syd's dog. And if you want to enjoy your dogs like Syd's prepared them, simmer (or boil) in water, then finish them off on a gas or charcoal grill.


John the hot dog guy

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To get Syd's hot dogs, just go to the factory on Avon Ave. and Jeliff St. I think once or twice in 9 years they didn't have them when I went, so depending on how far you're travelling, you might want to call to make sure they have them. Years ago, you could order as little as a pound (5 hot dogs). After 3 people died from lysteria poisoning eating tainted Sabrett hot dogs, a law was passed that hot dogs purchased from the factory had to wrapped in cryovac or otherwised sealed.

The Syd's dogs as well as the other sizes available are sold in 2 lb or 5 lb packages. The dog served at Syd's was a 5 to a lb natural casing all beef dog. Just ask for the Syd's dog. And if you want to enjoy your dogs like Syd's prepared them, simmer (or boil) in water, then finish them off on a gas or charcoal grill.

thank you. this was very helpful!

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Does anyone know the hours that the Best Factory shop is open?

Thanks

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They open at 6:00 in the morning and close at 4 or 5. On Saturday they close at 1. Closed Sundays. They also sell other beef products including hamburgers, roast beef, corned beef, pastrami, beef bacon, spicy sausage, and a few others. These are top quality. In fact, the roast beef and corned beef (and maybe the pastrami) sold at Wegmans under their own label is from Best.


John the hot dog guy

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There is a restaurant that recently began serving the Syd's dog. That makes 2 places that I know of. One is Jimmy Buff's East Hanover location, which has been serving this dog for a few years now. There is no better beef dog. At Syd's, you had the choice of getting your dog boiled or grilled. Grilled was boiled fisrt, then finished off on a gas grill similar to a backyard grill. Not a griddle. At Buff's, the dogs are sauteed in oil first, then finished off on a real charcoal grill.

Seymour's Luncheonette is a small establishment located at 567 S. Livingston Avenue in Livingston. I didn't ask when they opened, but it looks like they have been around for a long time. Long counter with old style stools that come up from the ground. They serve breakfast and lunch. Lunch items include hot dogs, hamburgers, fries, salads, fish, chicken or shrimp platters, club sandwiches, and hot sandwiches from the grill including reubens and cheesesteaks. I came for the hot dog.

They just started using the 5 to a lb Best's natural casing dog that was famous at Syd's. In fact, on the chalkboard menu, it's listed as the Syd's dog and goes for $3.25, same as Syd's prior to moving out of their old location. Here you have a choice of your dog being either deep fried or grilled. I chose grilled. They split the dog lengthwise and put it on a griddle. For those of you that have had a hot dog at 5 Guys, this is the way that they are prepared there, only they use a Hebrew National skinless frank.

My dog was served with a pickle slice. They asked what I wanted on it, and I chose mustard, which is Guldens brown out of a plastic jar. They also offer sauerkraut. I didn't ask about other choices. The dog was excellent as I expected. The griddle imparts a different texture and slightly different flavor to the dog. It had a nice little crusty char due to being sliced open and grilled on both sides. A little bit of grease from the griddle. Some may prefer this method of preparation to boiling, deep frying, or char grilling. Depends on your taste. I would have had one deep fried as well, but I had other places to go. Best's makes my favorite beef dog and I especially like the size of the long 5 to a lb (Syd's) dog. I loved it at Syd's, I love it at Jimmy Buff''s, and I love it at Seymours. I think most of the time I prefer this dog on a grill rather than griddle. But the griddle is a great option and change of pace. Best dogs taste great any way they're prepared. Although they don't use the 5 to a lb dog, Jerry's Famous Frankfurters in Elizabeth uses the Best 8 to a lb natural casing frank and prepares it a unique way. Boiled then left in a steel compartment (like a griddle) for a few minutes to add a little crunch.

All of these places serve my favorite beef dog, but in a slightly different way. All are worth trying. I'm glad I found Seymour's.


John the hot dog guy

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Seymour's has been around for decades at the least! Hopefully a few folks who grew up in the Livingston area can tell us exactly how long...


"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

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My first job out of school was at B'nai Jeshurun on South Orange Avenue - "just around the corner" from Seymour's. We used to go there for lunch or get take out and that was in 1969. They were well established at that time.

Marie


NJDuchess

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Seymour's is on it's 3rd incarnation. Originally owned by Seymour (Schramm I think his last name is); Lou Bucca bought it from Seymour. Lou owned it for years and sold it to a guy named Gary a year or 2 ago (Don't know his last name) He previously was a counterman at Livingston Bagel for 15 years. Gary has introduced some new menu items. But Seymour's has been a go to place for years. It's got a very interesting vibe to it, and the food is solid...nothing fancy but it works.

Tragically Lou Bucca took his own life a few months ago.

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