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Hot Dogs in Philly


John
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I'm not familiar with that one. My wife is originally from Elizabeth and remembers the place, although she can't think of the name. After awhile, the name changed from what it was known as for many years to City Hall something or other. She doesn't know if it is still there. Since I live close enough by, I'll take a ride soon and find out.

John the hot dog guy

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I've been asked to review hot dogs for an upcoming piece to be shown on television. It will be filmed within a few weeks. I'll give the details as to when it will be shown as soon as I know. We'll be going to some of New Jersey's finest hot dog establishments. Sort of like a mini hot dog tour. I hope to include some , if not all of these places on a future hot dog tour.

John the hot dog guy

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Dude, a Hot dog run would be awesome!!!

(Where's the panting and salivating smileyface?)

I'd set it up by choosing 3-4 different places from Holly's site.

If we do a Philly run, we gotta include Texas Weiners, one on Syder Ave., to which I directed Holly myself. Totally, totally Twin Peaks à la Sout' Philly atmosphere inside, but the dogs keep you coming back. Plus, there's two different places to go for great espresso coffee and cornete afterwards, literally within 100 feet of TW.

Edited by Furious Flav-or (log)
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  • 5 years later...

Just went to Moe's Hot Dogs last weekend for my first Philly combo dog. For those not in-the-know that means a hot dog cradled in a fishcake which is in turn sitting inside a bun. It turns out to be not as weird as it sounds and is actually a Philly specialty.

Moe's is located in what has been described as "the armpit of Philadelphia," on 25th and Washington. It's a destination to be sure but when you step inside you're greeted by a very friendly and helpful staff, some old fast-food memorabilia along the line of Champ's Cherry signage and a series of old black and white photographs of Philadelphia. There's not a lot of space to sit but the Siemens electrical workers and the construction workers and the cops that all came in while I was there all seemed to be getting along pretty well.

The menu has a lot of choices for being a hot dog joint. There's a Connie Mac dog, named after the legendary player/coach, one that's deep fried, one called the PGW, a Chicago dog and more. I've only tasted the Philly combo so far, but will be back for the rest.

The Philly combo has an oversized Deitz and Watson all-beef frank on top of the fish cakes. The fish cakes are actually potato cakes with a little bit of fish, so they're not too overpowering. The bun is a miniature hoagie roll and barely manages to contain the above. The lady at the counter asked me how I'd like mine; I shrugged and she suggested mustard and onions, which is apparently pretty typical.

Don't forget to get some Champ's Cherry, a Philadelphia tradition, and a bag of Utz potato chips. I have a picture of just this that I'll post shortly.

Hawk Krall, a local illustrator, has been doing a series of specialty hot dog illustrations for Serious Eats that I'm hesitant to link to lest moderators wipe out this post for fear of engendering discussion elsewhere. He's got one of the Philly combo on his site I think. A quick search can find both. Moe's also has a website with full menu.

Here's the list of combo-dog places that Hawk emailed me:

  • APJ Texas Weiners (13th & Arch)
  • Texas Weiner (15th & Snyder)
  • Gus' Cart (5th & South) - just had one yesterday
  • Lenny's (northeast, never been there)
  • Johnny's Hots - Delaware Ave

I tried to hit Lenny's on Sunday but he wasn't there. I went up to Johnny's Hots and it looked all closed up and there was no signage. Anybody have updates on these places?

Edited by mattohara (log)

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matt o'hara

finding philly

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A hot dog and a fish cake in a bun is a philly specialty? Really? Never heard of it in 54 years here. Which may mean I've never been to 25th and Wash. I guess.

Cheesesteaks, sausage and egg breakfast hoagies, roast italian pork sandwich, fried taylor pork roll, hoagies, snapper soup, scrapple, pepperpot is a distinguished list.

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johnny's hots is alive and well, and now open on saturdays.

gfweb, you never went to levis at 6th & south? they had the combo. johnny's hots still does it, as does texas weiner. i've never heard of it anywhere else, but also i've never lived anywhere else.

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If I recall corectly, APJ Hot Dogs at 13th and Arch does the Philly combo, "surf and turf", also.

Johnny's Hots, BTW, is a breakfast and lunch place that closes by 3PM. He properly serves the hot dog fish cake combo with pepper hash, which was the popular condiment at Old Original Levis back in the day for that sandwich. When I get a hot dog fish cake at Johnny's, I get it with mustard , ketchup and pepper hash. Pure heaven.

Rich Pawlak

 

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Texas Wieners @15th & Snyder does a credible Philly Surf & Turf, but the definitive version will always be at the late lamented Levis' Dogs on 6th Street. Good friends of mine used to rent the apartment above Levis' back in the day. They lovingly referred to their abode as "Wienie Manor". :laugh:

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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I like Johnny's Hots. Glad to know they are still active. I've had their surf n' turf and... it's okay. Really, a fishcake just doesn't taste like much. Mostly just starch. I don't really get the point...

I tried Moe's the other day: it's on my way to work, so I picked up a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich for breakfast. I noticed two things: first, the sandwich was good, but when it comes to BE&C, it's not like there's a huge difference between good and OK. I should have just had a hot dog, you know?

The other thing about Moe's was that the counter staff were ridiculously upbeat and happy for 6:30 AM. Good for them!

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johnny's hots is alive and well, and now open on saturdays.

gfweb, you never went to levis at 6th & south? they had the combo. johnny's hots still does it, as does texas weiner. i've never heard of it anywhere else, but also i've never lived anywhere else.

Nope, never went there either. But not for long. The surf and turf sounds so foul it might be good. LOL

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johnny's hots is alive and well, and now open on saturdays.

gfweb, you never went to levis at 6th & south? they had the combo. johnny's hots still does it, as does texas weiner. i've never heard of it anywhere else, but also i've never lived anywhere else.

Nope, never went there either. But not for long. The surf and turf sounds so foul it might be good. LOL

It's not foul at all; really, it's totally inoffensive. I just don't think it tastes like much...

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I like Johnny's Hots. Glad to know they are still active. I've had their surf n' turf and... it's okay. Really, a fishcake just doesn't taste like much. Mostly just starch. I don't really get the point...

I tried Moe's the other day: it's on my way to work, so I picked up a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich for breakfast. I noticed two things: first, the sandwich was good, but when it comes to BE&C, it's not like there's a huge difference between good and OK. I should have just had a hot dog, you know?

The other thing about Moe's was that the counter staff were ridiculously upbeat and happy for 6:30 AM. Good for them!

i think it's the fishcake itself that makes the difference, more than the general concept of the sandwich. the one i had at texas weiners on snyder had a much more strongly flavored one. it wasn't like the fish was bad or something, but more like they made the fishcake out of mackerel or bluefish or something. or threw a couple sardines in with the pollock or whatever they were using. i didn't like it as much...

johnny's hots has a really mild fishcake, that yes, is mostly starch. i think moe's is too, but also moe's hot dogs are so big that the sandwich kinda gets out of control for my tastes.

and they are indeed always ridiculously nice at moe's. i've never been there when they're not, and i've been numerous times.

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Just stopped at APJ Texas Weiners for lunch today. It's just a block west of RTM and has a really interesting dynamic. It's a dingy, tiny diner-feel with aqcouple of short order cooks and waitresses behind a long counter-some sit-down tables in the back. I asked for a Texas-style dog and it took all of 15 seconds for a dog to be taken off the grill and flopped in a potato roll, covered in some brown goopy meat sauce, mustard and raw onions. You really can't beat $1.50 for a dog and a 15-second wait but I didn't love the sauce, which I take it is the reason to get this style.

They also had the fishcake but it wasn't advertised as going with the dog; it was just sitting on the menu all by its lonesome.

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matt o'hara

finding philly

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from Unbreaded, this looks like an amazing dog. Paesano's and a hot dog sandwich! who's game?

Nothing says baseball like a hot dog. So to celebrate the Phillies competing in the World Series, Paesano’s chef/owner Peter McAndrews has created an original hot dog inspired by the traditional ballpark fare, but with a “Philly Style” upgrade. Starting with a beef hot dog with kraut and brown mustard, the dog is paired with scrapple, sharp provolone, long hots, onions, tomatoes and a fried egg. Chef McAndrews is still playing around with the recipe, trying out little improvements to get it just right.

Known for now as “The Phanatic”, Paesano’s is soliciting name ideas from all of their customers. Just stop in, try one, and suggest a name for the permanent menu. A name will be selected at the conclusion of the World Series and the winner will earn a free sandwich at Paesano’s once a week for a year. Once you’ve submitted your name, leave it for us in the comments!

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matt o'hara

finding philly

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It's probably a bias for my native North Jersey (even though I've been living in Philadelphia for 30 years), but the dogs served locally mostly leave me.

As for surf 'n turf, I've just never gotten it. Cute name, interesting idea, but unappealing when eaten.

A far, far better combination is the Italian hot dog from North Jersey: served on a half-moon Italian round bread, two natural-casing beef dogs (from Best Provisions of Newark), peppers, onions and potatoes, all fried in the same fryer (not the bread, just what's put inside).

I went to Levis a number of times when I first came to town, and it was certainly a decent dog, especially when accompanied by Champ Cherry. But it didn't blow my socks off.

The addition of pepper hash as a topping is probably Philadelphia's finest contribution to hot-doggery, though I've still got a passion for the basic hot works: mustard, hot relish and kraut.

I will definitely get to Moe's, if only for the ambiance! I've tried Johnny Hots on any number of occasions, and it's a fun stop on Delaware Ave, but the hot dog just leaves me.

I know some folks will say that hot dogs are really about the topping (just ask any Chicagoan), but I'm convinced you've got to start with a decent dog. This is where most Philadelphia vendors fall way, way short. All too many use Hatfield, which is awful, or skinless franks, which are an abomination and a sin.

The quality of the dogs made in the region is another matter; some are excellent. The German-style dogs are at the head of the class, and the Dietz & Watson natural casing all-beefs, while falling shy of superb, are pretty darned good. Still, I make one or two trips a year to Newark to buy Best Provision's five- and eight-to-a-pound all-beef natural casing franks. The five-to-a-pound version are what Syd's served for 60 years before going out of business.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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As for surf 'n turf, I've just never gotten it. Cute name, interesting idea, but unappealing when eaten.

A far, far better combination is the Italian hot dog from North Jersey: served on a half-moon Italian round bread, two natural-casing beef dogs (from Best Provisions of Newark), peppers, onions and potatoes, all fried in the same fryer (not the bread, just what's put inside).

Bob, I must agree with you. I have never gotten the idea of a hot dog and fish cake combo. I tried one at Johnny Hots when visiting my daughter who was working on Delaware Ave but was underwhelmed. The Italian Hot Dog in my view, is the perfect combination of potatoes, peppers and a great hot dog all smothered in mustard on a good torpedo roll.

Edited by Jeff L (log)
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I am psyched to try these Jersey dogs. Any dog that's a friend of Bob's is a dog that's a friend of mine, or something.

As promised...

Wit Utz and Champ Cherry

4061911731_2d5d0aa4d4.jpg

Closeup

4062657404_be8701cbd7.jpg

Ye Olde Anthropomorphique Foodstuffe

4062656154_18bc987f4f.jpg

Exterior

4062655978_34c633604c.jpg

Hosterior and Menu

4061910843_e6fbe5201a_b.jpg

Just for fun, a Chicago-style dog I stumbled upon in O'Hare

3942304557_37df20e121.jpg

Edited by mattohara (log)

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matt o'hara

finding philly

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I plan on making a day trip to Philly soon. What a dilemma; do I sample cheesesteaks or hot dogs? Or a little of both? I only have so much room. My favorite thing to eat is an Italian Hot Dog. I wonder how much of what we like is tied in to what we were/are exposed to? My guess is a lot. I run a hot dog tour every year and I always look for reactions from people who try a Newark style Italian Hot Dog for the first time. It is mixed. Maybe some things are an aquired taste. I didn't really like Chicago dogs until I started eating them frequently at a place that opened near me. The owner was from Chicago and served an authentic one. Still not my favorite style as I prefer a quality hot dog with just mustard most of the time. Once in a while chili, or the unique relish from Rutt's Hut. The Italian Hot Dog is a sandwich and a meal rather than just a hot dog.

I like pepper hash and think that I would enjoy it on a hot dog. Dietz and Watson makes a good beef dog and a good beef/pork dog. Did you know that the Black Bear brand in Shop Rite is really Dietz and Watson? Same recipe and everything.

I agree that Hatfiled is horrible, but a few years ago they started making a beef dog to compete with Sabrett and Best's. It's called Hatfield's New York style dog. It's only sold at Restaurant Depots and other food warehouses. You can't get it in stores or supermarkets. A place on the last Jersey Hot Dog Tour grilled this particular dog (all beef, natural casing 8 to a lb) and was the overwhelming favorite stop on the Tour. This particular dog has a good beefy, spicy flavor. It's smokey as well. Just a great dog. I heard a few years ago that you couldn't get this dog in Philly, but I think that may have changed.

John the hot dog guy

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I plan on making a day trip to Philly soon. What a dilemma; do I sample cheesesteaks or hot dogs? Or a little of both? I only have so much room. My favorite thing to eat is an Italian Hot Dog.

John, you already have arguably the best Italian Hot Dogs where you live so my suggestion would be to try neither the hot dog nor the cheesesteak but go for the roast pork italian sandwich instead. Many here will agree that when made properly this sandwich can be trancendent. Either Tony Luke's on Oregon Avenue or Johns Roast Pork on Snider Avenue, both in South Philly. If you must have a cheesesteak, Tony Luke's is as good as they come.

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John - if you need a guide or an eating partner... My suggestion, cheesesteaks and pork sandwiches can wait. You're the man when it comes to hot dogs and you need to include Philadelphia styles within your knowledge base.

For a hot dog with pepper hash - I think the hot dog truck at 25th and Passyunk does it best, though someone told me Mike hasn't been around for a while. My favorite for a hot dog with fish cake - Johnny Hots down on Delaware Avenue. Tony Luke's does a good Texas Tommy with bacon and cheeze whiz and Paesano's has created a dog wrapped in soppressata and topped with bolognese sauce. For hot dog tradition, Texas Wieners on Passyunk or APJ Texas Wieners on 13th near Reading Terminal. For something new, a Turkish Hot Dog from Cafe Fulya on South 2nd Street - a Turkish blend dog with Russian salad (chopped vegetables in mayonnaise), cornichon pickles and tomato sauce on a custom roll. And since I recall you have a fondness for char-broiled hot dogs, Nick's Charcoal Pit.

Philadelphia isn't North Jersey - but we've got some good dogs here. Most frustrating void - Italian hot dogs. No one is even attempting them.

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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