• Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

  • product-image-quickten.png.a40203b506711f7664fc62024e54a584.pngDid you know that these all-volunteer forums are operated by the 501(c)3 not-for-profit Society for Culinary Arts & Letters? This holiday season, consider a tax-deductible Quick Ten Bucks to support the eG Forums and help us remain completely advertising-free. Thanks to all those who have donated so far!

Bilmo

Connecticut Hot Dogs

36 posts in this topic

I went to JK's in Danbury recently, and was very impressed with the hot dogs.  They were cooked and crisped on a grill, nicely smoky, and topped with chopped onion, mustard, relish, and hot sauce.  Very tasty package.  The fries were quite crisp, too.  And the chocolate shake was just fine, served in a big silver cup that held two full glasses.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My vote goes to the Super Duper Weenie in Fairfield, CT. This guy Gary Zemola who runs the place is a Culinary Institute of America grad and has approached hot dogs as a well trained and rigorous chef would approach any project: He gets a top quality dog from a local supplier in Stratford, he uses excellent buns, and he makes all condiments -- including relish and pickles -- on the premises. I would say the condiment combinations are the main draw, elevating the Super Duper Weenie above the competition, such as in the "New Englander" hot dog: sauerkraut, bacon (a crispy strip inserted into the split-lengthwise hot dog), mustard, sweet relish, and raw onion. And he's a real character to boot.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Super Duper Wienies are very good, but I thought mine was gunked up too much.  I went for the New Yorker and found it too heavily garnished and too much bun.  

SuperDuperDogFries.jpg

So far my favorite Connecticut dog is from Rawleys, also in Fairfield.  I liked the dog.  I liked the ugly presentation.  I liked the crusty guy behind the grill.   I even liked the 20 minute wait cause I got to watch the crusty guy be crusty.  Rawley's dog is gunked up a lot too, but it's a more haphazzard garnishing that adds character.

Rawley-Works-2.jpg

All that said, I haven't found any Connecticut dogs that measure up to Syds, Rutt Hutt or the other great North Jersey Dog Houses.


Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

Twitter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Holly, do you remember Dirty Bill's on the River Road in Bucks County, PA, years ago.  Or the Dog House, in Trenton, NJ.  Or, Cliff's near Roosevelt Blvd., Phila.  Dirty Bill's grilled the hot dogs over charcoal, the Dog House served very crisply cooked franks with thin french fries that could have the model for MacDonald's and were the equal of any I've ever eaten since and Cliff's deep-fried the hot dog after cutting it in such a way that it opened like a blossom upon hitting the fat.  I often wonder if these places were as good as I remember them.  We're talking decades ago.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Alas I don't know of or remember any of them.  I'm a rather recent arrival to Philadelphia - 1977 I believe - so don't know much about things before that time.

If anyone knows if any of the places Sandra mentioned are still up and running let me know and I will immediately log out and head their way.


Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

Twitter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When talking dogs, most central CT guys will mention Blackie's in Waterbury.  I'm not impressed with Blackie's - it must be an 'insider' thing, but it's a steamed dog with generic (to my taste) meat sauce.  Hot-dog-stand ambience...

Saint's, on the Plainville/Southington town line on Rte. 10 makes a good dog.  The only way to eat one is with the works - meat sauce, onions, cheese, and what-have-you.

My last meal as a single man lo, these many years ago, was at Capitol Lunch in downtown New Britain.  Good, greasy, dog, and I got married with massive heartburn :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I finally made it into Conn. to sample a few of their hot dogs. I believe that New Jersey has the best and biggest variety of hot dogs anywhere. I have heard that Conn. has many good places also. Holly, Steven Shaw, the Sterns, my nephew David, and others have given good reviews to Conn. dog houses. My nephew has even told me that Rawley's is the best dog in the Eastern U.S. Not that he's tasted all that many, but he did say he liked it better than Rutt's Hut. Seeing that both of these places deep fry their dogs (Rawley's also grills them for a little while afterwards) and are both beef/pork; I expected them to be somewhat similar; at least in style. I've been wanting to try Super Duper Weenie and Swanky Frank's also. Both of these places were listed in Gourmet Magazine as being one of the ten best places in the country to get a dog. Swanky's was rated 3, Rutt's 6, and SDW 9. I don't give all that much credence to these lists; but I have heard a lot of discussion about these places and wanted to try them for myself.

By the way; the number 1 dog on this list is Walter's in Mamaroneck, N.Y. I have heard from a few people that this dog is greatly overrated. It is very pale in color, and is made with 1/3 pork, 1/3 beef, and 1/3 veal. I will get to this place soon and report back.

Anyway, my first stop was Swanky Frank's. Let me say that the three places I went to today plus the one place in Jersey are all reviewed on Holly Eats, plus Steven adds his comments on the thread titled "The Hot Dog I made for myself". Remember that taste is subjective, and these are just my opinions. Plus, I feel that comparing different styles of dogs are like comparing apples and oranges. Some like spicy, all beef dogs; others like milder, sweeter tasting pork and beef dogs (some are 60% pork; even going up to 80% like Thumann's). And the 3 Conn. places are reviewed on Roadfood. The product at Swanky's is a deep fried all beef Hummels brand dog. Served on a soft, chewy roll that was steamed or otherwise heated. A good, beef dog. A nice spicy, tangy flavor. The dog reminded me a little of the one served at Frank & Fries in N.J. because of it's tanginess. It had a natural casing and was pretty good. I prefer the beef dogs at Syd's (charbroiled) Boulevard Drinks (grilled Sabrett) and Father & Son (grilled Grote & Weigel) over this one.

Next was Rawley's. I had been looking forward to going here for awhile; and if I had to pick just one place to sample; this would be the one. The dog used here was a Rosseler pork/beef frank that was deep fried and then finished off on a grill. I found out that the place that supplied Rawley's with hot dogs went out of business. They are being produced by someone else in another state. I asked the kid at the counter about that and he said that the dogs "are still pretty good" which leads me to believe that they might not be the same ones that were tasted by some of you reading this. Well, let me say that the dog was pretty good, but in my opinion, nothing special. I had all the dogs today with just mustard, so that I could taste the dog better. This one was plump, taut, with a good casing and a slight tanginess. In no way does it compare to Rutt's Hut. Not even close. I believe this one would be better with the bacon bits and house relish that they have.

My last stop was Super Duper Weenie. I had the basic dog with just mustard, but was given some relish in a container to take home. The sweet relish was slightly sweet, with a good peppery taste. I don't like relish in general. But I would have this on a hot dog. And of course, as I have mentioned in other posts, Rutt's Hut's relish is the best condiment I have ever had. It is so different than any relish I've ever had that I see it as something altogether different. As for the dog, it was a quality beef and pork dog reminiscent of the German Style dogs available at some of the German butchers in my hometown of Union. This dog was split down the middle and served with mustard in between. The mustard was excellent. I forget the brand name, but would remember if it was named. There was 2 names to this mustard. Something and something. The dog was above average, but not as tasty as a Thumann's, Schickhaus, or Grote and Weigle dog (made in Conn. also).

All in all, I liked these dogs. I think I liked the all beef Swanky Frank and the Super Duper Weenie a little better than the Rawley's dog. All had just mustard. The rolls were high quality and fresh. A lot of the enjoyment was in finally trying these dogs for myself after hearing and reading about them. I conclude that they are worth travelling a little ways for. But I still prefer the dogs in Jersey. On the way home, I stopped at the Galloping Hill Inn down the street from me. They are one of the more popular dogs in Jersey. A beef and pork dog made by Grote & Weigle of Conn. Served on a harder football shaped bun. The best dog of the day. And right down the street. Just don't get one with chili.


John the hot dog guy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks so much for that report, John.

Here's a link to the story I did on the Super Duper Weenie:

http://www.ctnow.com/features/hc-superdupe....artmay23.story

John, the one thing I'd say is that Super Duper is all about the condiments. I mean, it's a good dog but it's intentionally mild because it serves as a backdrop for all the homemade condiments in all the interesting combinations available there. Should you get the opportunity to return, I hope you'll try some of the composed hot dogs offered there.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Steven,

Thanks for the link. I actually found it earlier doing a search. It also included the name of the excellent mustard used there (Block and Guggenheim). I agree with you about this place being about the condiments. I do plan to try the New Englander if I return. This was my third stop of the day and I wanted to just taste the dog with mustard. This is usually how I like my dogs anyway. I usually keep Rutt's relish and the Hot Grill's chili sauce at home. I only like the relish on a milder beef/pork dog. I don't think it goes well with a spicy beef dog. The chili sauce works well with either.

I agree with you regarding the dog having to be a little less aggressively spiced in order to blend in with the condiments. The dog at the Hot Grill is made by Sabrett (50% beef 50% pork) and is perfect in complimenting the chili sauce. I do, however, enjoy this chili with a spicy, flavorfull Black Bear frank also. The two popular places in Union (my hometown) are a study in contrasts. Syd's is a kosher style all beef dog (5 to a lb) simmered then charbroiled. Truly one of the finest dogs anywhere. Flavorfull without being overly spicy. The Galloping Hill Inn is in the Conn. style. In fact, the dog used is from Conn. (Grote & Weigle). It is pork and beef and subtle in spicing like the Super Duper weenie dog. But it is tasty. And very good. This dog, along with Thumann's and a German style deli frank near me are the best dogs of this style. I think Gary would 've done better by using the Grote & Weigel dog. Just a matter of taste.

I spoke with Grote & Weigel's distributor. Although they supply many of the Texas Weiner places in N.J. (the style of Texas Weiner that grills and doesn't deep fry) the dog used at Galloping Hill Inn is a different product. It has a collagen casing and is made from a different recipe. The guy said that the GHI is the only place that buys this dog, although they will sell to anyone who requests it (even me). I feel that this dog typifies the Conn. style dog better than anything. I reccomend trying this place along with Syd's and, of course, Rutt's Hut.


John the hot dog guy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My last meal as a single man lo, these many years ago, was at Capitol Lunch in downtown New Britain.  

Whoo hoo! a mention of hard-hittin' New Britain! Ya gotta love those Capitol dogs, they'll kill ya though. Off the topic, stagis - have you ever eaten at Great Taste on W. Main? Really good Chinese, and it's not greeasy!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah another place I have try is Super duper's. but alas, I am sure they are nothing and will be nothing like the famed Greeks stand on Boston Avenue of years ago, or the epitimy of chili dogs Kuhns corner in Fairfield on Black Rock Tnpk. The best I have ever had or probably will have. Or Jimmies foot long dogs on rt 25 now long gone. These were the places to have a great hot dog! And after that you would go to Brock Hall for the best Ice cream sundae this side of the rockies! I am still looking for that Ice cream flavor of my youth, and have not yet found anything close! Gads! If only there was a time machine!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

John - thanks for the nifty report. Fat Guy is absolutely right - you have to have the condiments to appreciate the whole Super Duper Weenie experience.

Rawley's and Swanky's make good hot dogs, but IMHO, they're just hot dogs. SDW dogs are works of art. And some other great items too - the Cheeseburger Deluxe, the Phairfield Cheesesteak, and the made-to-order fries. I loved the place when it was a van, and it has only improved (less of a wait) in an actual building. I do have my concerns about a couple of additions to the menu that seem to violate the mission of the place - diet soda and chicken nuggets - but remain loyal to the core.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A couple of weeks ago I stopped in again. I was on my way home from visiting my daughter at UConn and made a detour to stop for lunch. The last time I went, it was my third stop of the day, so I only had one dog w/mustard to taste the dog. This time I tried one w/mustard and a New Englander without onions. Good mustard, good homemade relish (second only to Rutt's Hut) good sauerkraut (also homemade) with a strip of bacon down the middle where the dog is split. A very good dog. I'd have to say the best I've had in Ct. Everything went well together.

I like to concentrate on the dog itself, which I did with the first one (only mustard). This frank, which is made by Millers Provisions out of Stratford, is just tasty enough to be enjoyed with mustard, and not too tasty that it overwhelms or clashes with the toppings. A great choice of dog to go with the homemade toppings and various offerings at Super Duper Weenie. And one of the best German style franks available. I would say better than the other Conn. dogs I've had with the exception of the Grote & Weigle dog served at the Galloping Hill Inn in Union. This particular dog is available to anyone who requests it according to my N.J. Grote & Weigle distributor, however, only this one place orders it. My distributor will sell it to me, but with a 5 llb minimum purchase. It is a different recipe and casing than the other dogs sold by Grote & Weigle. With a better flavor. I don't know why other places don't use it. So technically, it is a Conn. product, but only served currently in N.J. The Miller's dog is better than the regular Grote & Weigle dog that is served in many hot dog restaurants in Conn. and Jersey.

Miller's had a store which sold their quality franks to the public. Unfortunately, they closed down recently. So unless you can get Super Duper Weenie or the Windmill in Stratford (which also uses these franks, but in a smaller size) to sell you some for home; you have to get them at these restaurants.

Since I like to cook franks at home, and most of the time use just mustard (when in the mood for condiments I use either Rutt's relish or the Hot Grill's chili which they sell to go) I prefer a beef/pork frank with a little more flavor. My favorites are 1) Thumann's 2) Hofmann's from Syracuse 3)Schaller & Weber 4) Grote & Weigle used at the Galloping Hill Inn 5) Gaiser's franks which are made at a German butcher. They used to supply the GHI.

For beef dogs (a completely different style) I like Usinger's, Best, Nathan's, Sabrett, Grote & Weigle all beef, and the Hebrew National dogs sold at Goldberg's in Old Bridge, N.J. which come with the natural casings. I recently had Best Kosher at the new Wegman's. A decent beef dog, but nothing special. The previous named beef dogs are better. But for a Chicago dog, I like it better than Vienna.


John the hot dog guy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For Hot Dog John. . .

I had heard about Miller's Provisions closing down a couple months ago, and I must say that I am devistated, as they had simply the most incredible seasoned prepared pork roast I have ever tasted. Also, great kielbasa, knockwurst, and homemade German kraut. Did you ever hear any of the details on their closing? I know the guys were getting on in age; did they just retire? The place was always packed when I went in. I am so sad. Wish I knew how to reach them and try to pay the guys on the side to season and tie a pork roast for me.

Oh. . . in regard to hotdogs in CT. . . I know you'll probably laugh, but my husband, mother-in-law from the Bronx, and I all think that the dogs at Frankie's in West Haven (I know it is a chain) are incredible. You have to order them split and well-done--excellent snap and they, too, have really good homestyle relish--hot is especially good. Also, the place is very very clean, and we love the husband/wife duo who own that one and are so nice and care about their regulars. Too bad they started to add so many other items to their basic menu--Chester's Fried Chicken--barf! Stick to the dogs, Frank!!


Edited by cheereeo70 (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There was an article online somewhere that got into details of Miller's store closing. I may have read it here on E-Gullet. I do know that Miller's is still in business making hot dogs, and I assume other meats; the retail store only closed. Do you know what brand of dog is used at Frankie's?


John the hot dog guy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
There was an article online somewhere that got into details of Miller's store closing. I may have read it here on E-Gullet. I do know that Miller's is still in business making hot dogs, and I assume other meats; the retail store only closed. Do you know what brand of dog is used at Frankie's?

No, I don't, but I will ask my husband, who frequents it very very often, to find out. I checked the website www.frankieshotdogs.com, Frankie's Hot Dogs>>Click here, but it didn't name the brand. Could it be their own? I doubt it. You must order it grilled and well-done. I, too, like it with a strip of very well-cooked bacon. They also use beautiful soft rolls similar to those from French's Bakery in Stratford (Tomlinsons uses them); they are very soft.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

According to their history, their hot dog supplier when they went into business around the time of the Depression was Carl Roessiler. So I would assume that the brand they use is Roessiler's, which is the brand used at Rawley's, although I usually see it spelled differently. From what I remember from the one time I went to Rawley's, it was a good dog with a slight tangy taste that I detect in other Conn. dogs such as Miller's and Hummel's. Very similar to a dog here in N.J. made by Kohler's Provisions.


John the hot dog guy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If any of you happen to find yourself in the Danbury area, JK's Texas Weiners (126 South Street, off Main) has nice dogs and one of the nicest, cheapest lunch menues around. It's also eat-in, not a hut or shack, which is good for a change.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

cheereeo70 Posted on Nov 12 2003, 07:07 PM

For Hot Dog John. . .

I had heard about Miller's Provisions closing down a couple months ago, and I must say that I am devistated, as they had simply the most incredible seasoned prepared pork roast I have ever tasted. Also, great kielbasa, knockwurst, and homemade German kraut. Did you ever hear any of the details on their closing? I know the guys were getting on in age; did they just retire? The place was always packed when I went in. I am so sad. Wish I knew how to reach them and try to pay the guys on the side to season and tie a pork roast for me.

Hey cheereeo70!

This is Jane from Miller's Provisions... Glad to hear you are a fan of our products!

A word on what's been happening here... Miller's was operated by two brother's, George and John Wunder.... George passed away about 3 years ago, so John's son (also John, a.k.a. Hans) joined the company to give his father a hand. John Sr. has since retired. Hans has made some changes to streamline the organization and better serve our wholesale clients, like Super Duper.

As we all know, people don't shop the way they used to any more. In the old days Miller's was mobbed by people who staffed the factories in and around Bridgeport. Then the factories began closing and the 24 hour grocery stores were born. These stores added deli's to their offerings and the people began to make their buying decisions based on the convenience of the one-stop-shop. Rather than try to compete with these giants, Miller's has now returned to it's core competency.... the manufacturing of our franks and sausages. Over time, we will increase our retail distribution so that our products become available at the super stores.

Meanwhile, we have retailers in and around Fairfield county where you can pick up the same franfurters that Super Duper uses.

You can always call us directly at 203-375-1598 and come right to to the factory for your goodies. Since we are now configured for wholesale, there is a minimum of 5 lbs. on any order... if you can live with that, then give us a call.

We would be delighted to hook you up with a pork roast too.... we look forward to getting a call from you!

Meanwhile, keep those guys at Super Duper busy!! Happy eating!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
cheereeo70 Posted on Nov 12 2003, 07:07 PM

For Hot Dog John. . .

I had heard about Miller's Provisions closing down a couple months ago, and I must say that I am devistated, as they had simply the most incredible seasoned prepared pork roast I have ever tasted. Also, great kielbasa, knockwurst, and homemade German kraut. Did you ever hear any of the details on their closing? I know the guys were getting on in age; did they just retire? The place was always packed when I went in. I am so sad. Wish I knew how to reach them and try to pay the guys on the side to season and tie a pork roast for me.

Hey cheereeo70!

This is Jane from Miller's Provisions... Glad to hear you are a fan of our products!

A word on what's been happening here... Miller's was operated by two brother's, George and John Wunder.... George passed away about 3 years ago, so John's son (also John, a.k.a. Hans) joined the company to give his father a hand. John Sr. has since retired. Hans has made some changes to streamline the organization and better serve our wholesale clients, like Super Duper.

As we all know, people don't shop the way they used to any more. In the old days Miller's was mobbed by people who staffed the factories in and around Bridgeport. Then the factories began closing and the 24 hour grocery stores were born. These stores added deli's to their offerings and the people began to make their buying decisions based on the convenience of the one-stop-shop. Rather than try to compete with these giants, Miller's has now returned to it's core competency.... the manufacturing of our franks and sausages. Over time, we will increase our retail distribution so that our products become available at the super stores.

Meanwhile, we have retailers in and around Fairfield county where you can pick up the same franfurters that Super Duper uses.

You can always call us directly at 203-375-1598 and come right to to the factory for your goodies. Since we are now configured for wholesale, there is a minimum of 5 lbs. on any order... if you can live with that, then give us a call.

We would be delighted to hook you up with a pork roast too.... we look forward to getting a call from you!

Meanwhile, keep those guys at Super Duper busy!! Happy eating!

Jane, I wonder if you were the nice woman I spoke to on the phone recently. You had mentioned your guys trying to get into Gloria's in Milford. Perhaps if all of us on e-Gullet who frequent Gloria's Market could make the request for your products there, they would be interested. I hope so. Thanks for the reply. I'll give you a call when we're ready for the large pork roast--my mouth is watering!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
There was an article online somewhere that got into details of Miller's store closing. I may have read it here on E-Gullet. I do know that Miller's is still in business making hot dogs, and I assume other meats; the retail store only closed. Do you know what brand of dog is used at Frankie's?

No, I don't, but I will ask my husband, who frequents it very very often, to find out. I checked the website www.frankieshotdogs.com, Frankie's Hot Dogs>>Click here, but it didn't name the brand. Could it be their own? I doubt it. You must order it grilled and well-done. I, too, like it with a strip of very well-cooked bacon. They also use beautiful soft rolls similar to those from French's Bakery in Stratford (Tomlinsons uses them); they are very soft.

Just an Update on Frankie's Hot Dogs. . . And. . . Question on where to find Roessler's Dogs??

I happened to call them today to inquire about purchasing their relish as I am having a Hot Dog Bar at my son's two-year birthday celebration in a couple of weeks.

The owner's wife confirmed to me that their hotdogs are made "by a special blend made specifically for Frankie's" that are not sold to the public raw. I then replied, "So they're not Roessler's??" and she said, "No; we are told they are a special Frankie's blend." So. . . the mystery continues.

I am going to get French's Bakery Hot Dog Rolls.

Two Questions:

1.) Does anyone know where I could buy Roessler's Dogs in retail bulk? Is this something sold in the meat market down on Long Wharf in New Haven? I live in Milford but am willing to travel.

2.) I am partial to split dogs. Do you think they will be OK if I split them and cook them on the grill that way? I know restaurants who split their dogs tend to use a griddle with a press. I am worried that the grill may dry them out. I have cooked Kielbasa this way on the grill and it is wonderful but of course, they have a higher fat content than weiners! Thoughts?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just hunted and found a contact name from Roessler grandson. Call 800-HOTDOG9 and Mr. Roessler will tell you where to find them. (I called and got a VM.) Someone at the other site said that Supreme Market on 2nd Avenue in WEst Haven sells them per Mr. Roessler.

Any other ideas. . . keep them coming!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't see a problem split-grilling the dogs. I do this whenever eating dogs, and never have noticed them to be dry in any way. Not sure if you're using gas or charcoal, but the fire doesn't have to be inferno level. I'm usually using deli beef franks.

rich

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since this topic revived...

As a transplanted Chicagoan to CT (on and off for 10 years), the 2 comfort foods I miss the most are Deep-dish pizza (natch) and a good ol' Chicago-style dog.

I'm okay on the pizza front--I make my traveling friends bring back fresh frozen pies from Chi-town and I'll admit that New Haven-style pizza has its place.

However.... I'm at a loss for dogs. I'm located on the CT river, between Middletown & Old Saybrook. All the dogs I've tried--restaurants, drive-ins, roadside stands have been found wanting.

Are there any reasonable facimiles...or... (shudder), can someone school me on the enjoyment of dogs here in the East?

Best,

Brad

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.