Hungry Hungry Hank Volume 4

Hot dog edition featuring Mr. DeSarno


Photo Audrey Pucciarelli

Hank Shapiro

The hot dog is an American classic. You can find one for sale on street corners, at baseball games, at any type of concession stand, amusement parks and many other places in between. With its popularity, people tend to ask the question: who makes the best hot dog?

On my most recent trip to Newark, I can honestly say that I ate the two best hot dogs I’ve ever had in my life, and believe me, I’ve had my fair share of hot dogs.

I didn’t stumble upon these locations on my own; I had a special tour guide bring me to the right places and  to help me order the right things. WHS Head Football Coach and Assistant Principal Jim DeSarno took me to try the best hot dogs in New Jersey and he delivered on his promise to find me the best one.

Our first stop was Tony’s Hot Dog Truck, located in Branch Brook Park, right near Barringer High School. Tony’s is known for having great hot dogs, but DeSarno had a special connection to this food truck since he coached and taught at Barringer for two years.

According to DeSarno, Tony is now retired but he used to make all the ingredients for his truck in his basement, turning his house into what some people called a “Hot Dog Museum.”

The first kind of hot dog we devoured had a classic bun and was topped with piping hot chili and onions. We started off the day aggressively by ordering four of the $2.75 dogs.

I took my first bite and understood immediately why DeSarno opted to order more than one hot dog. Even though my mouth was full, I said, “This is the real deal.”

The chili was sweet, yet tangy which made this hot dog extra special. We finished our two dogs quickly and took the five-minute drive to our next location.

The next stop was a throwback to DeSarno’s college days, when he ate there with his roommate. As a college offensive linemen, DeSarno calls himself a “food expert” and after eating this hot dog, I think the title suits him.

Located on the corner of Bloomfield Ave. and 6th Street in Newark, Dickie Dee’s is known for their Italian hot dogs.

Their specialty includes two hot dogs with onions, peppers and potatoes stuffed in pizza bread and drizzled with ketchup and mustard. Pizza bread is a giant roll that when cut in half is the size of a slice of pizza.

The hot dogs and potatoes are cooked in oil together, which makes this dog unique. Every bite has you eager for more. This beautifully constructed delight was so large I couldn’t even finish the whole thing.

If you are looking for the best hot dogs in New Jersey, I would definitely check out both of these places for an American classic brought to a new level.

Also, I would like to thank DeSarno for the tour and if anyone has questions about food, you know who to reach out to.


Calories for this meal: 2,118 Calories

Total Calorie Counter: 8,317 Calories