It was a getting dark and pleasant night (I’m saving stormy for Monday) when I got a last minute call from Herman to meet the group for a Sunday night, let’s-at-least-get-a-quick-bite-before-Monday-comes dinner. While I’ve heard of Hiram’s, it was a little too far east in Bergen County in my early trolling days. But, now that I’ve started the engines again, it seemed like a reasonable effort.
For 38 years, I’ve been getting my dogs at my favorite place in Clifton. With some nostalgic regret, I admit they’ve been dethroned. The Hiram pooch with its thin, crispy skin has won Top Dog. The chili sauce is very similar to the Clifton joint until the hot spice kicks in. Yes, its got a kick and just perfect for me.
At the table we had chili fries. Once you start that, you could probably pour the chili sauce on almost anything. Kinda reminds me of a place my friends outside of Montreal took me to when the maple sap was running in early spring, a cabane à sucre, or sugar shack. Everyone sits at long picnic tables inside while the food is served family style. You pour maple syrup over your pancakes, eggs, sausages, your neighbor’s pants leg, in your coffee, you get the picture. Here in the U.S. we have our own tradition…chili sauce! It doesn’t get any better than that.
Hiram’s isn’t a lounging kind of place so we didn’t stay long. Just a glorified roadside stand really, but a cool piece of Americana initiated at the advent of personal, gasoline-powered transportation. They have a sign on the wall that says they’ve been here for 75 years. I’m thinking they’re still going to be here for a very long time, but why wait? I like to try and imagine what it was like pulling up on a Sunday afternoon in your 1935 Ford Cabriolet with a V8 Flathead. Was the protocol for gentlemen to remove their hats before downing a dog?
1345 Palisade Avenue
Fort Lee, NJ 07024-5243
Phil Sikora: In his own words “I have a T-shirt from a club for owners of Russian motorcycles with a motto that translates to: “Eat to ride; ride to eat.” I’ve taken that to heart. And so the stories will unfold.” Phil is a motorcycle enthusiast and System Engineer for AT&T. He works in Middletown and lives in Paramus and will be reporting on his culinary adventures in his “Reviews from the Road” series for Jersey Bites.