It’s National Hot Dog Day! And that makes today a perfect opportunity to introduce diners unfamiliar with Callahan’s Hot Dogs to the popular Bergen County restaurant and to make loyal customers drool over the the pictures they’re about to see.
I’ve been following Callahan’s on social media for a while (on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) and images they posted truly look fantastic, and yes, a bit over-indulgent. When I was recently invited to check out the place, I jumped at the opportunity.
Callahan’s is a family-owned-and-operated fast casual food business serving specialty hot dogs and complementary dishes. The original Callahan’s opened in 1950 in Fort Lee and flourished until 2006 when the family opted to close the business. In 2014, Daniel DeMiglio, the original owner’s grandson, reopened the business with a Callahan’s food truck. After a very successful year, DeMiglio opened the flagship Norwood store with a gas station look and feel reminiscent of the original Fort Lee location. The third generation-owned business now has an additional food truck to help maintain the growing catering business.
When I visited the Norwood store, I was fortunate enough to meet and speak with both DeMiglio and the restaurant’s chef, Danny Fabian. The duo was fresh off a television appearance (view the segment here) and shared interesting facts about the food as well as the memorabilia found in the restaurant that was once in the Fort Lee location. Visiting the storefront is like a fun trip down memory lane. DeMiglio incorporated a number of Callahan’s original design elements into his restaurant: tables, glass blocks, stained glass lighting, vintage tin signs built into a custom bench and the tail end of a ’57 Chevy built into one wall that serves as the bottle opener for the vintage glass bottled sodas. Original store photos decorate the dining room walls, further supporting DeMiglio’s efforts to share and continue his family’s legacy.
Chef Danny brought out quite a sampling for our party to try, including various hot dogs, of course, the truffle mac ‘n cheese burger and some loaded fries.
The three hot dogs we tried were the BBQ pulled pork and coleslaw dog, the peanut butter, salted caramel and bacon dog and the mango salsa dog. All three start with a New Jersey traditional “ripper:” fried hot dog made with pork and beef that, as Callahan’s slogan suggests, are “So Big, So Good.” Hot dogs are available in two sizes: regular (9 inches) and super (over a foot long). My favorite, if I had to pick one, was the peanut butter, salted caramel and bacon version. The combination of the salty and crunchy bacon, sweet caramel and the creamy peanut butter is a winner.
To simply call the burger we had a “burger” is doing this dish a disservice. The softball-size meat patty is stuffed with rich, gooey, decadent truffle Gouda macaroni and cheese. I’m not typically a fan of stuffed burgers as most times the texture and integrity of the burger is compromised. This version, however, has a crispy exterior, from it being deep-fried, that keeps the meat moist inside. This enormous burger is easily shareable among friends.
Callahan’s offers a choice of classic, curly or sweet potato fries (and also onion rings). Chef Danny’s imagination takes off from there with outrageous toppings. We enjoyed the buffalo bacon blue cheese fries. One could also order disco fries featuring homemade gravy and fries topped with chopped hot dog.
For clients who can’t pass up sweets, Callahan’s offers specialty desserts like its CinnaBON ToastCRUNCH fries and double-battered deep-fried cupcake with Yoohoo drizzle.
A “Callakids” menu is also available with a choice of burger, hot dog, chicken fingers or grilled cheese, a beverage and fries. The meals are served is a classic car-themed cardboard box and come with a sticker and Fantastic Frank bendable toy.
Location and Hours
Callahan’s food trucks can be found all over New Jersey and can be reserved for private parties and events.
Whether off the side of its food truck or in the retro dining room of its Norwood location, be sure to visit Callahan’s for a delicious casual meal served by professionals with a passion for the business and for keeping family traditions alive.
10 Broad Street
Tuesday: Saturday: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Hours subject to change. For truck locations and hours, visit the Callahan’s website or access the business via social media.