Last year, you might have opted to spend National Hot Dog Month grilling in your backyard with a couple of people who were all sitting as far apart from each other as possible. Now that it’s safer to go out, you can choose to celebrate National Hot Dog Day, on July 21, in a bigger way this year…and maybe at the beach!
You may recall that New Jersey is the epicenter of the hot dog universe, so you’re sure to find a great place at the Jersey Shore to celebrate the day without looking too hard. Here are five of my favorites, which fly a little bit under the radar. Happy Hot Dog Day!
Midway Steak House, Seaside Heights
I kick off every summer by heading to the dead center of the Seaside Heights boardwalk and having a traditional sausage sandwich at the Midway Steak House. I have it served “all the way,” smothered in onions, peppers, and marinara sauce. You’ll be able to smell the aromas wafting from this long-standing sausage stand before you ever see the giant rotating sign on top. You might have to stand shoulder-to-shoulder, two or three people deep before you’re served, but the service is super fast. Enjoy people watching while you eat along one of the best boardwalks in New Jersey!
Midway Steak House
Seaside Heights, NJ
Relish Hot Dog & Sausage Company, Belmar
Relish Hot Dog & Sausages, in Belmar, is back this season. After a break last year, they’re serving up some great options once again. Eschewing a traditional hot dog bun, Relish stuffs its hot dogs and sausages into delightful hollowed-out rolls with a chewy texture that’s more akin to a bagel than to bread.
Start with the Classic, a quarter-pound beef hot dog that features both Jersey tomato relish and a house pickle relish, plus dijon mustard. It’s topped off with a pepperoncini spear. If you’re still hungry, you can’t go wrong with The Roman, a hot Italian sausage covered with roasted pepper relish, caramelized onion relish, herb aioli, and pepperoncini. Mangia!
Relish Hot Dog & Sausages
1303 Main Street
Olde Heidelberg, Keansburg
The Olde Heidelberg Inn has done one thing really well since they opened all the way back in 1934: slinging jumbo hot dogs to hungry customers along the Keansburg boardwalk. After the joint was destroyed by Superstorm Sandy in 2012, it reopened with new owners who kept the same old-man bar atmosphere but doubled the size of the menu by adding the option of crinkle-cut fries into the mix. Not much else has changed, and the folks who run it also happen to manage the rest of the boardwalk, too. Family-friendly rides, a free beach, and excellent people make Keansburg the hidden gem of the Jersey shore!
Keansburg Amusement Park
275 Beachway Avenue
Hot Dog Tommy’s, Cape May
Cape May is many things to many people. It’s the southernmost point in New Jersey, the nation’s oldest seaside resort, and the home of the Hot Dog Tommy’s, a must-do hot dog stand that’s ideal for when you’ve found yourself at the Parkway’s end.
Serving up a wide range of topping combinations with all sorts of clever names. (This was the first place I saw use the word glizzy on its menu, and if you don’t know what that is, it’s OK—just ask a teenager.)
However creative the menu may get, though, this is a classic joint where you can get your hot dog served all dressed up or completely naked. Either way, you’ll have a great meal dished by the ever-friendly Tommy, who’s known for wearing his distinct hot-dog-shaped hat.
Hot Dog Tommy’s
319 Beach Avenue Rear Jackson, at Beach
Cape May, NJ
Tower Dogs, Asbury Park
One of the few places that’s truthfully advertising a hot dog that’s made specifically for them, Tower Dogs has finally found its forever home along the Asbury Park Boardwalk after skipping around the state for a few years.
Serving up an all-beef hot dog that has somehow managed to maintain a satisfyingly crunchy snap despite being skinless, Tower Dogs has something for everyone. From “Haute” dogs smothered in decadent and creative toppings, to vegan options, it is worth making the time to sit and enjoy the view from the spacious tables set up directly on the boardwalk across from the ocean.
800 Ocean Avenue
Asbury Park, NJ