See what hot dog landmark won the Readers' Choice award in our N.J.'s best hot dog joint showdown.

Rutt’s Hut in Clifton is the Readers’ Choice winner in our N.J.’s best hot dog joint showdown.

The hot dog landmark easily outdistanced The Hot Grill in Clifton, Tommy’s Italian Sausage & Hot Dogs in Elizabeth and Hiram’s Roadstand in Fort Lee in the voting.

Abe Rutt opened the restaurant in 1928. A menu from the 1930s advertised “3-Deck Sandwiches” – a precursor to today’s clubs – for 65 cents. Bacon and eggs were 80 cents, pie a la mode, 20 cents.

Rutt sold hot dogs from the beginning, but Rutt’s Hut’s reputation as a hot dog landmark developed over the years. Today, it’s not only a hot dog icon but an essential Jersey food experience. The Daily Meal named it the country’s best hot dog joint, period.

The deep-fried hot dogs are known as “Rippers” because they split apart during cooking. Well-done Rippers are called Wellers, while Cremators are practically burnt dogs.     

There’s a restaurant behind the hot dog counter; co-owner Gus Chrisafinas says the item providing “the biggest bang for your buck” is the roast duck.

“The homemade rice pudding and bread pudding are to die for,” he adds.

If there’s one thing that sets Rutt’s apart from the others, it’s the homemade relish. Gus Chrisafinas makes 80 gallons of relish every week. You can buy it by the pint or quart. 

“Let me put it this way,” says Bill Chrisafinas, Gus’ brother. “If we run out of relish, we lock the doors.”

Peter Genovese may be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @PeteGenovese or via The Munchmobile @NJ_Munchmobile. Find the Munchmobile on Facebook and Instagram.

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