During the course of one year I spend countless hours on Interstate 80 between Cleveland and New York. I’m always on the lookout for places to eat that aren’t chains.
I recently decided that instead of taking the Northeast extension to Allentown and cutting over on I-78 to get to Clinton, New Jersey, I continued on I-80 and got off after the Delaware Water Gap and cut through on the back roads. What a great decision.
About ten miles off of I-80 at the “46 East” exit (I think it’s exit 12) sits an old hot dog stand in Buttzville, NJ called Hot Dog Johnny’s.
Once you pull up, it’s pretty clear that this place has been here a while (over 60 years). There’s a large gravel parking lot with plenty of outdoor seating around the stand itself. There are a few tables inside for the cold months.
This is actually a great place to go in the summertime. The Pequest river flows a stone’s throw away behind the current stand. They also have the original stand (which looks like it’s about 8x8), from the forties that sits in the back of the property. Hot Dog Johnny’s has also provided swings to help occupy children that may have wolfed down their food or have been cooped up in the car for a few hours.
The hot dogs are unique in the sense that they are cooked in peanut oil. When I opened mine the first thing I noticed was the softness of the hot bun. The finely minced onions added an ever so slight crunchiness that complimented the crispy skin on the deep fried dog.
Hot Dog Johnny’s also offers up mugs of Birch Beer and Buttermilk. I can understand the combination hot dogs and soda. I can’t say that I understand the connection between deep fried meat and buttermilk. If you’ve already had lunch or dinner and are looking for a snack they also serve ice cream.
While HDJ's is a little while off the highway, it is a straight shot down US Hwy 46 at 50mph. Considering most of the garbage that you pass along 80, I think it’s worth the trip.
Hot Dog Johnny's
US Hwy 46
Buttzville, NJ 07829