Out and About: Rutt’s Hut – Clifton, New Jersey

Rippers topped with spicy brown mustard and famous Rutt's Hut relish

Rutt’s Hut
417 River Road
Clifton, NJ
Cost Per Dog: $1.99 with tax

If you ever find yourself in Jersey I have to recommend that you stop at Rutt’s Hut.  It’s a little greasy spoon of a restaurant that has been open since 1928 and has the best tasting hot dogs ever*.  Do you wanna know what they do that is different than the “normal” hot dog joint. They deep fry them. The first time I heard this I turned up my nose and said “that sounds gross I would never eat that!”  Trust me it’s not gross and they are not greasy.  The dogs are freshly cooked and done in just about 30 seconds of hitting the hot oil. The skin of the dog rips open which gives this dog the nickname “ripper.”  The dogs have a small crunch on the outside and the inside is hot and juicy. If you are feeling especially adventurous you could even try a cremator.   That is a hot dog that has been deep fried for even longer than the classic ripper.  They get a crunchy texture that some say almost tastes like overcooked bacon. I personally have no idea. I like my dogs cooked the classic way.  Just a small note these dogs are served plain and and fuss free.  They are put on a plain white roll and put on a weird floppy plate that sorta reminds me of a flattened coffee filter. I have read bad reviews about this joint and in my opinion I think the fuss free attitude of this restaurant may be part of it.  I don’t need a million toppings and sturdy plate to make me love a dog. Either it’s good or it’s not. In this case…it’s good. Then again I realize we all have own opinions and you certainly cannot please everyone.

Now back to the dogs 🙂

Another fantastic thing about this restaurant is their delicious relish. I swear I could a  large bowl of that stuff with or without a ripper.  It has a mustard base and contains cabbage, onions and carrots and that is just about all I know. If you ask for the recipe you will be told it’s a secret but instructed you can buy it to take home 🙂 The other thing I love about this restaurant is the feel of the place. When you pull up the restaurant is divided by the kitchen in the middle and the stand up and eat side on the right and the sit down restaurant on the left. We always choose to eat on the stand up side. You walk up order a few rippers, a small Pepsi and an order of onion rings (which are sooooooo delicious and freshly made!)  In about five minutes you will have everything you need to enjoy a nice dinner, snack, lunch, fourth meal, etc. Mr. Nutmeg Nanny and I always make sure to eat a few rippers on our way home from Devil’s hockey games. I’m still waiting for the day I see Brodeur or Parise in there eating a dog….man those men are hot!

*Now I know some of you may disagree with me but since it’s my blog I reserve the right to pretty much say whatever I want 🙂

First Picture: Outside of the building - Second Picture: Inside the restaurant - Third Picture:The little childrens counter - Fourth Picture: Mr. Nutmeg Nanny and I inside the restaurant

Ripper with spicy brown mustard and famous relish.

More reviews about Rutt’s Hut:
Holly Eats – My favorite dive restaurant critic
Serious Eats – A great foodie website

Photo Credit: Outside Rutt’s Hut photograph courtesy of Wikipedia.  All other photographs taken by Nutmeg Nanny 🙂

14 Responses to “Out and About: Rutt’s Hut – Clifton, New Jersey”

  1. #
    Christine @ Fresh Local and Best — December 4, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    Yum! This place sounds good! I’ll be passing by Clifton on my way to Delaware over the Christmas holiday. I’ll be sure to stop there for a treat.

  2. #
    Sue — December 4, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    Sounds good to me! You figure the place is still popular after 80 years, it’s gotta be good! 🙂

  3. #
    doggybloggy — December 4, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    I am down! I think I could eat at least three – time to head to clifton.

  4. #
    Molly Jean — December 4, 2009 at 9:46 pm

    Oooh I love a good hot dog! I’m totally interested in the deep fry part… now if I could just find one around the midwest instead 😉

  5. #
    jenn — December 4, 2009 at 10:03 pm

    I remember seeing this place at one of those travel channel shows. That’s the first time I’ve seen deep-fried dogs!!! I really want to try one.

  6. #
    Jen — December 4, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    Go NJ! These are fantastic! I try to eat sensibly but sometimes salty meats win out… ie. Jersey hot dogs and pork roll! So good!

  7. #
    Mimi — December 5, 2009 at 12:52 am

    I’m a long way from NJ, but you never know where life will take you. Every thing fried shows up at our local fair, maybe even a ripper, I’ll keep my eyes open.

  8. #
    Blond Duck — December 5, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    Those look delicious!! I can never turn down a hot dog…

  9. #
    Faith — December 5, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    Great review, I feel like I could almost taste the ripper! 🙂 That relish looks really incredible, I could see myself getting hooked on that really quick! (I sort-of have a relish obsession…I love it! 😉 )

  10. #
    girlichef — December 6, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    I wanna go there! And that last picture is so incredibly awesome! They should pay you. 🙂

  11. #
    Reeni — December 6, 2009 at 9:33 pm

    My Dad was just talking about deep fried hotdogs. He saw them on a tv show. They look really delicious!!!!

  12. #
    Chiara — December 7, 2009 at 11:20 am

    I think I’ve seen something about this place on the Travel Channel and not long ago my boyfriend tried to deep fry his hot dog and didn’t turn out quite alright… we might have to take a trip that way and try the real ones!

  13. #
    mona way — March 28, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    I would like to find out the recipe for the brown mustard sauce you make. My father used to make a mustard sauce recipe and never left a recipe and it looked like yours. I am 72 and would love to see if it is close, he used mayo, mustard, onions and I don’t know what else. Thank-you.


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