Marci's is a relatively new hot dog establishment serving primarily dirty water Sabretts. But they also serve sandwiches, subs, and grilled chicken breast with roasted peppers, fresh mozzarella and thin sliced garlic w/balsamic vinaigrette. As a hot dog fanatic who has reviewed hot dogs for the Star Ledger and runs the popular New Jersey Hot Dog Tour with my buddy Erwin Benz, I've been to literally hundreds of hot dog joints. Many of them specialize in "dirty water dogs" or hot dogs prepared in water. Let me say that Marci's is my favorite place that serves this type of dog.
There are many factors that distinguish one place from another. Although the brand and method of preparation is the same and the dogs should taste similar from place to place, the serious hot dog lover considers whether the dogs have a casing, how big they are, if they are hot enough, how fresh they are, and if they have been left in the water a sufficient amount of time. Too long in the water and the dogs lose snap and flavor. The bun is also important. Many vendors use cheap supermarket buns that fall apart. Toppings/condiments are important to most people. Not so much for me as I enjoy mustard only most of the time.
Rob Marciano is the owner of Marci's. What sets him apart as an owner is his generosity and willingness to please his customers. He cares about value, offering a bigger sized dog than most of his competitors. Rob serves a 10/1 Sabrett, which in hot dog speak means 10 to a lb. Competitors like Sal's in Clark and Steve's Hut in Linden serve tiny 12/1 franks and charge as much or more. Anything smaller than 10/1 is too small in my opinion. Most of those serving these tiny dogs don't think their customers will know the difference and are extremely thin skinned and defensive when criticized. Rob, although fairly new to the business, is related by marriage to Dee of Dees Hut in Roselle Park, who has been in the business for 50 years and also serves a great 10/1 natural casing dog. His dogs are the same high quality. But his chili is better. I don't usually have sauerkraut on a hot dog (I love it on bratwurst) but the kraut here is the best I've had. It came about because Rob listened to a customer who gave him suggestions about his sauerkraut. Unlike many of his competitors who think people like me should not dare to criticize them "because we don't know what the business involves." That's irrelevant. We are customers who are eating what they make so we have every right to voice our opinions, good or bad.. Sort of like complaining that we can't criticize a ballplayer who doesn't hustle because we never played pro ball. But I digress. Rob added his own touch to a recipe given to him by the above mentioned customer. The result is a sauerkraut that is by far my favorite. When this customer passed away, Rob donated a couple of hundred hot dogs to his son's school for a hot dog luncheon in his honor.
I respect that people who make an excellent product have their recipes and secrets that they don't want to share because it's what makes their product special. I can tell you that the bun used here is better than any hot dog bun I've had. Sabrett stopped making them. Marci's gets theirs from a top notch bakery and they are better than what anyone else is using. His dogs are always fresh, hot, and more substantial than most of his competition. Great with just mustard, but his chili is excellent and the kraut is the best I've had.
Marci's will be introducing an Italian Hot Dog soon. I was told it will be on excellent pizza bread and that the dogs will be Best's, which are better for an Italian Hot Dog than Sabrett. The ingredients will be fried as is proper for an authentic Newark style Italian Hot Dog. And the size of the dogs will be 6/1 which no one else is doing. Can't wait to sample this one. I don't usually give rave reviews since I've been to so many hot dog joints. But Marci's is exceptionally good.
Marci's will be a welcome addition to this year's Annual New Jersey Hot Dog Tour.
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