Gone to the dogs

Two "Tony Goes" and a Turbo Dog

Two “Tony Goes” and a Turbo Dog

It was Friday evening of one of those weeks. The question was posed, “What do you want for dinner?”

“An Italian Hot Dog,” came the reply.

Not one to argue, I took a quick inventory of what we had on hand and what we would need to produce this local favorite. A quick trip to the store and I was set.

For those not familiar, the “Tony Goes” is the Trenton version of the Italian Hot Dog: a a dog served on a torpedo roll with yellow mustard, potatoes and green peppers. The “original” Italian-style hot dog, at least according to the Sbarro and Maccaroni families of Trenton. They ran the Casino restaurant (hence one of the dog’s aliases, “Casino dog”) where the sandwich was a specialty. It’s the place the NJ Legislature deemed the home of the offical “Jersey Dog” by proclamation.

Now, I understand that there are other restaurants in the state the claim to have been the originator of this sandwich. I am not going to enter into that debate.

What I know is that I grew up on the dogs from the Casino. They are the “benchmark” I measure all others against.  Or, I should say, the WERE the benchmark. The family sold the restuarant in Trenton a few years back. They made a stab at relocating across the river in Morrisville, PA that didn’t last.

Now, when the mood is upon us, we have to make the dogs ourselves. It’s not that difficult and the results are filling and satisfying. Ideally prepared on a flattop griddle, a large frying pan works well. The idea is to pre-cook the potato (a microwave works well…cook on high until fork tender) and finish it off in the pan with a little oil so it is a little crispy on the outside, soft inside. The pepper should be cooked so the skin is just starting to show some browing and the flesh is softening but retains a little bite. The dogs (we generally use Ballpark Angus bun-sized) are cooked in the fry pan, turning every few minutes until they have browned a bit all around.

Slice open a good, fresh torpedo roll from your favorite local bakery. Add a little yellow mustard, the dog, the peppers and potatoes (NOTE: there are NO onions in this sandwich, just peppers, potatoes and the hot dog). Serve it up. It’s a meal unto itself.

As for a beverage to wash the dogs down with, when I was a kid my choice was the “Lime Rickey” an electric green lime flavored soft-drink.

Nowadays, a beer is good. Abita‘s Turbo Dog works well.


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One Response to “Gone to the dogs”

  1. Scott Kaplan Says:

    Perfect review! Too many memories of a casino dog to remember. Me and my friends from Morrisville always called them Casino dogs. My dad who the up in Trenton always called them Tony Goes. Drink of choice is of course a birch beer!! Wish I had one right now…YUMMY!

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