Italian Dog Day Afternoon
An Official Report

Our mission was simple: 
We were to determine once and for all who has the better Italian Hot Dog, Jimmy Buff's or Dickie Dee's, the two premier Essex County outlets for the delectable dogs.

Seven good citizens reported for the mission: Bob Davis Jr., Pat Culligan Farrelly, Don Scher, Joe Bilby, John Bilby, Mike McLafferty and your reporter, John F. Crowley.  We had been in training for some time, the mission having been scrubbed the previous week.  Most of us assembled at the North Roseville estate of this reporter, and we proceeded to our first destination:  Jimmy Buff's in West Orange.


We arrived at a quarter to noon on a Saturday, and the modest facade of Jimmy Buff's beckoned defiantly.    Our timing was good and we were served immediately. 


Behind the counter was Ishmael, who may or may not have been related to Jimmy Buff, hard at work among his Italian dog components.  Those Italian dog aficionados who have also been to Dickie Dee's will note that in comparison, Jimmy Buff's potatoes are thin round slices, as opposed to bite-sized chunks.  This distinction would figure prominently in the final tally. 

Behind Ishmael, Joe Bilby and son John prepare to chow down.  Joe ultimately gave the dog a provisional thumbs-up, declaring "It's the grease . . . and the potatoes," although paradoxically he noted that there were simply too many potatoes, making the dog "harder to eat as a sandwich" than a Dickie Dee's.  Buff's dog also got points off, he added, because "the peppers didn't resonate."   John summed up: "It's the grease." 

Notes: While judges were required to eat only a single dog at each venue, John Bilby consumed doubles!  Both Bilbys reported having eaten a full breakfast before the event.  Each used four napkins during this part of the mission, and each had a Coke.


Here three other judges are performing their momentous duty.  Mike, Don and this reporter agreed that while the potatoes were indeed delicious, Joe was correct in that they made for awkward eating.  Indeed, we had to remove some potato slices before we could even grapple with the sandwich.  Mike delared JB's dog "good as I remember," while Don remarked that "the grease is too fresh; there aren't enough miles on it."  Don also complained that the men's room light was out.

 Both Mike and Don had eaten breakfast, and each went though four napkins.  Mike accompanied his dog with a C&C orange soda, and Don had a Coke.  This reporter, nearly alone among the judges in his appreciation of gastronomic tradition, had a Yoo-Hoo.  I had skipped breakfast, went though six napkins and found the dog generally wanting.  Specifically, the bread (from Giordano's Bakery) didn't measure up to the DiPaolo Brothers' pizza rolls used by Dickie Dee's; indeed, it fell apart before before we could finish.  Luckily forks were provided.  Additionally, I agreed that the peppers -- and onions -- lacked the tang of their DD's counterparts.  Admittedly, the potatoes, however eaten, were the best part of this sandwich.

Having arrived after we five but before I had gotten the knack of the camera used for this report, Bob and Pat jumped right in.  Bob questioned Don's estimate of the age of JB's grease, reckoning that it seemed to be about 25 years old.  Pat declared her dog "greasy but good."  Bob had a Stewart's Orange-Cream soda, and fellow gourmand-in-the-know Pat enjoyed a delicious Yoo-Hoo.  Both reported having skipped breakfast.  Bob used four napkins, and Pat three, a level of delicacy that would not be repeated. 

And then it was back to Newark.

Onward to Part Two