Jersey hot dogs go to Hollywood WNY native brings his favorite NJ franks to the stars

After making his living in a variety of occupations – as a hairdresser for four years, a drummer for six, a corporate real estate director for eight, and a chef for 20 – West New York native Joe Fabrocini finally has his dream job.

Inspired by his favorite New Jersey hot dog joints, Fabrocini recently opened Fab’s Hot Dogs in Reseda, Calif., just northwest of Los Angeles, with his former father-in-law, Frank Buzzo.

“I have always wanted to own a hot dog place because I love hot dogs,” said Fabrocini by phone last week. “I have always loved hot dogs, ever since my father used to take us to Callahan’s and Rutt’s Hut.”

Rutt’s Hut is a long-time favorite hot dog joint in Clifton that has been featured on TV and in commercials due to its low prices and unique deep-fried hot dogs. Rutt’s attracts families, truckers, and old time Jerseyans.

Out in California, Fab’s is gaining its own following.

It may be a small, local place with seating for only eight at a time, but it is known to draw a crowd from all over California.

“I have had people drive from Long Beach, which is approximately two hours from here,” said Fabrocini. He also said that many people who are originally from New Jersey go out of their way to visit his place and get a taste of home.

Starting a trend with Jersey dogs “When I moved to California, I was really surprised you could not get a good hot dog like in New Jersey,” said Fabrocini.

Fabrocini said that he gets all his hot dogs from a New Jersey manufacturer. “People out here are really loving them,” he said. “They are not used to the quality that they are getting from these hot dogs.”

One of the most popular options on the menu is the New Jersey-inspired “Ripper” dog, a pork and beef combination made for deep-frying.

“It is actually becoming quite a trend out here,” said Fabrocini. He added that so far, his is the only place in the area that has the deep-fried dog. “I like to call it the Ripper of the West.”

The menu also features the dogs with a variety of toppings typical of different cities and states across the country. For example, the Texas Burrito Dog is wrapped in a tortilla with chili and crumbled corn chips, and the Manhattan Dog, with sauerkraut, red onions, and mustard, is meant to imitate the hot dogs sold by the city’s street vendors.

However, Fabrocini said he prefers the hot dogs served at Crif Dogs in the East Village when he is in town.

Want some of my tots? The menu also offers no-frills steamed and grilled dogs, hamburgers with the traditional toppings, and a variety of fries, including tater tots. Patrons can also order the homemade beef and vegetable chili.

Though Fabrocini opened his place just two and a half months ago, he is already thinking big.

“I would like to have five or six of these around Los Angeles,” said Fabrocini.

He added that he would like his daughter Gabrilla, who is now 15, to take over for him someday.


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