Home Best of Guides Hot Grill: A Classic Hot Dog Spot in Clifton Since 1961

Hot Grill: A Classic Hot Dog Spot in Clifton Since 1961

by Jordan and Joelle Hernandez
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The tastiest Texas wieners may just be in New Jersey. The Hot Grill, located at 669 Lexington Avenue in Clifton, is a Passaic County staple where guests travel from near and far to get a taste of the famous menu items. While this eatery seemingly has one item for sale, the team has turned its staple product into something irresistible. We visited The Hot Grill and learned all about its history, how it got to where it is today, and what “All the Way Up” means.

About The Hot Grill

Friday the 13th doesn’t always mean bad luck. Nearly 60 years ago, on Friday, October 13th, partners Carmen La Mendola, Domenick Sportelli, Nick Dorris, and Peter Leonidas opened The Hot Grill in Clifton, NJ. They wanted to bring the taste of Texas to the Garden State. After working tirelessly for many years, the team was able to expand its roots from the 20-seat counter that opened on that fall Friday, to the current establishment that holds over 100 guests at a time.

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Over the years, customers have become regulars and stop in for the best Texas-style weiners. But what is a Texas Weiner? For those unfamiliar, this savory treat is a hot dog made from a custom blend of beef and pork that is deep-fried. Like most hot dog spots, additions of a cheese topping and a side of fries are encouraged. The founders wanted to take the menu one step further. That is where “All the Way Up” comes from.

hot grill clifton

All The Way Up

Regulars to The Hot Grill only know one way to get their wieners and that is “All the Way Up”. This automatically loads whatever item was requested from the menu with mustard, chopped onions, and chili sauce at no additional charge. In addition to the traditional hot dog, The Hot Grill menu includes other grilled staples such as hamburgers and cheeseburgers and a variety of sandwiches such as roast beef, turkey, grilled cheese, tuna salad, BLT, and fried fish. And yes, all of these can be ordered: “All the Way Up”. If those toppings aren’t enough, items like lettuce, tomato, bacon, and Taylor ham can be added as well. For a truly hearty meal, take the fries on the side with cheese and gravy. The prices for menu items are extremely affordable with sandwiches ranging from $3.50-$6.50 and platters at the $8 mark. Options for delivery and large-party catering are available.


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The Hot Grill knows its longevity in the restaurant industry is thanks, in large part, to its loyal customers.  Since its opening, many customers have been making THG a part of their own ongoing traditions. Guests can still see the original partners Carmen and Domenick hard at work in the store and can also meet new additions to the team. Not too much has changed since its opening days and customers like it that way. It seems there is no reason to fix or change the classics regulars have come to know and love. A few merchandise items are for sale for those who want to represent their love for THG outside of the store.

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To be even more in the know on upcoming events and contests, head to the THG website and sign up for the mailing list. If you visit, be sure to tag THG and mark #TheHotGrillOffical to appear on their channels.

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