Rutt’s Hut in Clifton: Home of the Ripper Since 1928

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When you think of North Jersey, chances are there are a variety of spots that come to mind that truly make it unique and special. For many, those spots include food and a side of nostalgia — and with good reason. Northern New Jersey is home to many famous culinary destinations big and small, from all frills and delicious eats to tailgate-style fried everything. One such destination on the fried end that is worth the trek is Rutt’s Hut in Clifton, New Jersey.

Home of ‘The Ripper,’ a deep-fried hot dog that is fried in such a way that causes the hot dog casing to crack and split {hence the name}, it’s also known for its legendary relish and other comfort foods — all to be eaten either inside or by the trunk or hood of your car on the side of Route 3 in Clifton. Having originally opened as a roadside stand in 1928, Rutt’s Hut in Clifton continues to be a local Essex County gem that is known to all and coveted by many, and here’s why:

How It Began

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The original roadside stand was opened in 1928 by Royal “Abe” Rutt and his wife, Anna. They sold the restaurant to its current owners, George Petropoulakis, Louis Chrisafinis, Nicholas Karagiorgis, and George Sakellaris in 1974. But for those worried that it’s been updated and has lost its old-school charm — fret not — Rutt’s still has its OG signs and charm.

Today the building is split into three separate sections: a restaurant, a bar, and a takeout counter, which is getting a ton of use during the COVID-19 times {in fact — the restaurant only allows takeout at this time}.

The Menu

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The relish is just as famous as the hot dogs — made with a secret blend of mustard and spices, and of course, there’s The Ripper’ hot dog. But if you think that that’s all Rutt’s has to offer, prepare to come hungry; beyond its selection of hot dogs, there are burgers, wraps, chili, sides like onion rings and fries, and lots more. Comfort/fast food to the max.

Read More: Ani Ramen: The OG Sip, Slurp, Repeat Ramen Spot in Montclair

The Tailgate Experience

rutts hut

Let’s be real: there is no official tailgate experience at Rutt’s, but we wanted to catch your attention. Essentially, going to Rutt’s is an experience, and you can sit in your car or tailgate in the parking lot with your food at your trunk. 10/10 would recommend, and it’s perfect for an “outdoor” family outing or date in the nicer months.

The Accolades

As LaVar Burton would say, “You don’t have to take my word for it” {shoutout to those who caught the ref 📖 🦋} — but truly, Rutt’s Hut is a legendary spot. It has been featured on the PBS special A Hot Dog Program, USA Today, numerous Food Network shows, and the Travel Channel’s Deep-Fried Paradise.  It is also listed in the book 1,000 Places to See in the USA and Canada Before You Die.

So, yeah, take our word for it. And order the Ripper!

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Written by:

Jen is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of both The Montclair Girl and The Hoboken Girl. Before her media career started at Conde Nast and then full-time at HG + MG, she worked as a public school educator in the Bloomfield Public Schools for 5 years. Jen started the sites to discover the amazing things happening in the North Jersey area and to highlight local businesses. When not shopping small or eating her way through North Jersey, she can usually be found walking her two pups, watching Bravo TV, and ordering takeout with her husband, an Essex County native.