Jimmy Buffs – National Hot Dog Month Day 11

jimmy buffs

The National Hot Dog Month Tour visits Jimmy Buffs in Kenilworth, New Jersey with special guest dogger, John Fox. Mr. Fox is the “president of Hot Dog Nation,” so as the ambassador, I wanted to include him in on the fun. I asked John to take me to some New Jersey Icons, the first of which was Jimmy Buffs.

Jimmy Buffs is an old, New Jersey hot dog joint that has gone through many locations (there are two now: one in Orange and one in Kenilworth). The original Jimmy Buffs opened in Newark in 1932, but that spot is no longer operating.

Jimmy Buffs makes Italian Hot Dogs

An Italian hot dog is unlike any other hot dog you’ve ever seen. The real Italian hot dogs are only available in a few counties in New Jersey. A deep-fried hot dog (or two) is placed into pizza dough that’s been shaped like a large pita bread and is smothered with fried peppers, onions, and potato wedges. It is quite the mouthful, but it’s delicious!  James “Bluff” Racioppi, is the grandfather of both Jimmy Buff’s owners and the originator of this kind of sandwich.

The “Buffs” came from a mispronunciation of the word “Bluff.” apparently Racioppi was quite the card player and was known to bluff quite a bit. He’d serve Italian hot dogs to his fellow card players and they urged him to open a store. 81 years later, Jimmy Buffs is still putting on the dog. There’s a nice oral history in today’s video and the gentleman in the closing clip sums up what Hot Dog Stories is all about. You can get the full history on either of the Jimmy Buffs location websites.


I shoot Hot Dog Stories with a Kodak Zi8 camera with an Audio Technica ATR288W VHF Battery-Powered TwinMic Microphone System, a Flip Ultra HD camera, and a 60″tripod. I edit with Cyberlink PowerDirector 11 Ultimate. I will also take some stills with my new Canon EOS Rebel Camera.

About hotdogman

I enjoy traveling and eating hot dogs wherever I am. I like to sample the local variations of America's favorite encased meat and discovering the stories behind the hot dog, the vendor, and the regional preferences. I also write about How to Start a Hot Dog Business, The Hot Dog Truck, The Shark Tank, and I have a personal blog, RobMerlinodotCom


  1. Rob, really nice job and thank you for including Jimmy Buff’s on your tour.

  2. I moved away from NJ a few years ago, so I don’t know if it’s still there – did the Jimmy Buff’s in Scotch Plains (near the Bowcraft Amusement Park) close down?

  3. Jimmy Buffs, the Official dog of the Harmonica Joe’s Back Porch radio show, Sunday’s at 9pm on http://tunein.com/radio/Dream-Stream-Radio-s202280/

    Blues, Brews and Jimmy Buffs too!

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