Sunday, July 09, 2006

New England Style Hot Dog Buns

Like many residents of California I wasn’t born here. My first twenty years were spent on the east coast. The majority of it was in Maryland just outside Washington D.C. I spent some time in the south during my military service. When I turned nineteen my dad was transferred to Vernon Connecticut located outside of Hartford. My brother and I tagged along and discovered a few food differences that the area held. Subs were called grinders and hot dogs came in a bun that is unique to New England. A top sliced bun that has flat sides is buttered, grilled and holds the dog firmly so it doesn’t fall apart like some side cut buns. This same style of bun is used in Maine to make a lobster roll. Brother Tom and I would jump into my VW bug and cruise up the interstate to Howard Johnson’s to feast on fried clams and hot dogs on the buttered buns.

In fits of nostalgia I’ve mentioned this hot dog bun to friends and family and usually got a blank stare and a “what you talking about” reply. For a while I thought that maybe I’d made this up in my head. An internet search came up with some pictures so I knew these buns must still exist. I emailed several baking companies trying to locate a source that would send some to the west. No luck until two weeks ago when my search came upon Portuguese Foods.com. Hot damn, there they were! I whipped out the credit card and ordered up. This turned into a bit of expense because I had to pay for speedy shipping and handling. The cost per bun is about $1.75, but that’s a small price for nostalgia. On arrival I fired up the griddle and served them up. The wife and kids loved them and they were every bit as good as I remembered. What makes them so good? It’s the buttery sides.

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Now this may not be the end of the story. I thought to myself, ‘What if I could start a reciprocal trade agreement with a foodie on the northeast coast?’ I’ll send you some of the products that are bountiful here in the S.F. Bay area and you send me some New England goodies. Have your people email my people!

48 comments:

maura said...

Ooh, I feel your pain. I grew up on the CT shoreline (Westbrook), and the first thing I do when I fly home is get a clam roll from Bill's or a hot dog from Johnny Ad's...just so I can have that bun.

Thanks for understanding!

Mona said...

umm, hello!?!? i'm hurt i wasn't the first person you thought of. ha! although i will brag i'm the opposite. i am a "real" california girl, born and raised for six years, anyway, before i moved to the east coast. those hot dog buns look fabulous. just tell me what you need friend and i'll send it your way. (although the maine coast is a little ways away...)

Sean said...

Yes! You absolutely cannot have a lobster roll without this style of bun. I've been dying for these for years. (I'm another northeastern transplant in California...). Thanks for the tip!

lovecritters said...

I'm also a transplant to California and have called every company that makes these buns and as you know they don't plan on selling these buns out here or will they sell them direct to you. After calling these companies at least 2 times a year for the last 10 years, I finally broke down and purchased the pan that you can make them in. Haven't made them yet because it's been too bloody hot in the San Diego area for the last few weeks to turn on the oven but when it finally cools down I'm going to give it a try. Who knows maybe I could make a business out of it and be the first to distribute these fantastic tasting buns out on the west coast for us transplanted easteners. LOL I recently ordered stuffed quahogs from a company out of Cape Cod and they were so great in that they went to the Stop'N Shop and sent me a couple of packages with my quahogs. I've since used them all by filling them with fried clams, lobster, hot dogs and even cold tuna salad. YUM YUM YUM

Anonymous said...

I echo all the above. Even after 30 years in California, I still miss top-sliced buns and have friends bring me a couple of packages when they visit.

Anonymous said...

try http://mapleandmore.com a bit cheaper...

j said...

I never knew that we have our own style of hot dog buns out here, though why not, with all of the other weird stuff we (specifically RIers) have... here's my question: if they have round-sided buns, do they still use those little cardboard sleeves to serve hot dogs and lobster rolls in? It has just occurred to me that the sleeve not only keeps everything together nicely, it also keeps your hands from getting covered in butter-and-celery-salty goodness.

-Jeff in RI

lovecritters said...

Hi Jeff, Rhode Island is where I am originally from. Anyway, there are like maybe 2 places that I'm aware of in the San Diego area that serve Lobster Rolls (nothing like back East though - real skimpy on the filling) and absolutely no place that I know of that serves Clam Rolls. They are not served in the cardboard sleeves. The regular buns that sell everywhere are used at events; Baseball games etc., and the sleeves are used there.

Anonymous said...

Man, it IS a small world, I cannot believe that I can NOW prove to my friends here in Colorado that this bun style exist. This former New Englander can now have square buns and Cains mayo!

Anonymous said...

I'm going to throw a wrinkle into all of this New England nostalgia. I came across this post while Googling for the name of these very buns - however I remember having them in the early 70's when my mom and I would have lunch out at the local Woolworths in rural Canada. Not even in coastal rural Canada...

I agree - these are the superior hot dog bun.

lovecritters said...

I shop on Famous Foods website periodically. I believe they are connected to FoodTV. Anyway, I asked them a few months ago to consider adding them to their New England Product line and low & behold I checked today & they are there. I'm sure others must have asked as well. I'm so excited!!! The url is...good price too. http://www.famousfoods.com/breads.html

Brad Davis said...

OMG! You guys ROCK! Hey, I live in Monrovia, California and I so remember HOWARD JOHNSONS' Clam ROLLS! I CAN'T stand it anymore! OK so the famousfoods.com link looks like a winner for the rolls, now for the clams. Where to order up the clams? Anyone close to me wanna have a clam roll face stuffing party? :-) Go to www.fjcruiser.cc and sign up and find me, I own the place, my name their is FJ CRUISER NEWS, send me a PM (private message) heck, you never know! Maybe some of you folks are into desert 4x4's and trailering and such, a Desert Clam Fest? hehe Harleys TOO!

SINCERLY, Brad Davis www.plumbers.cc

DB said...

Y'know, if you can't find "New England style" hot dog buns, all you need to do is take a slice of Wonder Bread and fold it in half...that's basically what they are.

Anonymous said...

Been there done that with the slice of bread...just isn't the same. Finally after many years of asking several companies yearly to start selling them out here and I'm sure many other people have as well, they are finally coming down in price & are a lot easier to get from back east. Plus famousfoods.com also has a number of other food items from back east that you can't get out here.

Anonymous said...

The technical term for those buns are actually "Frankfurter rolls"...

-from another Vernon, CT person who knows what you mean about buttered buns!!

Anonymous said...

THESE SOME GOOD LOOKING HOTDOG BUNZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!!!!!!!!!!!

UM..... TASTE E!

Anonymous said...

Pepperidge Farms makes them and sells them from Maine to Florida, I believe.

Anonymous said...

You can order Wonder NE style buns at famousfoods.com. You get 18 for $4.95 plus s & h.

Deb said...

Dang . I am a Connecticut Girl living in Cali .. I miss Bill's .. What I would give for a hot lobster roll...

Anonymous said...

I live in GA but was born and raised in New Hampshire. It is the same down here. No good buns! I bring a few bags home to GA after a visit to NH and they are always a hit!

Kev Mystic, CT said...

Ahh, lucky me! I still live in New England and have direct access to these rolls. If it ain't in a New England dog roll, it ain't right! Clam roll stands are open and the whole belly clams are cook,n at Sea Swirl!

Anonymous said...

I know that look! I have to describe them every time I say the name. I lived in Brunswick Maine, compliments of the Navy, from ages 8 to 12. This was the only type hot dog bun we could buy...we ate everything on them from hot dogs to lobster salad. 50 years later I still miss them. I wish I could find them locally..even unsliced hot dog buns would be a nice treat! Thanks for the info.

Faye Kane said...

I've been looking for those buns for 40 years!

Thank you!!!

Faye Kane said...

Get a dozen direct from the factory & shipped the day they're baked for 45¢ each!

http://www.famousfoods.com/hotdogbusl18.html

Anonymous said...

Beware, Anonymous! The Pepperidge Farms top sliced hot dog bun is ALL WRONG. I just bought some by accident (no problem getting new england style buns here in upstate NY) --and they are crazy. What they are is a regular hot dog bun cut from the top down on a slight diagonal. No raw flat sides to butter and grill, completely wrong. Luckily in this area Freihofer makes a New England Style roll that is perfect. You can tell it because only the end rolls have a side crust....Good luck getting it to the west coast, and send some to Texas for us Winter Texans too!

Anonymous said...

I grew up in New England but have lived in CA for the past 20 years and I miss those buns! My bf who has lived in CA all his life had his first bun with a lobster roll in Cape Cod and has been talking about that bun ever since. They do not exist out here. Thanks for the tip about famousfoods.com. I just ordered some! I also plan to make them since I bought a mold for them.

Anonymous said...

There is a little place called The Market Grill coming soon to Monrovia Ca. that will be serving link hot dogs boiled in beer, in a home made baked fresh daily, grilled in butter split top New England hot dog bun. If you think that last sentence was a mouthful, wait until you have one of these. The owner is from Lowell and wants to bring some of New Englands favorites to Ca. Look for late November 2009.

jancass said...

I only lived on the east coast for a couple of years but have been craving these buns for over 40 years. And not for use with dogs or lobster. I used them for a deep fried "French Toast" that were incredible. The batter was the usual eggs and milk plus flour and a dash of salt. Almost like a pancake batter. Dip the buns in and pan fry in oil. Serve with a powdered sugar/milk/vanilla syrup drizzle. I can still taste them!

I'm in Arizona and would love to know where to find them.

To the uneducated, they do taste different than the normal hot dog bun. It's not just the way they are sliced!

Anonymous said...

LOVE these buns...living in NC we can get them at our local grocery store. Bunny Bread makes these...all my family and friends that come here buy bags of them and take back to FL and GA!!! Hotdogs are just better in these buns.

Ingrid said...

All I want for Thanksgiving is a New England Hot Dog. :(

They're so delicious, I don't understand how they aren't distributed nationwide. Thank you for understanding many foodie's predicament.

Anonymous said...

Discovered these on one of my yearly trips to Maine, at a little roadside stand in Wiscasset called 'Red's Eats.' Reds is famous for their lobster rolls, but I just wanted a quick hot dog, and man was it the best I ever had. Not only these wonderful buttered and grilled buns, but they also split the frank and put it on the grill as well, then serve with some cheese, mustard and sour kraut. Wow! I always buy a few bags of these buns at a Hannafords grocery store in Maine to bring back to Texas. They freeze well. You can thaw a couple in the microwave, grill, and enjoy.

Anonymous said...

When I was in college in Saint Paul 45+ years ago there was a restaurant just half a block from campus that served these hot dog buns. How they ended up in the Midwest I don't know, but I still salivate when I think about them. Thanks for the URL for a source.

Anne said...

I grew up in Lima, Ohio. There used to be a Red Barn (hamburger joint) in town when I was in high school and they served their fish sandwiches on these buns. They were the best fish sandwiches I have ever had and since then I have never seen one of those buns in Ohio. Sigh...

Anonymous said...

The Market Grill
524 s. Shamrock ave
Monrovia, ca
They have the best New England Style hot dogs and buns baked fresh daily.
The buns are grilled in butter on the outside and the natural casing dogs are simmered in beer.

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Anonymous said...

I'm in Chicago and Woolworth's had these in their cafeterias in the '60's, I've missed them all these years, will order now.

Sylvia said...

I have never had these buns, but found some that I could order online.. I wasn't sure if they were going to be available, but they were and when they got here they were totally worth the wait! So awesome!
-Sylvia
Kitchen Scales

capnken said...

wow. i miss them too. I am in MA this week and will take some home to seattle. my solution is to slice the sides off the round kind of bun with a serrated bread knife, then butter them and fry in a pan. pretty close.

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Anonymous said...

I love the Hot Dogs that Woolworth had they were on The New England buns grilled with butter. That was in Fremont california in the 60's and 70's I sure do miss them. I am now in Grants pass ,Oregon would love to find them here :)

Matt Bugno said...

Hi all. The original toasted hot dog bun is just a slice of bread buttered and grilled in a pan (like grilled cheese sandwich). Then when grilled to perfection you just pick it up fold it in half and stack them on a plate.. This is how they were always made in our house.. Now my Midwestern wife won't have them any other way. Never have to bother getting any kind of hot dog buns as there is usually a loaf of bread about the abode. Just thought I would let you know how to make the Yankee frugal method.

Enjoy!

Angel said...

I'm in Cleveland, OH and used to work at an eatery inside an old Woolworth's as a cook/waitress. They had these type of buns with a jumbo hot dog that I ate all the time and grew in LOVE with. I craved them so bad after I quit working there. Then I found Fudrucker's severed thier hot dogs with these same buns, but alas, as every good place I find to eat here, it closed. Note, I swear, everytime I find a good place to eat, within a year they close. Of course, 90% of those have HORRIBLE service. In fact, one was so bad, I had to wait an extra 45min after finished eating because the waitress had no time to ring up the bill. I actually drove almost 3hrs away so I could get one. I did look for the buns, but no one had a clue what I was talking about and I didn't know there was a name for them. I did here this term "new england style" a few years back, but still couldn't find them.
However, I just did a search and found out wonder actually makes them and a few other places, but of course, none of them are sold anywhere near here. I am grateful, that for $5 I now can buy online and have them shipped for a mere $10 more!

Anonymous said...

sigh, i grew up in massachusetts and now i'm in the mid-west, no one knows what i'm talking about when i ask for a propoer n.e. style hot dog roll. apparently calling it a roll is mysterious enough, let along describing it's shape.

Anonymous said...

I forgot all about these rolls. All I have to do now is find a company that will make an organic version. I don't care how good they are... I'm not touching white bread that probably has high fructose corn syrup and other unhealthy ingredients in them. Maybe it'll be worth it to spend the $35 for a split top bun pan and make my own.

Anonymous said...

just had several packages of NE hot dog rolls sent as christmas presents to my family in seattle (also a couple of packages to me) from famousfoods.com in new bedford - their "price is very fair" to enjoy these treats. had canadian friends at my home when package was delivered - they laughed when finding out what was in the box...........that is until i "buttered up and toasted a few" so they could sample.....THEY LOVED THEM and can't wait until summer for me to do hot dogs or better yet lobster salad :)....had my garden club in for bar-b-q in july - did hot dogs with the "imported buns" 12 ladies devoured 3 dozen buns :)

Anonymous said...

funny to read all these comments. I came here to find a picture of the "odd" shaped rolls to share with my wife who is from Chicago. I grew up in Mass. and love Fenway Franks, Whole Clam Rolls from Browns in Salsbury and Lobstah Rolls where they use the whole lobster, not just the tails like out west. Living in Arizona , I miss Wachusett potato chips and Cain's relish but I always get care packages from back east.

Anonymous said...

Marzaks fine foods in Denver has the new england style rolls