Are you tired of salty hot dogs topped with your basic ketchup or mustard? Then you’re in luck. Tower Dogs is now open in Asbury Park, serving innovative, gourmet hot dogs (and more) along the boardwalk. With fresh toppings, tasty beef (plus vegan and gluten-free options), Tower Dogs takes hot dogs to the next level.
Hot dogs are made from 100-percent steak cuts of beef, with no fillers and barely any preservatives. “We have the minimal amount of preservatives allowed by law in the hot dogs. We take a minimal approach,” says owner Pat Yun, who adds that they don’t have a ton of salt, either. “It’s not health food, but it’s as close as you’re going to get.”
Rolls arrive at the restaurant partially baked; then they’re grilled to order on the inside until toasty and warm. In addition, they source toppings locally when possible and prepare them fresh every day. For example, all Tower Dogs specialty sauces are made from scratch using fine ingredients.
Much to the surprise of many patrons, Tower Dogs even makes their own relish. Yun says that customers question him, believing they got the wrong order. But then he explains what they see is real relish, which has more of a reddish than green color.
The origin of Tower Dogs begins with Princeton University’s Tower Club, one of the school’s oldest eating clubs. Yun hired Chef Jim Forkel to be head chef at the club. Forkel spent two decades there as head chef and eventually club manager. With a goal of changing how students ate, he put together a menu of fresh, quality made-to-order food. Along the way, his gourmet hot dog menu became popular with students.
In fact, the hot dogs were so popular that Yun and Forkel launched a food truck in the Princeton area. Shortly after, the duo brought Tower Dogs to Lawrenceville in 2016. However, they have since closed that spot and reopened in Asbury Park. They offer counter service as well as indoor and outdoor seating in a family-friendly space.
Mouth-Watering Menu at Tower Dogs
Of course, signature items are the star of the show at this hot dog spot. The “Asbury Dog” comes with avocado, cucumber, carrot, tomato, lettuce, red onions and Tower’s green goddess dressing. The “Roadhouse Dog” is a bacon-wrapped dog with Tower cheese sauce, barbecue sauce, frizzled onion and Tower barbecue ranch. The “Unlawful Waffle Dog” is deep fried with a waffle batter coating, served with honey maple mustard sauce for dipping. But if none of those delight your senses, you can also build your own hot dog.
It’s not all beef – or hot dogs – at Tower Dogs, however. They offer veggie burgers, chicken tenders, fries, nachos, pretzel nuggets, and chicken sandwiches, too. Gluten-free hot dog and hamburger buns are also available. Vegan options include vegan hot dogs, Beyond Vegan sausages, vegan burgers, Beyond vegan burgers, vegan chicken fingers and vegan nachos. “My wife is gluten-free so we’ve always been gluten conscious,” says Yun.
Finally, you can top off your meal with fried Oreos for dessert, which comes with chocolate sauce and powdered sugar.
All Photos: © Patty McLean Photography