After seeing comments on Syd's Weequahic-area
hot-doggery on the Old Newark "Guestbook" I recalled that
sometime back I was given a history of the place.
For those from the Weequahic area in the 1940s and 1950s, who,
like myself, had patronized Syd's in its earlier years, I have updated
and expanded that history of this once-popular Weequahic landmark,
in hopes that it will revive old memories for others.
In 1941, Syd Goldstein, whose family was in the dairy business
in Bayonne, bought a small restaurant at 340 Chancellor Avenue between
Summit Avenue and Hobson Street, near Weequahic High School.
He renamed it "Syd's" and introduced a menu that featured
hot dogs and hamburgers, but also included Rolled Beef, Ham, Cheese
Sandwiches, Tuna and Egg Salad, and Potato and Kasha Knishes.
Prices of Hot Dogs
Earlier in 1941, you could buy a hot dog at Syd's in two sizes:
three cents or six cents.
Near the end of 1941 after the start of World War II, the three
cent hot dog was dropped. The price of the larger hot dog was raised
to ten cents.
When the woman who supplied Syd's with knishes died in 1942, Goldstein
replaced them on his menu with "Syd's Homemade French Fries,"
and they became an instant hit with many patrons.
Syd Sells Syd's
In 1947 Syd Goldstein sold his popular Weequahic luncheonette
to Mort Bratter. He continued with the original Syd's menu1
until 1957 when he sold to Mort Kaufman and Eddie Rose.
During the Bratter era of Syd's ownership, in the early 1950s,
Elliott Sudler reminded me, you were likely to find Philip, Jack,
or Bernie at Syd's. It was their favorite neighborhood hang-out.
"Philip" was Philip Roth, who would later become a famous
novelist and two-time winner of the National Book Award.
"Jack" was Jack Kirsten, who would later become a notable
and widely and highly-regarded Essex County Superior Court judge.
"Bernie" was Bernie Marcus who would later found the
2,000+ store chain, "Home Depot" with more than 50 billion
dollars in annual sales.
Sara Friedman Fishkin (Weequahic 1960) recalled to me her visits
to Syd's in that era to satisfy her passion for "those french
fries, well done, in small brown bags, with wooden forks."
Bratter operated Syd's restaurant until 1960 when he sold it to
Aranow had previously owned "Hot Dog Haven" just two
blocks up Chancellor Avenue. He subsequently dropped the name "Syd's"
and replaced it with the name of his former Chancellor Avenue eatery
"Hot Dog Haven," which by this time had been renamed the
Syd's Name is Revived
The Syd's name was dormant until 1967 when it was revived by Lenny
and Betty Weiss when they opened their restaurant at its present
location in Millburn Mall at 2933 Vauxhall Road in Union at Millburn
In 1996, the Weiss's sold their revived "Syd's" eating
establishment in Vauxhall, Union, to Robert and Beth Grossman. The
Grossmans had been longtime Syd's customers.
Current Syd's Owners
In September 2003, Syd's once again underwent a change of ownership
when the establishment was purchased by a father and son, Arie and
Eric Niederman. Arie is a 1965 graduate of Weequahic High School.
Son Eric formerly managed a restaurant in Fanwood--The Chippery.
Today's menu at Syd's has seen many changes from the original
Syd's on Chancellor Avenue, but the Hot Dog and Hamburger remain
the major attractions that continue to bring in the customers, even
from distant places.
Owner Eric Niederman informed me for this "Memory" that
today's Hot Dog at Syd's is $3.10, and the Hamburger is $3.45.
* * *
Online Reviews of the Current Syd's
The HollyEats.com website, which ranks New Jersey hot dogs, made
this comment: " Many say Syd's serves the best dogs in Jersey.
While the Rutt Hutt fires their dogs, Syd's takes a foot-long all
beef dog and char grills it."
The Roadfood.com website has this to say: "A big 5 to a lb.
dog is sold at Syd's in Union. This is the place to go for the best
all beef dog in the east, and perhaps the country."
Chowhound's Tristate Region Message Board on subject " Best
hot dog joints in Jersey" said "I like Syd's the best.
You must try them! ... They are big (5 to a lb.) use Best all-beef
kosher style franks with natural casing. Even better than Max's
Munchmobile Forum on NJ.com said: "About the best hot dog
... my favorite all-grilled beef is Syd's in Union."