Irving's Deli (PASTRAMI !) more pics added 12-12

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Filet Mignon
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RE: Irving's Deli (PASTRAMI !) more pics added 12-12 2009/04/14 23:12:53 (permalink)
I'm going to take the side of Mark, the owner of Irving's, in this "special recipe" debate...
and here's why....!
here's the facts, as I see them:

This is the very first restaurant venture for Mark Singer, so in all fairness to Mark, YOU know way more about hot dog suppliers/special recipes/brands, etc..
Mark had to pretty much take a crash course in hot dogs..
JOHN FOX has been a hot dog expert for at least 5 years, maybe more..

So I do believe that MARK may also have been CONVINCED by the Sabrett factory guy that they are giving him a special hot dog recipe!
(look how many  were "convinced" that Bernie Madoff was such a decent guy to invest with...)

I think that you owe it to Mark, and to yourself and us Roadfooders (and loyal John Fox fans)  to take MARK up on his offer to take you to the factory!!!
I do remember you saying in a previous thread (maybe even in page 1 of THIS one!)
that you realize you never gave him your number, or something to that effect...
I would love for you to get to the root of this ; if you believe that Mark is BLUFFING you, then call him on his bluff!!!

Also, with this tough economy nowadays, is it remotely possible that Sabrett's may have changed it's policy?
I agree with Ken that it was a VERY beefy hot dog, much more so than other Sabrett's I've eaten...    my Aunt and Uncle raved about it, saying it was the best hot dog they ever had! 

So I do

John Fox
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RE: Irving's Deli (PASTRAMI !) more pics added 12-12 2009/04/15 06:37:15 (permalink)

First off let me say that I like Mark and have talked with him for quite a long time on 3 different occasions at Irving's. When they were open only a few weeks and before I even went, I spoke with him on the phone and asked him about his hot dogs. I wanted to know the brand, where he got them from, etc. He was very cordial and nice to talk to, but he wouldn't tell me who made his dogs or where they came from. Which I totally understand from his point of view.
When I went to Irving's for the first time I spoke with Mark for a little while before ordering. He excused himself to speak with someone else. While waiting for him to return, I asked one of the guys behind the counter what brand of hot dog was served. He didn't know. At this time another employee walked by me with a package of hot dogs. I stopped him to look at the label which was not visible since the package was upside down. I asked the employee to turn the package right side up so that I could see the label. As he was doing this, Mark saw what was happening and ran over to stop his employee, but it was too late. I saw the package with the Sabrett label.

This was when Mark told me about the special recipe. I went into the whole bit about speaking with the various people I mentioned in my previous post. I also promised Mark that since he didn't want anyone to know where he got his dogs from and that I found out without him freely giving me the information, that I wouldn't post about it or mention it on a forum like this. The only reason that I'm doing so now is that Mark told me it would be ok to do so. But he did insist that his dogs were made to a special recipe. He even named a person at Marathon that I spoke with. At this point I thought that there was a possibility that Mark indeed was given a special recipe dog and that Marathon had changed it's policy. Mark offered to take me with him to the factory and I accepted. He also said to call the company if I wanted and to post about it.

When I left, I realized that Mark never asked for my number, he just said he would get in touch with me in the future. At some point before my next visit I spoke with someone at Marathon who reaffirmed what I had been told by them previously. When I first called there it was because I had bought a 5 lb package of Papaya King franks at one of their restaurants in Manhattan for double the price of what I paid for at a distributor. I was told that they were the same exact dogs and I called to find out. The person I spoke with thought that I was looking to open my own place and told me that I could have the same EXACT franks that Papaya King used and that there were no special recipes. We had quite a long conversation and he went into the reasons why people claim they have a special recipe made for them even though they don't.

It's been my experience that many owners of hot dog establishments claim all sorts of things. That the mustard is homemade when I've seen the gallon jars behind the counter. Some have claimed that they make their own dogs on premise and later admitted that they didn't when I asked to see the sausage making equipment. I can give numerous examples, and I will tell about one in another post.
I have thought about the possibility that Mark may have been told his dogs were a special recipe. But then that would mean that the person from Marathon would be lying. Not only would that be bad for business, but he might be open for a potential lawsuit. I was told up front that Sabrett makes only 2 recipes. And this was when they thought I was opening my own place. When I called after speaking with Mark I was told that Marathon did not change their policy and I was given some reasons why.
So many people have claimed what Mark has that I'm not really surprised, although Mark was so convincing that he had me thinking that perhaps he did have a unique dog. That's why I called the company. On other occasions with other people making the same claims, I don't even bother.
The next time I went to Irving's and met Mark I waited to see if he would bring up the subject and/or invite me to the plant. He didn't, so I concluded that maybe he was uncomfortable discussing it. And besides, I got my answer. Unless of course the people at Marathon weren't being truthful to me. Which I doubt.
The next time I go to Irving's, I will bring up the subject. As for the taste, different sizes and methods of cooking will account for that. Perhaps a different casing as well. Shortly before closing Matt from Amazing Hot Dog switched to a larger Sabrett and it tasted beefier and less spicy than the smaller ones. This was my observation as well as Matt's. And Marathon did not tell him nor did he request a special recipe dog. In the case of Irving's, it was a new size. Marathon told me that they had to make a new mold, but used the same recipe. Maybe the new size was justification for claiming a unique or "special dog made for us." Though I don't believe it is a special recipe.
Maybe I'll call CSI for help in cracking this one.
John Fox
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RE: Irving's Deli (PASTRAMI !) more pics added 12-12 2009/04/15 07:43:09 (permalink)

John, now you got my curiosity up...please find the time to tell that story!!!!

Late 2006/early 2007 a new restaurant opened in Newburgh, N.Y. called World's Best Hot Dogs and Hamburgers. A few Roadfooders who lived nearby went and gave the place rave reviews for hot dogs, hamburgers and fries. When asked where they got their dogs from, they would only say a provisions company from Connecticut. They did not claim a special recipe. I made a call and tried to get some information. Beforehand some of the Roadfooders told the owners that I might be able to discover the source of the dogs. The 2 partners read the posts and had some fun challenging some of the guys to guess the dogs.
I'm familiar with some of the Connecticut brands, so I thought I had a shot at guessing the brand. When speaking with one of the partners on the phone, I was only able to confirm that they used 2 sizes; one a smaller dog with casing that they prepared dirty water style, the other a longer skinless dog that they charbroiled. You could also get the longer dog with a marinated sauce. I was told that both dogs were from the same company and were all beef. I asked if they were from a small butcher shop (where in all probability I wouldn't be able to guess the brand), or from a known commercial producer in which case I might be able to determine the source. I was told that they came from a known hot dog company.
In January of 2007 a fellow Roadfooder and I made the trip up to Newburgh to visit 3 places including World's Best. My friend used the bathroom while I looked at a menu. We did not identify ourselves as Roadfooders. When it was my turn to use the restroom I went through the door and instead of turning immediately to my left (where the bathroom was located), I mistakenly walked to the end of the small hallway thinking the bathroom was through the door at the end. Instead I wound up in the kitchen where I saw boxes CLEARLY LABELLED SABRETT! No one was back there, so I took a quick peek in the refrigerator where I saw packages of the long Sabrett dogs.
Of course I didn't tell the partner that was there on this particular day. And since they didn't volunteer the info, I didn't post it here, only that I did know the brand. We eventually identified ourselves as Roadfooders and spoke with the owner. His partner was not there. When asked what I thought I was eating, I replied "Sabrett". The smaller snap dog prepared in water tasted exactly like the many dirty water Sabretts I sampled the previous summer as a member of the S.W.A.T. Team. I would have guessed this even if I hadn't seen the packages. The longer dog also had the familiar Sabrett flavor, though it would have been just a little harder to identify being charbroiled. The marinated dog (which was good, but I preferred the unmarinated ones) would have been hard to identify.
When I replied "Sabrett" the owner had a shocked look on his face. He then told me that he would never use Sabrett, that his dogs were much better. I told him that I had many Sabretts and that these were Sabrett. Then we left the subject alone. The dogs were very good and the fries were some of the best I've had. I didn't get to sample the burgers.
A few months later I was back with more Roadfooders on a New York Hot Dog Tour. This time the other partner was there. He didn't know me but mentioned to our group that someone was in there and mentioned that they used Sabrett. I identified myself and told him that I stood by what I said. He laughed condescendingly and said that although he used Sabrett mustard, the dogs weren't Sabrett. I didn't tell him of my discovery but since he came off as a wiseguy, I told him that I would bet him money that the dogs in his refrigerator were Sabrett. He wouldn't take the bet. He made up some excuse that it wouldn't be worth the money for someone to know the brand that he used.
Afterwards I did post on another site. I gave the place a good review and briefly mentioned that the dogs were Sabrett. Shortly after, the partner that I offered to bet posted that while he appreciated my review, I was wrong about the brand. I replied that I was sure of what I posted although I didn't mention that I saw the packages and labels. I got no further response.
Later that year World's First went out of business. A few months ago I happened to be looking over this old thread when I saw that this guy had responded! He claimed that he was now willing to bet me $5,000.00 and would show me the proof. Two years later!! Like he didn't have time to go and take the packages out of his refrigerator and put something else in there. He even told me that I could e-mail him personally rather than post on the forum to save me the embarrasment. I asked him if he opened again and I revealed how I knew for sure that I was eating Sabretts. I got no response. I contacted a Roadfooder who lives nearby and was told that this place did not open back up. Yet this guy wanted to take me up on my bet 2 years later. Strange indeed.
I don't mean to disparage people who own hot dog establishments or make broad generalizations about them. Some of them I consider friends. Some freely share information regarding where they get their dogs. Others respectfully decline to give information. Others are misleading while some outright lie. Many can't believe it makes a difference to me and consider me strange. I was told by one woman "It's none of your damn business!".
The important thing is if it's a hot dog that you like. But I like knowing just to satisfy my curiosity. And also so I can obtain the same dog if I want to make it at home.
Junior Burger
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RE: Irving's Deli (PASTRAMI !) more pics added 12-12 2009/05/05 21:08:54 (permalink)

Junior Burger
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Re:Irving's Deli (PASTRAMI !) more pics added 12-12 2009/05/20 20:18:38 (permalink)

Jut to let everyone know that I did go to Harolds on Mothers dad and spoke with Harold himself regarding his health salad.  Harold was the owner of the claremont diner in Verona and it is the same salad.
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Re:Irving's Deli (PASTRAMI !) more pics added 12-12 2009/06/06 00:02:52 (permalink)
Baah Ben
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Re:Irving's Deli (PASTRAMI !) more pics added 12-12 2009/06/06 01:02:09 (permalink)
Great article..thanks Acer..This is not good news.

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