Charlie's Pool Room - Unique Home of the World's Best Hot Dogs

Charlie's Pool Room
1122 East Blvd.
Alpha, NJ 08865
(908) 454-1364

I grew up on East Blvd. in Alpha, NJ in one of a series of row houses built in the early 1900s. While my old home has recently been declared unsafe for occupancy, another historic ediface right across the street is thriving. Locally, Charlie's Pool Room has acheived legendary status. A unique establishment with a tin ceiling, turn of the century candy counter, and a cash register as old as the proprieters themselves, Charlie's is the last of a dying breed of eateries.

A regional paper, The Star Ledger, describes CPR's unique allure and cuisine: "Creaky hardwood floors, TV tuned to the SciFi Channel, one pool table and one item on the menu - hot dogs, Kunzler beef/pork dogs topped with Grandma Fencz's secret sauce, 'succulent tomatoes and onions combined in an irreverent little sauce to please the palate,' according to a note on the wall.

"Brothers Joe and John Fencz do the cooking - on pans in the kitchen. Several weeks ago, a worker at Port Newark bought 100 Charlie's hot dogs for his crew. The sauce is sweetish and oniony. 'Absolutely fantastic sauce,' according to Joanne Friend. 'One of the best beef/pork dogs I've had,' Kamal Brown added. 'The sauce makes the dog.'"

Charlie's Pool Room - Full Interior
Charlie's Candy Counter
Joe Fencz
John Fencz

CPR remains a rarity, a restaurant that survives on the strength of only one menu item, but their famous hot dogs are deemed by many patrons to be the best they've ever had. It's not uncommon for businesses in the NYC area to order on the order of a hundred at a time. The trip is worth it.

While Charlie's recent publicity has helped to attract a larger number of cuisine tourists, CPR still remains a regional secret and the brothers are reluctant to expand their business beyond its current structure. While doing so is unquestionably a possibility, it would also erode the charm that makes Charlie's one of the most unique eating establishments in the country.

So, if you are fortunate enough to pass by this page and are in the Alpha, NJ area, do yourself a favor. Stop by Charlie's Pool Room and order the dogs with sauce. You'll be treating yourself to a delicious, unusual, and thoroughly satisfying experience.

John and Joe Fencz with the Star
Ledger S.W.A.T. Doggers


Charlie's Pool Room Reviews:

Check out hot dog pro John Fox's (in above picture) review of CPR on Roadfood, middle of this page.

Hollyeats gives Charlie's a five-star review!

The Star-Ledger's Pete Genovese (December 18, 2009) names Charlie's 1 of the "20 Jersey Food Experiences You Must Try Before You Die"