DUMONT, N.J. — Walk into Jolly Nick’s on E. Madison Avenue in Dumont between 11:15 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. and you’d think you’re at a Jersey Shore hot dog joint on a hot summer's day.
The tables are fully occupied with dozens of middle and high school students laughing over loaded hot dogs and fries, the grill sizzling in back.
Beach umbrellas and standing tables make for a relaxed atmosphere, as does the owner’s philosophy.
“We give students a credit system,” said co-owner Jim Strohmeyer, Jr., who runs the place with his father, who writes down all orders on slips of paper that he passes back to his son.
“The majority of them come back to pay," the younger Strohmeyer said. "We know who they all are because they’re in here daily.”
Nick Zambitto, 88, opened the hot dog eatery’s first location in Cresskill in the 1960s. Decades later, two more opened in Westwood and Dumont.
The Westwood spot is now Jack's Cafe. The Dumont location has been open more than a dozen years..
Longtime Westwood and Cresskill customers still come for their favorite dogs, but Dumont students are just as loyal.
“Mozzarella sticks and fries,” said eighth-grader Jason Dominguez from in front of the counter on Wednesday afternoon — something he finds himself saying almost every day.
“They make the food really quick,” he said. “And it’s amazing.”
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