If you’re ever on the Leonia/Englewood border on Grand Avenue right around lunchtime, do yourself a favor, and look for the aqua-colored food truck with prominent rainbow umbrella. Not only will you find inventive hot dog concoctions, but also an ebullient personality serving them up to you.
Meet Rosie, and her Weenie Wagon. Have a seat on her hand-painted portable bench. Order a famed “Rosie Dog” or two, an ice cold C & C Root Beer and stay awhile.
“We’re not just Weenies on Wheels” is the truck’s slogan printed just below the truck’s service window, and golly, is that an understatement, because it’s been more than just weenies Rosie has been peddling for the past two years.
She puts her heart and soul on a bun and has become — in her words, “the Weenie Bartender” — lending an ear and a smile to all who visit. Her stories have stories. But she’s saving those for a book one day. For now, it’s all about the “dogz” as she likes to call them.
Parked regularly on most weekdays (weather permitting) on Nordhoff Place and Sheffield Avenue, in Englewood’s industrial epicenter, Rosie’s Weenie Wagon serves quick bites to hard-working folks during the week, and brings smiles to the faces of kiddies and their families on weekends at various local festivals and open markets. She has a regular spot at The Closter Farmer’s Market on Sundays and has also done private parties and corporate events.
What makes Rosie’s Weenie Wagon so fantastic? Her creative hot dog inventions are essentially art on a plate, bursting with Latin flavors, vibrant colors and interesting textures. That’s because Rosie, the creator, is an artist and graphic designer by trade and a foodie by passion. Her dogs are one-of-a-kind — like her– and draw their culinary influences from Cuba, Mexico and even the great state of Hawaii.
And she’s one smart cookie when it comes to knowing the likes and tastes of her customer base. Due to the large Korean population of bordering Leonia, Rosie introduced The KimChi Dog, which includes spicy kimchi, bbq sauce and crunchy onions.
But it’s The Cubanoso and The Mexican Rosie Dogs that have her customers coming back for more. And at the price point of $2.50 a dog, they are getting a whole lot for their money.
Topped with homemade seasoned black beans, chili, potato stix, chopped raw onion and cheese, it’s easy to see why The Cubanoso is a fan-favorite while The Mexican boasts chili, cactus, jalapeños and cheese, providing a fiesta on a roll.
Not in the mood for a hot dog? No problemo. The “Sloppy Roe’s” are increasing in popularity amongst Rosie’s regular customers, with super-secret recipe ground beef, Thai sauce, cheese, ketchup, mustard and potato stix layered on a club roll. Make it a “Rosie Special” and you’ll wind up with TWO Sloppy Roe’s, a bag of chips and a soda of your choice (C & C Vanilla Cream, anyone?) for a mere $6.
Whether you order a side of nachos or rice and beans to spice things up or a Rosie Dog, you won’t be sorry. Rosie was taught to cook by her mother, whose Cuban recipes are a big influence on the way she approaches her menu.
The best way to follow that hard-to-miss aqua truck is to follow the Rosie’s Weenie Wagon Facebook page and/or Twitter account. Rosie posts daily and will let you know exact locale of the truck, as well as her specials of the day.
Lisa Pisano is a Bergen-county based lifestyle blogger, PR/Social Media consultant and content director. Her love and appreciation of food began at an early age, in the kitchen of her Italian-American home, and then extended to a fascination and enjoyment of all things foodie as an adult. Food is very much a central part of Lisa’s personal life — from partaking in culinary vacations and walking tours to dining throughout the NY/NJ Metro Area and developing original recipes. Professionally, she’s worked as the first in-house PR Manager of Manhattan’s Institute of Culinary Education and has provided consulting and content creation to food websites and restaurants. Lisa brings her passion for food, fashion, family and pop culture to life through her blog, mom a la mode. Follow Lisa on Twitter @momalamode and on Facebook.com/momalamode.