I travel for standup shows a fair amount of the time and I like to scout out places for this foodblog and just in general (I mean, I am not driving hours to eat at McDonald’s. As my Dad used to say on vacation “shut up, we can eat that at home”). When I had a show in Hoboken a little while back at The Shannon Bar, I decided to visit the Hoboken home of my favorite place to eat in Atlantic City: Tony Boloney’s. If you aren’t familiar, Tony Boloney’s is Mike Hauke’s amazing Pizza and Sandwich place, 3 blocks for the ocean in AC (2 blocks from the old Revel, 300 Oriental ave. You can’t miss it. Go there. You’ll thank me.). They make their own everything (and use some amazing bread from AC) and they bill themselves as “Indigienous Atlantic City Grub”. I call it “F-ing Ridiculous”.
I googlemapped the Hoboken outpost and made my way there. They have great fountain area set up with no mass produced beverages, and another little fridge selling homemade mozzarella (Oh yeah, did I mention they also do that? Because they do. 12 kinds. Along with pizza that will knock your socks off.). I have a hard time making decisions in general (I’m a Libra, if you are into those kinds of things) and I was pretty hungry from driving for almost 2 hours so I saw and ordered the first thing that grabbed me…
The Boken-Boy: hand breaded chicken cutlet, garlic aioli, soppressata, baby arugula, sweet smoked mutz, lemon, evoo.
I know what you are thinking. “Chicken Cutlet Sandwich with cheese, big deal.”. But no! It is a big deal! I can safely say this is the best sandwich I have had in a year. Not in a calendar year but IN THE LAST 12 MONTHS.
Let me count the ways.
- Super soft and chewy roll that never fell apart nor ripped my teeth out. It held everything perfectly. In fact, only one piece of chicken fell out and that was my fault for taking a giant bite at one point and twisting my hand in a weird way. If you look at the photos, this thing was stuffed and the roll did the job. There was no after sandwich cleanup on Aisle Plate afterwards.
- The Chicken Cutlet was fried perfectly: not over greasy, not kind of overcooked or god forbid, burned.
- The cutlet was thick. It wasn’t some paper thin wisp of a piece of chicken that was smashed to death. This was juicy piece of nice chicken.
- The Cutlet was sliced into strips. Normally, Cutlet sammys have the whole Cutlet and everything piled on top of it. With this sandwich, the chicken is able to be single and mingle with it’s party guests.
- The Garlic Aioli was subtle and not a punch in the face of garlic. I had a show and was afraid I would smell like an old man with some garlic on his belt (as was the style at the time), and low and behold, I did not. Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and a place for stinkin’ up the joint, this just wasn’t it.
- The Wild Card: Soppressata. What’s this piece of meat doing on this Sammy? I’ll tell you what: It’s being awesome and adding some salt and texture. It also cuts right thru all the mild flavors to mix it up. It’s the card trick at the party, you didn’t know it was coming and it’s delighting the guests.
- The Baby Arugula and Mozz. The baby arugula added a little bit of peppery goodness to the Sammy (along with giving me the idea that *something* on this thing would be good for me, my mom would be proud), and the mozz was exactly what it sounded like: a little sweet, a little smokey and all amazing.
- Lemon and EVOO. Talk about a nice thing to pull it all together! The lemon mingles with the whole party and the EVOO is the buttery hug that pulls the whole thing together.
I cannot say enough good things about this sandwich: besides #1-#8, it was fresh, hot and mind blowing. If you are anywhere around this shop, stop in and pick this sandwich up. Ridiculous. Also, I had a Puck’s Black Cherry soda that was pretty on point! Puck’s makes soda with actual sugar and with no artificial colors or preservatives and uses natural extracts and essential oils. Absolutely delightful!
TONY BOLONEY’S HOBOKEN
263 1st St, Hoboken, NJ 07030
(201) 222 – 8669
Su-W 11am – 11pm
Th 11am – 2am
Fri-S 11am – 4am
I first came across Tony Boloney’s in AC when I covered the AC Beer Fest. They blew me away with their Cheesesteak Ole’ and their Reuben Pizza. Unreal. Plus, I loved the fact that they understood marketing (see their blue truck (that will come and cater your event!) with the giant moustaches and their mascot, an old school chef with said handlebar moustache) and had fun with it as well. I swore I would get to their shop on Oriental Ave, 2 blocks up from the Revel, and I finally did!
I tried to have a few things from the menu, starting with the Reuben Frio! Where to begin? Let’s start with the bread. When making fantastic, mind-blowing sandwiches, you need a good base to keep things from falling apart 3/4’s of the way in. Tony’s hits it out of the park with rolls from A. Rando’s Bakery, the oldest bakery in AC and the 3rd oldest Italian bakery in the country! And wow, what a roll! Chewy, crusty, lovely goodness! It’s had to find a roll that doesn’t feel like it is taking over the whole show, and Tony’s did.
Ok, so the sandwich. Whew! Beautifully thick-cut Pastrami, not skimpy on the kraut, thousand island dressing to keep it moist and just enough Muenster cheese to keep this puppy on track and I fell in love. A theme you’ll find in this article is “not skimpy”. In the times we live in here, which are recession times, food places try and cut corners by inching the prices up and lowering the amount of ingredients. This sandwich was brimming with meat and kraut! I feel like this thing was created in the 80’s when everything was overstuffed and then time traveled right to my table. And man, I am way ok with that!
Next up, was my absolute favorite: The Sh#tfaced!
This thing is a straight up knock out. I would eat this everyday for the rest of my life and not bat an eye, that’s how good it is! Beer battered chicken with a Stout Honey BBQ sauce. That’s so many flavors and textures working together, it actually short circuits your taste buds for a second. The beer batter (which is not very heavy at all) plus the sauce, which is just a little bit sweet and a little bit buttery and a whole lot heavenly. Oh, and it’s got melted Mozzarella and Cheddar on it too, just in case you needed some more awesome to go with it! You owe it to yourself to try this thing, it is absolutely mind-blowing. And if that’s not enough! You can also get it on a pizza!
Moving on to another work of art, meet The Po’ Doc Carver! Deliciously fried chicken with a house made Chipotle sauce and covered in a smoked Mozzarella that’ll spoil you on regular mozz for life! Toss in some lettuce and tomato and you got yourself a rainbow of texture, aromas and deliciousness.
Now, Tony Boloney’s isn’t just sandwiches, they also make some unreal pizzas as well! When I popped in, I picked up a slice of the Carnival Freak. The pizza at Tony’s is unlike most, it’s a crispier crust and is nice and light but still have the cojones to carry whatever sick and twisted ideas that owner Mike Hauke has up his sleeve.
The Carnival Freak has breadcrumbs on the crust, herbs to keep that flavor palate hoppin’, Mozzarella, ricotta, parmesan and a marinara that bent my brain, it was that good! I know it sounds odd that there are breadcrumbs on the crust, but it adds to the impressive texture of the pizza as a whole.
What really impresses me about the pizzas at Tony’s is that they understand that not all of the toppings need to fill the entire slice. Don’t get me wrong, I completely enjoy an everything pie once in a while, where you get a bite of all the toppings in each bite, but that doesn’t work with a lot of different combos of pies. In this one, you get some marinara and some ricotta in one bite, then some mozz and herbage in another, and so on. It’s really a delight.
Finally, I also ordered The Crab Fries! Chickie and Pete’s serves frozen crinkle cut fries with some Old Bay and melty American cheese in the side. Tony’s serves Crab fries with CRAB on them, along with some butter, Old Bay and Mozzarella cheese! They were pretty kick ass, and again, NOT skimpy with the Crab!
The cheese went all he way thru and the butter gave it a delicious smoothness that combined with the Old Bay to dance around the fries and hug it with awesome. Seriously. Awesome.
So, you might be wondering, after reading this review of Tony Boloney’s, if there was anything I didn’t like about this place. The answer, honestly, is no. they even offer awesome sugar cane sodas like Boylan’s along with the usual suspect sodas. The tables were clean, and at the right heights so you don’t feel like you are sitting on the floor when you are eating. Don’t feel like sitting inside? Sit outside on the picnic tables and get some fresh air while ya eat.
Even the staff was awesome. I am a bad order-er in places. It takes me more time then it should to order (I think my brain shorts out when there is too much choice and my friends all make fun of me for it) and this guy, who was working himself behind the counter and juggling like 9 things at once, was super nice and didn’t at all try to hurry me along. In fact, he answered all my stupid questions with ease and didn’t bat an eye when I ordered enough food to feed 9 people “for here”. I was thinking he was the twin of that one guy from the show House, but he is not. What I am saying, is that this place has it covered: great food, great customer service, and a cool place to eat!
You would be cheating yourself if you didn’t check this place out on your next trip to AC! 300 Oriental Avenue, right on the corner! Look for the blue and the big moustache!