Suppose in 1923, you asked a fortune teller to envision Bayonne in the year 2000. ''I see hot dogs and a train'' would seem like a lazy and short-sighted response. Nevertheless, it would be prescient. The train is the new Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, which runs from Bayonne to Jersey City, and will eventually link 32 northeast Jersey stations. And the hot dogs are provided by Petridis just as they were in 1923.
The Petridis family operates a small, bright shop on the corner of Broadway and 25th Street in downtown Bayonne. At first glance, it appears to be an ice cream parlor, and sure enough, soft serve is on the menu. So are French fries, soft pretzels and beverages. But it's a no-nonsense approach to hot dogs that has kept Petridis in business for 77 years.
Truth be told, how much can you do with a hot dog? Over the years, vendors have toyed with the length, from the cocktail weinie to the foot-long dog. Cooking methods and toppings vary from region to region, like that abomination, the ''Chicago-style'' dog. But Petridis understands that we all come back to the basics.
The town's future looks bright. Thanks to the Light Rail and Petridis Hot Dogs, Bayonne is back on track and on a roll. JACK SILBERT
Petridis Hot Dogs, Broadway and 25th Street, Bayonne, (201) 436-0974.
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