The Eastcoaster food truck is bringing classic New York and New Jersey hot dogs to the Valley—with a twist.
Singers who met at a Tempe Center for the Arts’ open mic night, Jason Markowitz and Rob Randolph serve their childhood favorite meals, including the Ripper ($8), a New Jersey-style deep-fried hot dog named after the sound the dog makes when diners bite into it.
For the Rippers, the duo uses Sabrett hot dogs that are shipped from New Jersey.
“They are the official ‘dirty water hot dogs’ in New Jersey,” Markowitz says.
To top the hot dogs, guests are invited to try relish that is similar to Rutt’s Hut, a New Jersey restaurant known for serving the Ripper.
“It’s a standout in New Jersey, and there’s no other state in this country or place in the world I can think of that has this recipe—other than us on this food truck and that place in New Jersey,” Markowitz says.
The Pork Roll is made with Taylor ham, also shipped from New Jersey.
“Some people say it’s like Spam, but it’s higher quality flavor and meat,” says Markowitz, who lives in Arcadia.
He compliments his partner, whom he says makes the best pulled pork. A U.S. Army veteran, Randolph pairs the Taylor ham and the pulled pork to create the “phat pig” ($11).
Food trucks, Markowitz and Randolph go way back. The vehicles were known as “grease trucks” when Markowitz partied at Rutgers University. All of the “grease trucks” sandwiches were called “phat” (“pretty hot and tempting”) sandwiches. The Eastcoaster carries on that tradition calling its sandwiches “phat” and stuffing them with French fries.
To wash it down, the Mesa-based Eastcoaster sells the 8th Street Papaya Drink ($8) made with Gray’s Papaya, banana and orange.
The truck carries vegetarian and plant-based hot dogs like The Ripper Light and The Chopper Light, both of which are $9. Its plant-based ground beef is Chopper Light ($10). Their forte is cotton candy.
Before The Eastcoaster, Markowitz suggested opening a White Castle, before he found out one was under construction in Scottsdale.
He went for a food truck instead and found an affordable trailer in Payson. He persuaded Randolph, a Mesa resident, to help him pull the trailer, and the two became food truck partners during that trip.
Markowitz, who moved to Arizona from New Jersey 13 years ago, calls the menu an amalgamation of food from different places he used to visit in New Jersey and Manhattan.
“I took multiple different concepts and meshed it into one thing,” Markowitz says.
The food truck is capable of holding outdoor movie nights, depending on HOA regulations. They’re available for hire in neighborhoods, business parks and private parties throughout the Valley. There’s no minimum fee to hire them.
As for the future, the partners are planning The Eastcoaster Real American Food Challenge, inviting guests to finish four of the truck’s items in 3 minutes and 21 seconds. It’s inspired by Hulk Hogan’s “Real American” theme song, which is the same length.
Those who succeed receive $20, a T-shirt, and their name and picture on the truck’s hall of fame.
“If anyone is on a diet, I don’t recommend you coming to us,” Markowitz says.
The Eastcoaster Food Truck