NORWOOD, NJ — A third-generation family business that made its name in Fort Lee with the slogan “So Big, So Good” has made Norwood what it expects to be a longtime home.
Six months since the reborn Callahan's opened its doors in town, owner Daniel DeMiglio is planning to add another full-sized truck to his mobile fleet -- and will debut a micro-beast hot dog cart at the tri-state area Food Truck Festival at the Meadowlands on Oct. 17.
There will also be free hot dogs on Veterans Day for those who served in the U.S. armed forces, said DeMiglio — whose grandfather, Leonard “Artie” Castranni, founded the onetime landmark eatery on Palisade Avenue in Fort Lee.
DeMiglio wears his grandfather’s dog tags regularly, to not only embrace the past but to celebrate his current success.
Callahan’s competed in WCBS-FM radio's Best Hot Dog of 2015 contest, attracting more than 120,000 views.
"We just lost to Walter’s, but we beat out Nathan’s," DeMiglio said. "Scott Shannon spoke about us on the radio. That’s a huge thing after 10 years dormant.”
DeMiglio has amassed more than 25,000 fans on social media who scramble to keep up with where his truck will arrive next. He has sold 2,000-3,000 hot dogs at various area festivals, farmer's markets -- even in a supermarket parking lot on the Hudson River in West New York -- within three or four hours.
“He’s arranges all the detail in the shop - the Chevy where you can pop open a soda bottle, to the social media and the branding,” said father Ronald DeMiglio. "He works incredibly hard."
That hustle turned into the Norwood location on Broad Street, which catered to nearly 500 customers alone on a Sunday, Oct. 11.
"We were coming from the vet, and my husband suggested we should stop in," customer Joanette Weiss said. "My father used to drive me to the one in Fort Lee, and John and I used to go on dates there. We have a lot of memories."
DeMiglio enjoys the nostalgia. But he also has other things on his mind.
“I want to see where it goes," he said. "I’m incredibly proud. This business is limitless."