Chomping at the Bit: Tales from the Dog Side

Wow, it had been almost five days since we had been out with the cart.

Between the wait for a new stock of buns, and having to work at my day job, it has been one crazy week.

Apparently, our little operation had caused quite the stir at the distribution center where Mack Dawg’s Chicago Style Hot Dogs gets its products.

First, there was a bun shortage. They had the buns allocated wrong in their system, but we like to believe we ran them out of stock as a new customer. lol

Then, we learned that we could not get any Polish Sausage as they hadn’t any left. Again, could this be our popularity has caused another problem. We will continue to believe it was us.

Finally, we were able to get back out on Thursday and Friday and had two, hot, but productive days. Two great days to be slinging hot dogs around Chatham, IL.

This past week we experimented with adding chili to the menu as a hot dog topping. We haven’t got that one down yet, so as of right now we still do not have chili. Please be patient with us.

We can, however, put a nice char on your dog or Polish if you’d like! Just ask.

We will definitely be back out there next week: however, we will be out Wednesday as well as Thursday and Friday. We will also move closer to our goal of getting on the square.

We will be setting up in the parking lot of the Chatham Tap Room all next week. So, you can find us at 104 E. Mulberry Street

Make sure you stay tuned. Friday we received a phone call that has us a little curious to say the least.

That phone call led to a meeting scheduled for Tuesday morning. We are not quite certain where this phone call may lead, but we are certainly going to tell you about it once we know.

Tales from the Dog Side: The Dog Slinger vs. the Wind.

Well, it’s been quite entertaining. I’ve let it settle in for a few days and I’ve come to the conclusion that this thing we’ve put together is gonna be huge.

We had just about gotten everything working at an acceptable level when Mother Nature decided it was her turn to join in the fun that is throwing Mack Dawg’s Chicago Style Hot Dogs curveballs that drop out of the sky.

So far, we’ve been embarrassed and frustrated all to hell, but we’ve pulled through these minor setbacks. However, Mother Nature was brought in from the bullpen and threw us an unbelievable curve ball. She has claimed three umbrellas.

The first was remarkable to witness. I was wiping down the cart and talking to my daughter last Friday while riding out our first really windy day.

When we rebuilt the cart, we installed an umbrella in the middle of the cart. We neglected to install a cotter pin. The umbrella shot out of the cart. I dropped my rag and grabbed the umbrella. Has someone snapped a pic at that moment, I probably would have looked like Mary Poppins ready to take flight.

The shift in momentum from grabbing the umbrella caused it to slam to the ground and snap a rib. Ugh!!!!!

I took the other umbrella from its stand and, stupidly, places in in the same hole, while the cart was in the same spot, while the winds weren’t getting any weaker.

I didn’t catch the second umbrella as it flew out of the cart. It snapped a rib as well. We were done for the day. Apparently, regulations require a cover to keep random things falling from the sky getting in the food.

We bought two brand new umbrellas for Monday. One was purchased two hours before its demise. Yes, we lost a brand new umbrella yesterday. We were not happy.

Thankfully we survived Wednesday without a broken umbrella. Things are looking up. On Thursday, we used our 10 x 10 tent in preparation for a gig we have on Sunday.

We will be providing n Chicago Style Hot Dogs at a benefit on Sunday, September 10th at Soccer World in Springfield. Just come find the awesome cars and bikes on display.

With all the challenges that have arisen, and with the success being greater than the sum of failures, we can only see huge things for Mack Dawg’s. In fact, we have some plans in the works and we have set our sights high.

We did add another item to our menu.

Stay tuned.

I remember when I got the hot dog itch!

I was a young newly wed living at my then mother-in-law's house.

My first experience in a hot dog stand as a worker came in the early morning hours after drinking and watching the Holyfield vs. Foreman fight.

My one and only task for that day was to prepare the potatoes and make the fresh cut fries for the day.

The kitchen gods make this large ass machine that peels potatoes and in all its karma glory it was loud.

Once those giant potatoes came out the bottom missing a good portion of its winter wear, they had to be washed, stabbed with a big fork and stuck upright in a hand operated French fry slicer.

I think I had to peel and slice one hundred pounds of potatoes for the day. I was miserable and couldn't wait to get back in bed and sleep off that nasty hangover.

That was my first small foray into the hot dog business. I was also once tasked with helping out at the hot dog stand during one particular lunch rush.

Photo from Hot Dog Profits

My former mother-in-law didn't like they way I wrapped the hot dogs for to go orders. I apparently didn't do it exactly the was she did. I know this because every time she saw me wrapping the hot dogs my way, she had to stop me and show me how to do it again, her way.

I'm pretty sure I could have easily done it her way, but it was so much more fun doing it my way and antagonizing her in the process.

While I was often upset in those days watching my former wife slave away at her mother's hot dog stand, I did see the potential in owning a successful stand.

There have always been two places I frequented in my youth that led to this fairy tale that involved me in the restaurant business. My former mother-in-law's hot dog stand and a tiny diner located across the street from my childhood home known as Christ's grill ( pronounced like Chris not like Christ).

We are now getting closer to fulfilling one of those fairy tales.

Soon we will be bringing Chicago Style Hot Dogs to Chatham, Illinois.

Finally, a decently located local distributor.

From the minute we decided to take this journey we’ve been on a hunt. 

A hunt across many websites and google searches looking for a place to get the best possible products for Mack Dawg’s Chicago Style Hot Dogs. 

Now, as you’ve probably read, I grew up in the Chicagoland area and the absolute best is a Vienna Beef hot dog. 

Chicago Style Hot Dog

Look, there are hot dog stands spread throughout the city of Chicago and, sadly, not all of them use the best dog. 

One of my favorite joints was just down the street. It was a place opened by a Greek man in an old stand alone Tastee Freeze. He offered a 3 dog and fries special. He gave a lunch sack full of fries and used generic dogs probably loaded with fillers. But, the price was right. 

We began looking online for Vienna beef and could find them in Amazon, but the price with added shipping wouldn’t make their use feasible. 

Had we lived in a suburb just outside of Chicago, we could have obtained them in bulk for a decent price at Sam’s Club, but alas, we’re bringing Chicago Style Hot Dogs to Chatham, IL, a quaint suburb of Springfield in Central Illinois. 

We then went to the nearest wholesale food distributor and inquired about the brand of all-beef hot dog they carry, and soon learned it wasn’t Vienna beef. 

While driving in town one day, I noticed a place known as Country Market and found they sell eight packs of the beloved frank made in Chicago, but, again, the price was not feasible. 

Thankfully, I decided to ask the woman working the register if they order the dogs from the Vienna Beef website. 

“No,” she said, “we get them from a place in Decatur, Illinois.” 

At last, we may have found a decently located local distributor. A short fifty minute drive later and we soon learned we can get every item we need from food stuffs to paper stuffs, and crap to clean any messes we make. 

And with a minimum $200.00 order, they’ll deliver.