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.

A Move, some free t-shirts and/or Hats, and a possible addition to the menu.

Wow, things seem to be moving pretty quickly. When we envisioned Mack Dawg’s we always saw us setting up on the square.

We hadn’t heard from the city until after we had our grand opening. We were extremely lucky to have the spot across from the post office and we want to say a huge thank you to RP Lumber for their generosity.

We will be closed Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday and anticipate re-opening on Thursday on the south east corner of the square in Chatham, IL

WE will also roll out the prize alarm. If you’re order is being made or paid for when the alarm bells ring, you’ll win your choice of hat or shirt.

We can’t wait to see you out next Thursday at our new location.

Tales from the Dog Side: Finding a fit for the Dogs

When it rains it pours. If we didn’t have bad luck, we wouldn’t have any luck. If it can go wrong, it probably will. You can’t please everybody all the time. Murphy is an asshole, and any other cliches I can think of to describe life in the hot dog cart business.

We originally started this crazy ride with the intention of bringing another dinner option to Chatham, IL.

We got the idea because we spent many nights eating out last fall. Generally, we spent our regular dinner hours trucking the girls to all their practices, games, and events. Throw in a night of Sunday School (on a Wednesday) and we ate out a ton.

It was always an ordeal that took a minimum of an hour if we were lucky. The kids weren’t getting to homework until late.

Fast forward and dinners just haven’t worked out. We did four nights. Four nights that saw a total of forty hot dogs being sold. That’s a ten Dog a day average. Dinners were not good to us.

It almost seemed as if the town got quiet. A quiet only rivaled by the darkness of midnight. The town seemed deserted. Many reasons exist for this. Maybe many out of town era just want to get home and don’t want to stop. Maybe parents, like us, were racing home to pick up their children so they could be shuttled from event to event. Maybe dinners would best be served later. We don’t know and we can’t seem to predict.

We do know that lunches have been pretty decent and with a mobile, one person operator, cart it’s hard to stay out longer for far fewer sales. Nature does sometimes beckon. What’s a guy to do?

We would love to serve the public both lunch and dinner; however, dinner just hasn’t been friendly.

Here at Mack Dawg’s we do not give up so easily. In fact, we’ve written a few posts about the obstacles thrown our way.

We are, after all, mobile so we are planning a move, a possible reduction in days, but an increase in actual hours we serve delicious Chicago Style Hot Dogs to the fine folks of Chatham.

We are currently awaiting word if we can set up again in the Family Video parking lot. We had to submit an application.

We do know, however, that we can get a permit from the city of Chatham to set up on the square or Center Park. This is a location that we feel would be a good fit. There is more parking. There are picnic tables, and plenty of lawn to have an impromptu picnic when you come get a Chicago Style Hot Dog.

We feel we would be more visible and easily accessible. We are hoping that this exposure and ease of access will allow us to serve you better and longer. This may help us stay open into the early evening hours. Plus, we can advertise as Mack Dawg’s on the Square in Chatham. That just sounds cool to us.

So, please keep spreading the word and visit Mack Dawg’s Chicago Style Hot Dogs. You don’t have to come every day, but we’d love to see you once a week!

Well, it’s funny now!

I guess I can look at it now and laugh. It’s not a hearty, full-belly laugh yet. And until the problem is actually fixed it’s still more of a small haha chuckle. 

Last weekend we were all set to test every major function of the cart. We had everything ready to go for this major milestone, or so we thought. 

When I was ready to purchase the hot water tank, the recommended tank was out of stock; I bought what I thought was a comparable tank. 

The tank promptly arrived and I was more pleased than ever since this heater was silver and it matched the cart perfectly. 

Here, see for yourself…


That’s the heater on the front of the cart. Looks great, doesn’t it? 

So, back to last weekend and our big test. I first filled the fresh water tank, and I connected the propane regulator to the heater, and then to the propane tank and turned it on.  After installing two D cell batteries I was ready to fulfill the hot water requirement for the health inspector. 

I flipped the switch to the water supply after hooking up the 12v battery I will use for power. My wife flipped open the hot water tap for the sinks and within seconds we had a good water flow. Time for the heater to work it’s hot water magic. The heater will automatically ignite to provide the needed hot water once the water flows through. 

We should hear a few audible clicks and then the heater should light….nothing. We shut the water off and double check all the connections. We out en the hot water tap and try again, still no ignition and clod water running from the hot tap. Well, crap! 

I immediately bust out the instruction booklet and hand it to my wife. She pours through the troubleshooting section while I triple check all connections. We find out it needs a minimum 25 psi, from the water pump, to ignite.  We soon learn the pump I purchased only puts forth water at 20 psi. 

Now, it was that me to test the heater to see if it was the heater or water pump causing the issue. The instructions said to hook it up to the garden hose to see if it was, indeed, a pressure issue. 

The garden hose produced enough pressure to ignite the heater and, ahhhhhh-angels signing-we had hot water. We now knew it was the pump. 

A little mad but somewhat relieved, I head off to purchase a pump that’s rated a little higher in the psi department. I picked up a 12v 1.0 gallon per minute (GPM) pump that uses almost 30 psi to deliver water. 

About 15 minutes later I had the new pump installed and I was ready for hot water. At this point, I’m jacked up like I’m waiting on a gold strike. 

A spin of the hot water tap and we wait, and wait, and wait. Still no hot water. The frickin new pump, with a 30 psi, still would not ignite the water heater. Son of a b…… 

We soon found that not only does the heater need a pump that delivers of 25 psi, but this heater also needs a MINIMUM 2.5 GPM WATER FLOW. 

So, the new heater is on order and we’ve had to push back inspection until we make sure the new heater will work with a 1.0 GPM water pump. 
Stay tuned Murica, we will keep you posted.