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I love hot dogs, both eating and watching. The Journal Sentinel pointed out a couple good examples within the last few days.
Thursday's, 12/31/09, cover story was done on a hot dog joint I was first taken as a boy by my Dad, probably around the early 1970's. Coney Island has been at Fifth and National in Milwaukee since the 1920's and I'd like my dogs plain and "burnt." My dad liked to order the chili dog sauce by the bowlful.
Coney Island was just a couple blocks from where he worked in Walker's Point. The sign was still there 30 years later when I worked at the same company, but no sign of it being open. After a while I started wondering if, by chance, it ever opened. I checked the phone book and asked my fellow co-workers, then just went over there around lunch time one day.
The door was open and I slowly moved toward a stool at the counter. As I looked around, there couldn't have been much that changed, including the stool I sat upon. The fixtures and appliances, booths and counter all looked old. It looked very basic and, frankly, pretty tacky. It wasn't quite like I remembered but close enough. The thing that stood out the most was the hand scrawled menu above the cash register. It was so simple. You could order a hot dog, hamburger or cheeseburger, with or without sauce, fries, soda or shake. No double bacon fatburger. No frills, no pickles, no mustard.
To make a long story short, I blogged about this in '07, the person serving up the dogs was the same one serving up the dogs for me and my dad 30 years earlier. Mike probably saw a lot of second, probably several third generations, or more, come to his joint in his years there. That was the biggest surprise, that Mike would still be serving up dogs so many years later. The article highlights Mike's retirement last year at the age of 89 years after flipping burgers and dogs for 60 years!
Hot dogs of another type were brought to our attention in today's, 1/3/10, paper. High schoolers in Washington, more or less to compete with a neighboring high school's video, created and posted a creative YouTube video that garnered half a million views in two weeks. Intentionally shot in reverse then reversed, I've included both versions. Enjoy.