Sunday, February 28, 2010

Hot Dogs are Dominating the News

They're getting lots and lots of publicity lately. Hot Dogs are all over the news and it's not favorable publicity. Whoever said, "it's better to get bad publicity than no publicity at all" was not referring to hot dogs.

The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement that has been "spun" by the media to make it sound more sensational. The fact remains, in addition to peanuts, popcorn, raisins, grapes and hard candy, hot dogs are a potential choking hazard.

In an excellent article by Dr. Ari Brown posted on WebMD, among other things the importance of parents cutting up a child's food is discussed. I would add to that my thoughts that parents need to always watch their children while they eat. Not just while they eat items on this choking hazard list, but when they are eating anything.

Frankly speaking, we (will) serve the best Hot Dogs!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Hot Dog Progress For Yank's Franks

Hot Diggity and I have been doing much more than eating hot dogs and salty fries.

While we don't have any concrete announcements to share (yet), we are getting close on many fronts.

As I mentioned in the February 19th post, we have found a spot that we think would be great for the future home of Yank's Franks.

This past week alone, we have had a meeting with the Planning Department, and later in the week we met with the Code Enforcement Department. We attempted (without success so far) to contact the State Fire Marshall's office to discuss their requirements. And, we visited the Water Department to review the service at the site we are considering.

Courtesy of Mother Nature and the 5+ inches of rain she dumped on us on Thursday, we even had the chance to make an impromptu visit to the site to see if it remained above water. It did!

I am hoping we'll have a Hot Dog Bulletin to share with you next week.

During this past week we have made significant progress in the development of a logo. And, we visited with a sign maker in his shop, a very interesting experience.

We made contact with an awesome hot dog manufacturer. However, it is still unclear whether they will be able to ship their product to Southern Maine. We're still waiting for more information.

So, while we haven't suspended our taste testing, Hot Diggity and I have been making progress on other fronts as well.

Frankly speaking, we (will) serve the best Hot Dogs!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Mustard Takes the Blue Ribbon

The results of the "Favorite Condiment" poll are in and counted. All polling locations in all time zones are closed.

The results are as follows (and remember, voters were able to select multiple choices so the numbers add up to more than 100%).

Mustard 75%
Relish 40%
Ketchup 15%
Sauerkraut 35%
Chili 15%
Raw Onion 40%
Fried Onion 10%
Cheese 25%
Bacon 20%
Slaw 0%
Other 20%

Obviously (and predictably), Mustard kicked hot dog butt.

The result that I found most valuable is the Slaw came in with a big fat goose egg. Yahoo, no slaw at Yank's Franks.

Of course, the one result I found a bit disturbing was the 15% that selected Ketchup. I didn't realize I had any readers in the "under 8 years" category. This %'age mysteriously corresponds to the results in previous polls that voted for steamed hot dogs and then later voted for not griddling their buns (just kidding folks, don't get your onion rings in a knot).

Again, thank you for voting and check out the new poll for this week.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Hot Dog Miracle


Does anybody else see it? It's a Miracle! It's a sign! It's lunch!

Frankly speaking, we (will) serve the best Hot Dogs!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Coney Island Hot Dog ~ Another Treat for Your Taste Buds

When Yank's Franks finally opens its door for business, consider ordering a Coney Island Hot Dog. If you're in a hurry, just say, "I'll have a Coney!"

A "Coney" is a beef hot dog topped with yellow mustard, then chili (hot dog chili, like Texas chili, has no beans), and finally, diced yellow onion.

This photo of the hot dog would be referred to as a "Cheese Coney" as it is also topped with shredded cheddar.

If you're a fan of chili (and I definitely am) then you'll love a "Coney." But, one bit of trivia of which you may not be is believed this style hot dog was developed in Detroit.

Frankly speaking, we (will) serve the best hot dogs!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Hot Dog! An Interesting Possiblity for the Home of Yank's Franks

Today, we were out checking out different properties for Yank's Franks. The really good news is, I think we found a great site. It is too early to let the "cat out of the bag" (in other words, to make the address public), but if things come together you will be the first to know.

I'm anxious to be able to begin showing photos (here on the blog) of the property and the changes we will be making to transform it from an acceptable commercial site to the home of the best hot dog on the planet.

I'm sure every hot dog vendor has that as a goal. Wait...I take that back, we've eaten at several hot dog joints lately that certainly could not have that in their Mission Statement.

Anyway, we've already done some research on the property. We've visited city hall and we plan more trips soon. I've met with a sign maker. I have the very best person conceivable working on our logo. We are working on our menu and we are testing different foods.

Everything is moving along well. Unfortunately, I believe progress will slow considerably once we begin the process of obtaining the necessary approvals and permits (city and state). I learned a saying when I was very young, "you can't fight city hall." I am about to get close up and personal with the meaning of that line.

Hopefully, more information to come soon.

Don't forget to vote and remember you can chose multiple options in this week's poll.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Chicago Dog ~ A Love Affair

Imagine my surprise when we returned home from a morning out looking at real estate. Sitting in front of our rear door was a big box labeled Portillo's. For those who may not recognize the name, Portillo's has been a Chicago Hot Dog institution for nearly 50 years. I knew immediately who the package was from (our Chicago based researcher) and I knew what was inside (what else would it be other than the obvious, Chicago Dogs).

I am no stranger to Chicago Dogs. At least I didn't think I was. I've had many a Chicago Dog, in fact I had one last Saturday at a nearby hot dog joint named after the Chicago delicacy. To be frank (pun intended) I have never been all that impressed. I didn't entirely get the slice of tomato, sport pepper, celery salt "thing." It was NBD (no big deal). Even hearing from Debbie on ocassion raving of these wonderful Chicago treats. I didn't get it.

Well, it was a great afternoon in the research kitchen. The Chicago Hot Dog kit came complete with all the ingredients required to make the perfect Chicago Hot Dog as well as assembly instructions.

For Hot Diggity, it was one Chicago Dog, light on the sport pepper. For Tree (yes, that's her name and that's her pictured to the right), it was one Chicago Dog, extra sport pepper. And for me, two Chicago Dogs, authentic.

I am a convert. These Chicago Dogs were unbelievable. It was like a smorgasbord of flavors all put in your mouth at once. My mouth was a very happy place.

Yank's Franks will certainly have Chicago Dogs on the menu, and they will be served properly.

Thank you, Chicage for your great research and for the b'day gift.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Griddled Hot Dogs on Griddled Top-Loaded Buns

The votes have been counted. You readers overwhelmingly prefer "top-loaded" buns, and you want them griddled. Of the three choices, only 16% of you chose the top-loaded bun without having it griddled (no doubt, the same voters that chose the steamed hot dogs in the last poll).

The big surprise for me was, only 8% selected the side-loaded bun. Included in my February 14th post was a photo of an awesome California Hot Dog loaded with goodies on a side-loaded bun. I thought that photo would bring in the "side-loaded" voters.

A new week brings a new poll. This week's poll has more choices than in the previous weeks. To make the poll statistically valid, I need many more votes. So ask your friends and co-workers to get on board.

Please don't forget to vote.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Hot Dogs, Onion Rings and Fries ~ It's What's for Dinner

My new french fry cutter came today (who knew UPS worked on holidays). This evening the research labs were busy at work.

We started with the french fries (regular cut), seen cooking in the photo below. Our taste test revealed, and it was unanimously decided that additional testing is required. They were okay, but a long way from excellent. Next time we will be trying the shoestring blades on the new cutter.

We then moved on to onion rings. The rings cooked quickly and browned up nicely. Hot Diggity voted these onion rings, "the best she's ever had!" They were great.
The onion ring batter recipe that I obtained from the internet is now my secret family recipe. Let's keep that between us.

To complete our meal (and also for the photo opportunity) I ended my deep frying session with deep fried hot dogs. They were excellent, but not as good as griddled. We will try the dogs again.
Add a mini whoopie pie and a coke and "dinner is served."

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Hot Dog Researcher Files a Report from California

While vacationing in California The Hot Dog King (aka, Keith) could not resist conducting research by proxy for which we are thankful.

We don't yet have his full report, but HDK (Hot Dog King) did send back images of his latest findings. Others images were ho-hum, but I couldn't resist sharing this photo.

This Hot Dog looks awesome (notice the side loaded bun that has been toasted) and the fries in the background look pretty darn tasty as well.

It's nearly midnight on the east coast and now I'm starving.

I'll report more on this awesome Dog as HDK's full report is filed.

If any of you have your favorite Hot Dog Joints and the Dogs you like most at that Joint, please leave comments and we'll try our best to check them out.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Yank's Franks is Getting Some Attention

Yank's Franks has been written up in The Hot Dog Blog. The article describes the endeavor with my Yank's Franks blog as, "...going for the dream..." and, " potential entrepreneurs what will hopefully be some valuable insight into the ups-and-downs of owning a weenie stand."

Click over to The Hot Dog Blog , it is full of terrific information on where to go, as well as where to avoid for your next hot dog experience.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Hot Dogs ~ They are Awesome

"The noblest of all dogs is the hot dog; it feeds the hand that bites it." by Laurence J. Peter (1919~1990, most famous for "The Peter Principle")

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Restaurants in Southern Maine ~ Does a Hot Dog Joint Count?

What kind of question is that? Of course a Hot Dog Joint counts as a restaurant. In fact, many of us consider the Hot Dog Joint the very best choice of restaurants.

Hot Diggity and I are still hard at work researching different Hot Dog Joints and each of their selections. On this trip we were accompanied by Keith, the Hot Dog King.

I'm warning the IRS right now, I'm writing off all my research trips and I'm writing off my Lipitor prescription.

On the menu to the right, I apoligize for not "cropping" out that Veggie Dog. Yuk!

The hot dogs at this stop, The Dog House in Kittery, Maine, were very good and their fries were outstanding. Surprisingly, the fries were frozen, not fresh cut. It was a good place to stop, and unlike many places in Maine, they offered griddled dogs (I'm not a fan of boiled or steamed).

You know what goes great for dessert after a hot dog (or two), a Whoopie Pie. I gotta run now, I have a craving for a Whoopie Pie.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

No Location Yet for Yank's Franks

We thought we had found the perfect spot for Yank's Franks. In fact, it was the perfect spot. Unfortunately, it was extremely overpriced (in my opinion) and negotiations came to an abrupt halt this afternoon.

So, it's back to the drawing board. There's plenty of properties out there, it's just a matter of finding another perfect spot.

The First Hot Dog Poll Has Closed

Thank you all for voting our first poll that asked the question, "How do you like your hot dog cooked?"
The results were overwhelmingly skewed toward Griddled, with 87% of those participating making this choice. The remainder of the votes were split evenly between Boiled and Steamed. These two alternatives are often used interchangeably. You will often find that hot dog stands offering steamed hot dogs will pull a hot dog out of a pot and shake off the water. Boiling is a much faster and more efficient way of bringing the hot dog up to the desired temperature.

The surprise in the poll for me was that nobody chose Deep Fried. This is likely because so few places will cook their dogs this way. However, many hot dog lovers that have tried a deep fried hot dog would have it no other way. Hot dogs aren't pretty when cooked in a deep fryer, but they are nice and crispy.

Thanks again for voting and please vote in this weeks poll.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Hot Dog Marketing 101

When Janice (aka, Hot Diggity) and I owned our inn, we developed a tag line to use in our marketing materials. We were sitting on a beautiful Caribbean beach during our annual vacation. Of the 365 days per year, we took 14 of them off for vacation. We found that our best ideas all came during these 14 days.

During this vacation while Janice was reading one of her many vacation books, I was reading a marketing book about Branding. It spoke of the importance of developing a cohesive theme throughout your business. Well, one of the subcategories discussed the concept of developing a tag line. An example might be, Burger King ~ Have it your way.

From the time we purchased the inn, many of the other innkeepers spoke of challenging experiences with their guests. Janice had consistently stated in public and in private that, "we have the nicest guests!" It didn't take long to put two and two together, and from then on we added this phrase to all our marketing endeavors. We believed that the statement, "we have the nicest guests!" said many flattering things about the guests, the inn and the innkeepers. Who wouldn't want to stay with us and get to know, and become one of, the nicest guests.

I am working on a tag line for Yank's Franks. I've thought of several whimsical lines, but I'm not sure that "funny" is the way to go. Here's some of the ideas:

Yank's Franks ~ Over Two Dozen Served
Yank's Franks ~ The Best of the Wurst!
Yank's Franks ~ We Gyp the Other Guy and Pass the Savings on to You (actually stolen from Chuy's)
Yank's Franks ~ Frankly speaking, we serve the best hot dogs! (that's Janice's idea)

Anyway, I need a tag line, and there's a free hot dog (with the works) large fries and soda for the person that comes up with the wienner, I mean winner. Can you imagine, dinner on me just for several hours of racking your brain.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A Hot Dog Recipe for Super Bowl Sunday

Traditionally, when we think of Super Bowl food what comes to mind? Many would answer Chili. Oddly enough, my Super Bowl Sunday Hot Dog recipe contains no chili (although I absolutely love chili dogs).

For your shopping list:
Bun length hot dogs (not those regular sized wieners)
New England Hot Dog buns (good quality, not store brand)
Bacon, the thicker the better
Mustard (regular or spicy, your choice)
Barbeque sauce

To begin:
Saute onion slices in butter. When soft and clear, add just a little bit of barbeque sauce.
Warm up the sauerkraut.

Wrap bacon strips around your hot dogs. Deep fry your bacon wrapped dogs at 350 degrees. (If you don't have a deep fryer make a note for next Christmas and use a skillet for now)
Slather both sides of the buns with butter and lightly brown each side in a skillet.

Place hot dog in the bun. If the hot dog has curled, place the ends facing up to leave more room for the rest of the goodies.
Top the dog with mustard.
Next, add the sauerkraut and then the barbeque flavored onions.

That was easy. If you want to add some cheese that would be great because, when it comes to food there are two rules, 1) everything tastes better with bacon and, 2) everything tastes better with cheese.

I made a Super Bowl hot dog for two reasons. First, I wanted to check out the taste to be certain it was worthy of the title of Super Bowl Hot Dog. Second, I wanted to take a picture to share with you as you read through this recipe.

As far as my second reason goes, I apologize. I ended up eating the Super Bowl Hot Dog when my photographer (Hot Diggity) was getting the camera. As for my first reason, it was awesome.

Happy Super Bowl Sunday!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Hot Dog Business Plan

It's time to start thinking about a formal business plan for Yank's Franks (Wow, I like the looks of the name better in italics and bold). I've been to the bank to discuss my plan, in general terms, and they were more encouraging than I expected. Don't get me wrong, they didn't send me away with a pound of 20's, not even a new toaster, but they seemed genuinely interested in lending money.

So, here is where you (my 7 Followers to date) come in. I'm starting an Income and Expense projection and I need some very important information.

I need to know how many hot dogs you plan to have at Yanks Franks, and if you could, give me your number of Hot Dogs on a daily basis. I will convert your daily numbers into monthly or yearly as I determine which best suits my needs.

Don't be shy, I already know that I can count on "Hot Diggity" for, at least, two Hot Dogs per day with mustard and relish, and one order of fries with a lemonade (large). Thanks Hot Diggity! So, please get back to me ASAP (leave the info in a comment) so I can proceed with my projections.

Also, if you haven't voted (in the poll in the upper left corner) yet, vote now. If you have voted thank you and, if you pretend you're from Chicago, you can vote again and again. A new poll question will be posted in a couple of days so check back.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Hot Dog Etiquette

Okay class, take your seats. We're going to have a video today. Pay attention because there will be a quiz and everything on the quiz will be covered in this video.

Okay, quiet and CLICK HERE.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Location, location, location!

We are shopping for the right location. We believe we found a great spot, but we want to be certain. A decision this important certainly calls for as much information as possible.

We looked at a variety of alternatives, and came back with the same conclusion. If you have ever purchased a home, you will recognize our conclusion...we prefer the most expensive property. I will say we have stepped up from the days of, "we prefer the property that we can't afford."

Each spot we looked at has some good news and some bad news (I love those kind of jokes). It really does all come back to those three most important rules in real estate, location, location, location.

We'll let you know as things progress. In the meantime, DON'T FORGET TO VOTE in the poll to the left. I'll have a new, equally important topic on which to vote every so often. Your input is valued (even the person who voted for boiled hot dogs).

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Hot Dogs in Southern Maine

Is it true that our trips to Hot Dog "joints" are tax deductible? After all, it's research.

More importantly, is it true that researching hot dogs and french fries is not fattening? If so, I'm going to sample even more and, I need to find out what is putting on these extra lbs. Maybe I should switch to diet sodas.

The frankfurter (hot dog, if you don't speak German) pictured to the right is griddled with mustard and relish. It was last night's dinner for Janice (aka, Hot Diggity). My dinner was a griddled chili dog with cheese and onions.

For those of you that have the time, please comment and tell me if you prefer sweet or dill relish, and do you prefer yellow (traditional) or spicy brown mustard.

I have to go now. I have an appointment for a cholesterol test.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Best Hot Dog!

So far, Yank's Franks is not much more than an idea. But, it's a great idea.

While Maine has Hot Dog places, they typically serve steamed hot dogs often on steamed buns. Yuk!

Yank's Franks will be a griddled hot dog on a buttered and griddled bun then topped off with a selection of delicious toppings.

Before I forget, please make suggestions by commenting on this post and any others.

The name, Yank's Franks, is just a "working" name. Again, suggestions will be appreciated.

I've already made an offer on a property in Wells, Maine. Unfortunately, that offer was rejected and I was not willing to over pay. Now, I've found a new spot and, once again, I expect to make an offer. I'll let you know how things proceed.

In meeting with the Office of Planning & Development in the town I am now considering, I learned that if I start the process toward approval now, the earliest I would be approved for construction is likely to be mid-July. Sorry, no hot dogs this summer.

You see, the banks are not the only impediment to small business and job creation. As they say, you can't fight City Hall.

That's it for now. Please make suggestions, ask questions or anything else. I would like to hear from you.
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