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Mar 23, 2013 12:01 PM

Hot dog carts

This is going to sound weird, but do you have a favorite one?

Either grilled or classic "dirty water".

Or do you consider all them pretty much faceless and fungible, with the only distinguishing factor being location (read: convenience)?

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  1. I think the same company owns the majority of them. The generic ones with the Sabrett umbrellas, if that's what you're talking about?

    9 Replies
    1. re: coll

      Yeah, those.

      But I don't believe they're owned by a company.

      1. re: ipsedixit

        Not sure the set up, but it all comes out of one big warehouse and then these guys set up where ever they're assigned. I'll see if I can find more info myself, but it was a big deal a couple of years ago when the price of renting spots went sky high (I think a half million a year to be in front to the Met?) I'm not the best at details, in case you can't tell! But I did business with Sabrett and that's what they told me is how it goes down.

        1. re: coll

          OK this is probably closer to the truth

          Now that I think of it, I bet it was just that they all bought their supplies from the same place, and got them delivered to them streetside. I've had quite a few in my time but they all taste the same to me! Well maybe they taste better in Central Park......sorry hope someone else chimes in with better info.

          1. re: coll

            Right, as posted below, each vendor is an owner and there isn't a company that owns multiple carts and then hires people to operate them, right?

            Now, whether they all taste the same is really the question I'm asking.

            Guessing your answer is a resounding "yes"!

            1. re: ipsedixit

              This is a job for hotdoglover. He has encyclopedic knowledge of the hot dogs available in NYC, the sourcing of different purveyors, and which are the best/tastiest. I tried to search to find one of his old posts that would be relevant, but didn't have much luck. Hopefully he'll resurface when he sees the thread and fill you in.

          2. re: coll

            Well, ok, but I think we maybe talking past each other.

            I think I agree that the vendors get their stuff (dogs, buns, condiments) from the same source, although I believe they buy their own carts, right?

            But each individual vendor is self-operated and owned, no?

            1. re: ipsedixit

              Funny how I just believed it without question, considering the source; this can be an interesting topic if someone has more recent, personal experience.

              1. re: ipsedixit

                That wasn't my impression but I've been known to be wrong. There's big money involved in setting up a hot dog stand; I felt like someone delivered the stands each morning and took them away each night to some central location. The vendors just rented. But that doesn't mean they all cooked them the same...maybe I should have waited to jump in here! but I have a little history with hot dog stands, just farther east, and it's a fascinating subject.

                1. re: coll

                  I can't imagine someone actually hiring a person to operate a hotdog stand.

                  How would you monitor that employee? It's an all cash business for heaven's sake ...

        2. I haven't had one of them in a while but there was this one cart in the east 50's that was slightly cheaper and a bit tastier than the carts around him. He had lemon quarters, tomato quarters and onion slices in the water with the hot dogs.