Standing at the corner of Broad and State St., the Hot Dog Kart is a destination for residents and visitors, with a hotly anticipated arrival each season. They are famous for their Chicago-style hot dogs, loaded with the traditional toppings. For this Wednesday’s Round-Up, let’s talk Chicago-style hot dog toppings (as well as a great family business!).
So what is a Chicago-style hot dog? It's a combination of tangy, sour, sweet, and seems strange at first glance. Here’s the building blocks:
poppyseed bun + all-beef franks + yellow mustard
chopped white onions + tomato wedges + dill pickle spears
sport peppers + celery salt + sweet green relish
The famous Hot Dog Kart Chicago-style hot dog! This photo was taken just a few minutes after prep...it was gone about 30 seconds later.
I'm originally from the right side of the Mitten State, then lived in Maine before coming to Michigan's Great Southwest. Maine’s specialty hot dogs are called “red snappers”, and that’s exactly what they are. Bright red, and they “snap” when you bite. The bun is buttered and grilled, traditional topping is sautéed onions (NEVER RAW!), or mustard. Here’s a picture I found:
Photo cred: Yankee Magazine.
See? Bright red!
As someone who has been eating highly colored hot dogs for a few years (see above), the vegetables on the Chicago-style hot dog threw me off a little at first...but I'm an adventurous eater and figured I'd try it. Wow! The virtual salad on top of the hot dog is awesome, and somehow, the pieces all fit together perfectly. I also love our members, and itt's also an awesome family business in downtown St. Joseph!
Ben Yacobozzi was the genius behind the location and offering; it’s now run by his grandson, Nick, and family friends. The kids churn out hot dogs on hot summer days, saving up money for college in the fall. They are also great sports when I ask them to take pictures and quiz them on their summer job (with Ben nearby, of course!).
Nick and Christine on opening day; later in the season (July!) and the line keeps getting longer.
Nick and Christine say it’s mostly Chicago-style hot dogs, though they keep ketchup on hand. They say that the sport peppers are the most omitted item; however, both of them keep the sweet pickle relish off their hot dogs! Nick and Christine told me they get frequent requests for mayo on hot dogs, but stick to the traditional toppings.
All of the supplies for a Chicago-style hot dog...and ketchup.
Nick and Christine hard at work at the Hot Dog Kart.
You can catch the Hot Dog Kart most days on the corner of Broad and State Street in downtown St. Joseph. It’s a weather-dependent business; feel free to call the Welcome Center at 269.985.1111 to find out for sure!