You no longer need to travel to Yankee Stadium for a good old-fashioned hot dog; just head to the banks of Round Lake and order one with the works.
Drivers will see the orange signs along Route 9 in Round Lake, and there’s room to pull over on the grassy shoulder to walk up to Little Nipper’s, where Malta resident John Anderson will hook you up with a fresh steamed frankfurter, topped with meat sauce, sauerkraut or mustard and relish. Lunch will set you back $2.25 for a single hot dog, or $5 for a pair with a side of chips and can of soda. The oversized, 100 percent beef Sabrett wieners come in two varieties, with natural casing or skinless.
“These are the real New York City style dogs,” Anderson said. “People tell me they can’t get them any place around here.”
Anderson unfurled his bright yellow and blue umbrella and stoked up his shiny metal steamer for opening day Tuesday, and within five hours, had sold his complete inventory of 300 franks, one dozen of them to a single hungry customer.
“I had a guy order 12 hot dogs and then a diet soda,” Anderson said. “He ate them as he stood here.”
Anderson’s investment into the entrepreneurial venture included $1,000 for the vending cart, $50 for a local permit, as well as the ongoing cost of menu items. But on opening day, sales were so hot, he raked in $400. It seems the local taste for franks is insatiable.
“I opened up today at 9 a.m., and there were two people here immediately,” Anderson said Wednesday. “Can you imagine, hot dogs for breakfast?”
A cement stamper by trade, Anderson said the slump in the economy has stymied some of his construction work, so he came up with the new business plan on a creative whim.
“I used to be a truck driver, and I ate a lot of hot dogs along the way,” Anderson said. “Hot dogs are popular anytime; when things are down and people have only $6 in their pockets, they still want a soda and a hot dog. It’s a really inexpensive lunch.”
One of the perks of the wiener work is being outdoors and having the constant companionship of his two pet terriers, Little Nipper and Curly Fries, who sit in Anderson’s pickup truck and whimper for food.
“But I don’t sell curly fries,” Anderson clarified.
If you stand upwind, the scent that brings to mind a good Labor Day weekend picnic wafts into open car windows, and Wednesday, a few people driving southbound pulled U-turns on Route 9 to squeal up to the embankment. One customer was Brian McCune of Voorheesville, who stopped for two franks with meat sauce and a Coke.
“I saw the signs when I was bringing my mother to a doctor’s appointment, so I doubled back,” McCune said. “I haven’t had a hot dog in ages.”
Anderson suspects fishermen angling along Saratoga Lake may also become regular customers.
“It’s hard to resist the aroma,” Anderson said.
Anderson said he plans to be open for business seven days a week, roughly 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., or until the last hot dog is doused with sauce and sold, accompanied by a stack of napkins.
“I may hire a teenager later in the season if my construction work picks back up, but for now this is a great job,” Anderson said. “Who knew it would take off like this?”
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