Hot Dog on a Stick—home of hot dogs, cherry lemonade and tall women in brightly colored outfits who (at least on the Mainland) have a tendency to sneer—recently opened in the Queen Ka‘ahumanu Center food court, in the old Paradise Café location. That was a great little café—really good soup, sandwiches and these little chocolate chip cookies. Anyway, now it’s gone, replaced by a national chain.
Hot Dog on a Stick does not make corndogs. Mere corndogs are frozen and reheated. But the cuisine offered by Hot Dog on a Stick is made to order.
Now before you think I’ve sold out to the Man, keep in mind that Hot Dog on a Stick is 100 percent Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), meaning that the company is owned by its employees. While the tacky uniforms are easy to make fun of, it’s hard to hate the business.
Hot Dog on a Stick’s menu is fairly simple: they have their hot dogs on sticks, hot dogs in buns, cheese on a stick, French fries, fried zucchini, batter-dipped fish, lemonade and frozen lemonade.
The Hot Dog on a Stick hot dogs are made of 100 percent poultry, while the hot dog in a bun hot dogs are made of 100 percent beef. The cheese on a stick is American cheese dipped in something called “Party Batter” (don’t ask) and then fried in soybean oil. In fact, everything is fried in soybean oil. Well, everything except the lemonade, which comes in original, cherry and lime flavors. The prices are decent too; I was able to sample everything on the menu for under $30.
Hot Dog on a Stick obviously does not cater to those on strict diets. Or even lax diets—it it’s unapologetic comfort food, greasy and unhealthy. The hot dog on a stick just drips with oil as you eat mouthful after mouthful of its myocardial infarction deliciousness. At best, it’s a sometime-food.
June 13, the late company founder Dave Barham’s birthday, is Free Hot Dog Day. So even if you don’t like hot dogs slathered in batter and oil—they’re free. On National Lemonade Day, they donate a portion of all lemonade sales to Alex’s Lemonade Stand, a foundation that researches pediatric cancer.
Still, even with all this philanthropy, employee ownership and good corporate citizenship, I was dying to make fun of something about the food stand, which has 103 locations in 17 states.
“C’mon, you can’t like that uniform,” I asked the girl working the counter one day. The red, yellow and blue tops, blue hot pants and jockey caps were a fashion faux pas 30 years ago.
But she disagreed, saying that the uniform was the best part of the job. Later, I found out that they made maternity uniforms and even Mormon uniforms.
Hot dogs on sticks and Mormon uniforms; what will they think of next? MTW