New hot dog stand graces Chilton CountyBy Emily Beckett Published 3:18pm Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Nearly a month ago, Chilton County gained a new food vendor.
Chad Ellison, 39 of Clanton, started serving his handcrafted hot dogs in his hometown.
But Ellison’s hot dog business, “Chad’s Lunch Box,” is not a typical food establishment.
Instead of a four-walled restaurant, Ellison owns and operates a food cart he locates at a street corner in downtown Clanton, close to the Chilton County Courthouse.
From the $3,000 cart he purchased in an online auction, Ellison sells Nathan’s All Beef Franks and Conecuh smoked sausage, plain or topped with seemingly limitless combinations of condiments, vegetables, sauces and seasonings.
“I’m a hot dog man, and this is a hot dog stand,” Ellison declared on a sunny Friday morning outside the courthouse. “I have awesome stuff to serve.”
Ellison’s offerings include a Chicago dog topped with pickles, tomatoes, onions, yellow mustard and relish; a sausage dog topped with onions, red peppers and spicy brown mustard; and his “Heart Stopper,” a frank topped with cooked applewood bacon and smothered in Ellison’s homemade rémoulade sauce.
“I just have every kind of topping you could dream of for a hot dog,” Ellison said. “Anybody can cook a hot dog, but it’s how you top it. I have so many different sauces.”
His rémoulade sauce is a mixture of mayonnaise, spicy mustard, garlic, Tabasco sauce and Worcestershire sauce—a recipe he learned from Mike Williams when Ellison managed Williams’ kitchen at Friends Steakhouse a couple of years ago.
“It’s a real tangy mayo sauce,” Ellison said. “It goes so good with bacon.”
While working at Friends, Ellison and his coworkers experimented with many kinds of hot dog recipes, and Williams operated a hot dog stand.
“Mike was really my inspiration for the whole thing,” Ellison said. “We just loved hot dogs. We used to eat hot dogs all the time.”
Ellison said he has always loved to cook, and with an entrepreneurial spirit, he decided to try his hand at operating his own hot dog stand in Chilton.