New hot dog stand graces Chilton County

Published 3:18 pm Tuesday, November 12, 2013

“I just decided it was time to do something on my own,” Ellison said. “I have just been overwhelmed. I was not expecting such a good acceptance of it.”

After driving to South Carolina to pick up his food cart more than a month ago, Ellison refurbished it and looked into where and when he could set it up.

He obtained a vendor’s permit from the city of Clanton, certification from the Chilton County Health Department and scored a 96 on his first health rating.

“It would have been 100 if I had been wearing a hat,” Ellison said, laughing. “I wasn’t thinking that day.”

Ellison’s cart runs off propane and has three burners, a steamer and hot and cold water sinks.

He cooks his hot dogs in beef broth and uses the steamer to warm the buns and dogs together.

Ellison estimated he sells 40–60 hot dogs and sausages each day he is downtown.

He also takes his cart to local events like Thorsby’s Swedish Festival and the cattle sale in Clanton, as well as special events and birthday parties.

When stationed next to the courthouse, Ellison receives a significant amount of traffic in the form of people coming to or leaving court.

“The court days are bad for them but good for me,” Ellison said. “At least they can get a good meal at a good price. Nobody comes up here unhappy because they’re going to get a hot dog.”

On the days he sells food at the courthouse, Ellison said he spends about 30–45 minutes preparing his sauce and toppings at home before hitching his food cart to the back of his Jeep and driving downtown to set up by 10 a.m.

Ellison’s hot dogs are only $2, and combos range from $4–$6 each.

All of his combos come with chips and a drink.

He charges nothing extra for toppings or sauces.

Cash is the only form of payment Ellison accepts.

Ellison’s hot dog stand is open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., weather permitting, at the corner of Second Avenue North and Fifth Street South.

Ellison doesn’t keep his customers waiting. He can assemble a dog in less than a minute.

“I have had no complaints, just return customers,” Ellison said. “I’m doing something that nobody gets upset about. I get to talk to great people—that’s the best thing about this job.”

Ellison has cultivated his skills in creating exceptional hot dogs over the years from taste-testing franks and sausages in places renowned for theirs, including Coney Island, N.Y. and Germany, where he was stationed for a period of time in the United States Air Force.

Only a month into his business, Ellison said he has received enough positive feedback from customers to know he made the right decision in serving hot dogs to people in his hometown.

“Between the people of Clanton and my family, the support has been amazing,” Ellison said. “It makes me proud to live here. I hope I’m 70 out here still slinging hot dogs. I love this job.”

For more information, call Ellison at (205) 217-6802, email or visit Chad’s Lunch Box on Facebook.