MARCO ISLAND — Don’t give the Big Apple’s hip hot dog vendors another thought when it comes to classy.
Marco Island’s Chris Quinton has raised the hot dog’s pedigree to a unique BeachDog served from a stylish stainless steel pushcart and is now feeding famished customers 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. every Wednesday at Marco Island Farmers Market and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Thursday at Coconut Point in Estero.
Quinton is a classic invention born of necessity kind of guy. A U.S Army veteran, married and new father who came back to Marco Island after discharge and took the first step of his educational perks to earn an Associate Degree in Business Administration and now contemplating the next step career wise.
“We were sitting around thinking of ways to generate income — a new twist on something familiar and ordinary that made it unique. I’ve always enjoyed cooking for people you know, grilling the usual hot dogs and burgers and creating special side dishes at gatherings of friends and family,” said Quinton adding that out of those family gab sessions the original BeachDog name and mobile hot dog cart concept came into fruition.
“There is nothing like it on the island or the mainland,” he said.
True, the concept of peddling hot dogs from a cart is unique to Marco Island area and to make the idea into reality, Quinton had to choose his $5,000-plus umbrella topped mobile kitchen from the thousands of models available from commercial suppliers online. Then it took several months of wading through the permitting process before the sleek stainless steel wheeled cart, complete with propane fuelled steam table, could occupy vendor space 111 at the Farmers Market in time for the Nov. 4 grand opening.
That said, on to the good stuff — hot dog. Not just any nameless commercial kind but famous Nathan’s hot dog that originated on the Coney Island beach boardwalk stand decades ago. While Nathan’s topping accoutrements are limited, Quinton has branched out in a dozen or more toppings limited only by his imagination and the constraints of the Food & Drug Administration’s regulations that allow only commercially prepared and packaged condiments to be served, said Quinton.
Nevertheless, Quinton devised a way to provide condiment variety over and above the usual ketchup, mustard, relish and sanctioned chili and /or cheese sauce toppings. He held tasting parties for family members and friends in order to provide greater variety to customers. Now, BeachDog’s adjoining condiment table is loaded with a dozen or more toppings and condiments such as french fried onions, pickled jalapeno slices, regular yellow and spicy brown mustard, bacon bits, sauerkraut and more complimentary toppings piled on top by customers.
BeachDog’s Nathan’s hot dogs are heated in a propane powered steamer built into the cart’s approximately 4 by 5 foot counter top. The wieners are served on a bun warmed by solar power and Quinton ladles on the sauces that are included in the BeachDog bare bones $3 price. There’s also a combo option of a soda and bag of chips for $1 more, said Quinton. “Actually, we’re gratified with the public’s response to what initially started out as a seasonal farmers market pilot project that provided maximum exposure for minimal expense. Our goal is locate in a permanent location either on Marco Island or in Naples as a home base for the mobile hot dog cart, the possibilities are boundless!”
For more information, email BeachDogsinfo@yahoo.com or call (239) 248-4310 or visit www.beachdogs.us