Street vendor sets up hot dog cart in Frisco
Frisco, CO Colorado
FRISCO, Colorado – After three hours at his new job, Pete Newton of Frisco looked as happy as any new hot dog salesman could be.
“I cooked everything I wanted to, and I tried everything I wanted to,” Newton said, grinning as he did so. “So have all my neighbors.”
Newton is the owner and operator of Pete’s Good Eats, the only hot dog cart in Frisco. Set up outside the barbershop at the corner of 3rd and Main, Newton was totally at ease as he cooked hot dogs for passers-by in his orange shirt, sunglasses and cowboy hat.
“I’ve done at least 15 lunches in three hours,” he said.
Even on his first day, Newton was fast becoming a hit on his corner.
“You’re smelling up the neighborhood,” one bystander said, though judging by his smile he meant it in a good way.
“You should take this thing down to the softball fields,” another one said.
Pete’s Good Eats has a menu to please any hot dog connoisseur. Along with your basic kosher dogs, Newton has Chicago-style hot dogs, kabobs, New York-style hot dogs that come with his own special red onion sauce (Newton grew up in Brooklyn), and a daily lunch special that runs the gamut from cheese steaks to grilled cheese to sausage, peppers and onions.
“I love food, I love cooking food, and I love getting creative with recipes,” he said. “There’s space in the county for food that’s fun, creative and ethnic.”
While the standard hot dog is the most popular item so far, Newton said his best dish is one of his kabobs. It consists of marinated flank steak, onions, zucchini and cherry tomatoes. The contents of the marinade are known only to Newton and one other person.
“It’s my mom’s secret recipe,” he said.
Newton said he’s been in the food service business for 22 years, 11 of those as a bartender and server at Frisco’s Blue Spruce. He said he decided to switch to hot dogs after seeing an episode of “John Ratzenberger’s Made in America,” a show about American manufacturing companies that airs on the Travel Channel. The episode focused on a company that made hot dog carts. Newton saw it and decided to give it a shot after doing some research online.
“Hot dogs are recession proof,” he said. “You’re choices for going out around here are fairly limited.”
Setting up a hot dog stand isn’t as easy as one might think. Newton said he had to go through three months of bureaucracy and red-tape to get approval from Frisco to set up his shop.
“This is basically a rolling restaurant,” he said. “It has to meet any criteria a restaurant has to meet.”
Newton is required to have a commercial kitchen to do all his preparation work in and bring his cart back to every day. He also has to have his cart inspected by the county Environmental Health Department like any other restaurant. Additionally, Newton can’t set up his cart on any public right of way, so he has to lease sidewalk space from a landlord.
Hot dogs are also surprisingly expensive. Newton said he has sunk about $13,000 into his new business, which includes the cart, all his food supplies and leasing space to set up his “shop.” In spite of the hassle and expense, Newton is optimistic about his future prospects.
“I’m confident I’ll break even by the end of the summer,” he said. “Things go well, I’ll buy a couple more carts.”
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