by Joe Buttweiler –
MASON CITY – For many years David Lockwood had an urge to run a hot dog stand.
But he just couldn’t swing it. “It doesn’t make the kind of money you can pay for a house with,” he said Wednesday, serving up dogs and brats at his new venture, “The Dog,” in downtown Mason City.
He drove semi trucks for a living but then got hurt and got a settlement. So he figured the time was right to do the dog sales thing. He went on eBay and got an Ultimate Hot Dog Cart that, he said, retails for $3,400. It arrived a couple weeks ago. He got a permit from the city and opened up shop Monday at the corner of Fifth Street Southwest and South Federal Avenue.
“I think it’s great,” said Betty Pierson, who stopped by for a bite on Wednesday afternoon.
“People seem to like it,” she said. “You drive through town and find a little stand, stop off and try it. I hope it goes great for him.”
Lockwood said sales went “real well Monday and Tuesday” but were a little slower on Wednesday.
“It’s a pretty good deal,” said customer Jim Read, who farms near Rockford and stopped at The Dog cart Wednesday afternoon with Joe Malfero of Mason City.
“It tastes good. It’s a pretty good idea, I think,” Read said of the hot dog cart. “The price is right. Tastes great. You can get it how you want.”
Having a hot dog cart downtown is “kind of like in the big cities,” he said.
It was Malfero’s second stop at the dog wagon, having been there Tuesday. “It’s a good deal.”
Apparently there will be some competition this summer. The Mason City Council approved a request recently from dentist Jay Lala of Central Park Dentistry for a hot dog vendor cart to operate in Central Park.
Lockwood said maybe there can be a friendly competition in the summer.
Meanwhile, he hopes to build a good customer base at the corner of Fifth and Federal, serving walk-up, drive-up or ride-up customers. Already he has provided window service to some older customers who didn’t want to get out of their car.
Whatever it takes.
Lockwood said he plans to be at the corner of Fifth Street Southwest and South Federal Avenue from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and on North Federal Avenue near the Kozy Korner Bar, 1402 N. Federal Ave., from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays.
Besides hot dogs, the menu includes Johnsonville brats and Johnsonville jalapeno and cheddar dogs for $2 each; chili dogs for $2.50; Italian sausages for $3. Chips, soda and water cost $1. Relish, onions, kraut and special sauces are free for toppings.