Today’s adventure brought us to bustling downtown Needham, Massachusetts- the home of Dog Gone Ron’s Hot Dog Cart. Ron’s is located right on the street in front of Bacchiochi’s Mobil gas station at 1111 Great Plain Avenue. The hot dog cart is open for business Monday through Friday, 11 AM – 7PM during the summer time. Ron’s is open Saturdays during the fall and spring too.
Ron’s stays open until January and starts up in the month of March; weather permitting, of course.
Dog Gone Ron’s is owned by a former high school classmate of the Hotdogman‘s little brother, Eric Wagner. “Ron” is his nickname. He’s been running the hot dog cart in front of the Mobil station for 7 years. Eric owns the Mobil station and has for quite some time. 7 years ago, he decided to leverage his location by starting downtown Needham’s only hot dog business. Judging by the longevity of the business and the steady stream of customers, Dog Gone Ron’s is a successful hot dog business. Eric’s joked with me in the past that he makes more money with his hot dog business than he does with the gas station! Unfortunately, Eric was on vacation when Little Miss and I stopped by on our way to a Doctor’s appointment.
The hot dog cart was being run by two college students- Kerry Mack and Sam Rubin. Kerry’s in her second season at Dog Gone Ron’s-she got the job because she lives right down the street and has known Eric for a few years. Sam is in his first season-he just stopped by one day and asked if Eric needed any help. They both confess to really enjoying their jobs- hey, it beats bagging groceries!
Sam slings the dogs while Kerry handles the money and hands out the chips and sodas. The self serve condiments include sauerkraut, onions, relish, brown and yellow mustard and ketchup.
The hot dog cart is your standard tow behind with three steam wells and sinks. The burners are powered by propane and there is no storage on the cart itself for sodas. Eric bought the pre-owned hot dog cart 7 years ago for around $800.00. We couldn’t figure out the manufacturer.
The hot dog cart is towed daily by a mint 1972 Chevy Blazer which has been custom fitted with retractable awnings that are more commonly found on boats.
In addition to transporting the cart, the Blazer provides storage for a couple of soda coolers, chips and other supplies. It also serves as an impromptu break room for Sam!
ON TO THE FOOD….
I surveyed the menu- hmmm, I think I’ll have a hot dog…..
…checked out the dining room-which is a bench surrounding a perennial garden in the corner of the gas station parking lot…
…picked out a soda…
…Little Miss was eying the large assortment of frozen treats in the adjacent freezer…
…and our dogs were ready! Dog Gone Ron’s serves up an Old Neighborhood Beef Frank “dirty water dog” style on a steamed bun. Little Miss got her standard plain dog.
I dressed mine “All Around Brown”- that’s onions, relish and brown mustard.
Then it was time to CHOW DOWN!
Like the dogs served on most small hot dog carts, this is a bare bones dog. When you’re going bare bones, it pays the operator of the hot dog cart to provide a QUALITY HOT DOG. Old Neighborhood franks fit the bill; they stand up well to the “dirty water” cooking style, they get really juicy on the inside and they have a nice, mildly spicy flavor. Nothing beats a hot dog for lunch on a sunny day, whether it’s fancy or not. What makes a hot dog special from a hot dog cart like this is the location, good customer service and a quality dog served HOT.
Little Miss gives Dog Gone Ron’s TWO THUMBS UP on all three!
When you’re in Needham and you’re looking for a good, quick bite for lunch, stop by Dog Gone Ron’s and gas up the car when you’re done. As always, tell them “the Hotdogman sent me.”