NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

July 18, 2007

On National Hot Dog Day, vendors offer many ways to celebrate

Nina Fournier calls her hot dog stand on High Street her personal therapy. Yesterday was a slow day, with only about 30 hot dogs sold, and by 2:30 p.m., Fournier was lounging in Atkinson Common with her husband, John, waiting for a final few customers. Though on a good day she sells as many as 80, she was still feeling pretty lucky.

She lives two blocks away and her husband, John, owns a barbershop just a short distance in the other direction. She said she makes enough money to help her family, has the opportunity to talk with many people and gets to bring Nina’s Relish — a family recipe she’s made for 20 years — to the masses.

Despite her prime location that includes chairs on the shady lawn of Atkinson Common, Nina’s Weiners isn’t even the most popular stand in town. That title goes to the landmark Shirley’s Place on Inn Street, which was started by local legend Shirley Lattime as a pepper steak stand in the mid-1970s. There, they might sell as many as 200 dogs on a busy Sunday, employees at the stand said yesterday.

Fournier can’t claim being the new gal on the block, either. At Plum Island Point, newly retired Nelson Burns just started Plum Island Dogs, with a little advice from Fournier to get him started.

In Newburyport, a town sporting fast-food chains and dozens of restaurants, there seems to be plenty of room for all the hot dog vendors, too.

The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, which has dubbed today National Hot Dog Day, estimates the average Americans eats 60 dogs each year. In Newburyport, including the 25-cent dogs sold at Richdale downtown, there are hundreds of hot dogs bought and consumed each day.

Despite all those hot dog lovers, none of the vendors, who charge around $2 per hot dog, is in it for the money.

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