Originally, all hot dogs were made with steamed buns, and most times the buns would be soggy. If customers took the sandwiches home, the buns would harden. Jim was very clever – he grilled the wieners, placed them in his special buns, added dressings and popped them in the broiler. Success!
During high school and college, Syl worked in the store where he did his homework on the soda fountain counter. His dinner was usually from the sandwich menu and he looked for ways to enhance the meal. Hot dogs were a favorite – the wieners were grilled, placed in buns and topped with chopped onions, mustard, relish and Jim's Famous Sauce – and then toasted. One evening he added a slab of cheese to his hot dog and popped it in the broiler. The cheese melted a bit and formed a light brown crust. It became his favorite but was not placed on the menu until a customer saw what he was making and asked if it was available. It took off, and has become Jim's signature sandwich. The combination of the sauce, the cheese and being broiled made all of the difference.
Jim's uses the very best wiener available and a special cheese over the sauce that melts and forms a perfect crust. Jim was adamant about the sauce; he would not put ketchup on a hot dog. Al has since loosened up a bit on that, but not many people ask for ketchup – why would you want ketchup instead of a million dollar sauce?
history of the dog
Facts from Linda Stradely, What's Cooking America. For a more detailed history, visit her website.
850 B.C. – Sausage is mentioned in Homer's Odyssey.
64 A.D. – Claudius Caesar's discovers the first sausage.
1484 – The frankfurter was developed in Frankfurt, Germany.
1805 – Vienna (Wien), Austria point to the term "wiener" to prove their claim as the birthplace of the hot dog.
1852 – The butcher's guild in Frankfurt, Germany introduced a spiced and smoked sausage, calling it a "frankfurter".
1860s – German immigrants sold hot dogs, from pushcarts in New York City's Bowery.
1867 – Charles Feltman, a German butcher, opened the first Coney Island hot dog stand in Brooklyn, NY.
1880 – German peddler, Antonoine Feuchtwanger, sold hot sausages in a split bun on the streets of St. Louis. He called them red hots.
1893 – Visitors of The Chicago World's Fair where treated to sausages sold by vendors. Sausages became the standard fare at baseball parks.
1894 or 1895 – Sausage vendors sold their wares at major eastern universities, and their carts became known as "dog wagons". University magazines refer to them as "hot dog".
1901 – Frankfurters were sold at Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, NY.
1902 – A story claims that the term "hog dog" was coined during a Giants baseball game In NY. Harry Mozley Stevens's vendors sold dachshund sausages in rolls, from portable hot water tanks while yelling, "They're red hot! Get your dachshund sausages while they're red hot!"
1903 – Adolf Gehring sold cooked pork sausages and wieners on split rolls at a ball game in St. Louis, MI. One man hollered, "Give me one of those damn hot dogs." The phrase caught on and everyone was soon hollering for hot dogs."
1916 – Nathan Handwerker with his wife Ida, started Nathan's Famous, Inc., in Coney Island, which calls itself the world's greatest hot dog purveyor.
1939 – Franklin D. Roosevelt, served King George VI of England Nathan's hot dogs at a picnic.