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The Dartmouth
March 2, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

As hot dog stand ‘Frankfurters’ arrives in town, ‘Tacos y Tequila’ restaurant prepares for mid-fall opening

Frankfurters features specialties like the “Joan” and “Dirty Water” dogs, and Tacos y Tequila aims to sell every type of tequila available in New Hampshire.

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Frankfurters has already collaborated with campus Greek organizations, and Tacos y Tequila has expressed interest in hosting campus functions upon opening as well. 

As the summer wraps up, Frankfurters — a new hot dog stand at the corner of Wheelock Street and Main Street — reports a successful first season of business. Meanwhile, just down the road, “Tacos y Tequila” — a new Mexican restaurant — is preparing to open in the location formerly occupied by Skinny Pancake this fall.

Frankfurters

Frankfurters opened in June 2021, according to co-owner Molly Hopkins. The stand sells 15 to 20 hot dogs per day, as well as fresh lemonade and cold drinks. 

She said the cart offers specialty hot dogs like the “Joan”— inspired by Hopkins’ late grandmother who operated a hot dog cart for ferryboat passengers in Maine. As a child, Hopkins said that she helped her grandmother run the stand in the summer.

According to Hopkins, one of the stand’s most popular items is the “dirty water dog” — the brainchild of Frankfurters’ co-owner and her fiancé Joel Cockburn. The item is named after the method he uses to cook the hot dog.

“He cooks the hot dogs in seasoned water with onions, garlic and yummy seasonings,” Hopkins said. “It adds a kick but it is not overpowering; a lot of people veer toward the ‘dirty water’ dog.” 

Hanover town clerk Donna Stender said that vendors like Hopkins and Cockburn pay $15 per day to sell in Hanover and must provide proof of business insurance. She added that Frankfurters must confirm that their regular spot is open and fill out and display the appropriate paperwork every morning. 

Cockburn said he hopes the stand will remain open until late October before returning in the spring. He added that he has “always had a passion for cooking” and that he and Hopkins hope to evolve their business over time from a pushcart to a storefront restaurant.

Hopkins said that the cart has provided her with an outlet to work through the COVID-19 pandemic, and has helped bring her family closer together. 

“I had some medical issues which made me unable to work or drive, and I was stuck at home during the pandemic,” Hopkins said. “This [cart is] a great way to interact with people, make money and save my sanity.” 

Hopkins said that both her daughter and Joel’s son are involved in the business, and together, they spend time as a family outside at the stand — without “screens and videogames.”

“Joel has a son who does the cash register and my daughter — who is eight — makes the lemonade,” she said. 

Cockburn said that Frankfurters has worked with West House and multiple Greek organizations to bring fresh hot dogs to their events.

Jackson Elder ’23, a member of Bones Gate, said that Hopkins had asked him about possible parties on campus where Frankfurters could set up shop. At a concert in early August, Elder explained that BG worked with the cart owners to host them outside of the fraternity, noting that members of the fraternity even helped move the Frankfurters cart to their property for the evening.

“It sounded awesome for them from a business perspective, as there is always a line of people waiting to get in [to our concerts],” he said. According to Elder, the stand’s night at BG was a success.

“It was a big hit — they sold a lot of hot dogs,” he said.

Tacos y Tequila

Down the street, restaurateur and Tacos y Tequila owner Ramiro Bravo is preparing the Mexican bar and restaurant for a mid-fall opening in Skinny Pancake’s former location.

Bravo said the restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. from Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, Tacos y Tequila will open at 10 a.m. and offer brunch in addition to their usual menu, available until close at 9 p.m. Bravo added that he is planning for the restaurant to have an “upbeat” atmosphere, including televisions playing sports channels. 

Bravo said that his first restaurant was near Clemson University, so he is “familiar” with college campuses and would be open to hosting private events. 

“We will be available for [private] functions as long as it does not disrupt dining hours,” he said. 

Bravo currently owns six restaurants, including three other Tacos y Tequila locations in both Pennsylvania and Maine. Over the course of his career, Bravo said he has owned 15 different restaurants.

A self-proclaimed tequila connoisseur with family roots in Jalisco, Mexico, Bravo said Tacos y Tequila will offer “casual fine dining” with quality ingredients and authentic recipes. Additionally,  he plans to offer every type of tequila available in the state of New Hampshire. 

“If there are 150 tequilas in New Hampshire, we will have 150 tequilas,” he said. 

Specialty drinks will include the “cantarito,” Bravo said, which includes tequila, citrus juices and  Squirt, a brand of grapefruit soda.

Allentown, Pennsylvania’s Tacos y Tequila general manager Breandon Velazquez said that the company works with suppliers in each region to order specialty tequilas and provide the best spirit selection in the state.

Right now, Velazquez said he is helping Bravo set up the Hanover location by installing tables, painting and building furniture. 

“We are trying to get everything in place as quickly as possible,” he said. 

Bravo said that there is currently an “extreme” level of disruption in restaurant supply chains, noting that kitchen equipment — which once took two or three weeks to come — now takes up to two months to arrive. Bravo said he has already found a general manager and the main kitchen staff for the Hanover location, but he has yet to start sourcing support staff, including waiters. 

“I have heard about the labor shortage [in the Upper Valley] — hopefully we don’t run into that,” he said, adding that Tacos y Tequila will use social media and storefront advertising to find staff. 

Bravo said it has been easy to work with the town of Hanover during the opening process so far. He said Tacos y Tequila hopes to serve as a “one-stop-shop” for Mexican cuisine and tequila “experiences,” and will offer both a digital app and an online ordering system once the business opens.