The retirement of beloved hot dog vendor/cartoonist Woody Barlettani (“View from a hot dog cart,” June 21, 2007) does not mean the downtown is devoid of hot dog carts. Dale Schroeder, 47, leads a sort of double life. By night, he slings cards as a dealer at one of the local casinos. By day, many know him as the mild-mannered hot dog vendor who has set up his cart on the corner of South Virginia and Court streets. Everything from chili dogs to Polish sausage to German bratwurst can be ordered. His business, Lucky Dawg Hot Dogs, also caters and can be reached at (775) 338-3113 or at www.luckydawghotdogs.com.
How did you end up becoming a hot dog vendor?
Well, I’ve been in Reno here for 15 years, originally from Alaska, so I really enjoy all the sunshine and warmth here. Casino dealer by trade, but I thought I’d try something different. I know people love hot dogs, and here I am.
How long have you been at this location and why here?
This is my second year, actually. It’s my second year with the business. I come out here for lunch, serve a lot of the 9-to-5 workers around this area. There’s seating here, and I have people that pull up in the parking lot and order.
About how long does it take to set up?
It takes about half an hour to set up and break down. I get off [casino] work at 10 a.m. and I can usually get set up by 10:30 am and will stick around till about 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Any regulars that stop by?
I have a lot of regulars, actually. At one point, I usually get all the sheriffs from the courthouse and come over here. I get some security guards that work the banks. People from the IRS building, as well. I have one in particular that pulls up, never gets out of his car, but I know exactly what he wants and run it up to him.
Are there other people you come across?
Every once in a while, I’ll see a homeless person walking by and ask them if they’re hungry. They’ll usually say, “Yes,” and then I’ll give them a hot dog. I’ll usually go to Tent City on Record Street and hand out all the hot dogs I don’t sell during the day to the people there. It’s a good way to get rid of all the hot dogs that don’t sell, and they appreciate it.
Other information about the business?
I have a lot of people that ask me how did I get into this and tell me that they’d love to do it. I’m hoping down the road to have a sort of commercial kitchen of about 10 carts and have people that can either rent them out or lease to buy them. It’s a cheap and easy way for a person to start their own business.
Any upcoming events you’ll be catering?
I’ll be at the Blockbuster grand opening at the Northtowne Center July 8th from 12 p.m.-3 p.m. handing out free hot dogs for them. July 18th there’s Shout Out Loud, a big concert out at Wingfield Park, and I’ll be serving hot dogs there, but those you have to pay for [laughs].