PORT ARANSAS – One Port Aransas business owner is celebrating five years on wheels this month.
Suzanne Piette, otherwise known as “The Hot Dog Lady,” has been relishing in life’s simple pleasures since she opened her hot dog cart in 2013.
However, that hasn’t always been the case. She worked in the medical field for 23 years and said, quite frankly, she got tired of working her buns off.
“I just got tired of nursing, so I sat down with pen and paper to figure out what it would cost to get my Physician’s Assistant and a hot dog cart. They came out to the same amount, so the hot dog cart won,” Piette said.
But Piette isn’t living on “island time.” She starts her work days early at the local market picking out toppings before the lunch rush. “I’m very particular and picky. I go to the store every morning to get my fresh produce and have the hot dogs of course delivered,” Piette said.
She’s certainly done her research. She’s traveled across the country to bring a midwest favorite to the Third Coast.
“I checked in Chicago, so I had the ‘Chicago Dog’ nailed and the poppy seed buns, like Portillo’s,” Piette said.
But she obviously had to spice things up with an additional southern twist. The cart is always stocked with fresh jalapenos.
Loyal customers say they’ll wait in line, even if it is 15-footlong.
“She has the best dogs in this whole region,” one customer raved.
Locals aren’t the only ones hooked on Piette’s hot dogs. Out-of-towners and neighborhood barflies always stop by for a late-night snack after a night out at the beach town watering holes.
“She’s a walking, talking tourist bureau here too,” a frequent flyer said.
When asked about the most popular menu item, customers deemed it an award-wiener.
“Delicious! I couldn’t wait. I had to get into it, and it’ll be all gone before I get home.”
“The Hot Dog Lady” is open for lunch Wednesday-Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. outside La Playa Mexican Grille at 222 Beach St.
Looking for more of a midnight snack? The hot dog stand can be found outside Bernie’s Beach House at 730 Trout St. on Friday and Saturday nights from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Piette said to expect a line during those hours, as she is a one-woman band. She promises the hot dog will be wurst (worth) the wait.