Stephen Du Toit working in the kitchen. (Source: KLTV News staff)
Hot dog on the grill at The Stand. (Source: KLTV News staff)
TYLER, TX (KLTV) -
Wednesday was National Hot Dog Day and the perfect time to talk with the king of hot dogs in East Texas. The Stand Restaurant opened two years ago in Tyler and has been serving up hot dogs stacked high with unusual toppings ever since. The owner of The Stand said life just seemed to guide him to the hot dog-making business.
When Stephan Du Toit was a little boy he did not plan to grow up and open a hot dog stand.
“I was born in South Africa. I still remember being six-years-old and finding an old ice cream bicycle in a junk yard. I loved junk and I was fixing it up and I told my dad 'I’m going to sell ice cream,'” Du Toit remembered.
Years later and a couple big moves across the globe, he ended up in Tyler where cones turned to buns.
“It was a dare to go apply for the job at the little hot dog stand at Lowes. I was just out of high school and I was like 'Oh my gosh, it’s hot dogs. I mean, I can eat and work. Okay, let’s do it!'”
One failed food truck and a successful handyman business later, he drove by a rundown storefront and persuaded the owner to let him remodel.
“By the time I got done remodeling I was seriously like, I’m not opening a restaurant; I’m already so worn out,” he said.
The Stand stood and worked, much to the surprise of others.
“When I first opened they were like, 'it’s hot dogs. You gotta sell like a billion.'”
A unique menu and toppings like mac-n-cheese, and pride for their product, took them far.
“Seriously, I hate giving it to people, because then they eat it and we don’t see it anymore,” Du Toit said as he put together a hot dog sandwich piled high with toppings.
“It’s like America’s number one food,” exclaimed Holly Tryon, a patron.
It’s no wonder customers relish these dogs.
“We’re part of the growth of Tyler,” Du Toit explained. “We put the money back. I have a family, you know, a two-year-old and a four-year-old and a girl due any second, and this is what they do. They take care of my family, so why not take care of the customers?”
In the end owning a hot dog stand turned out to be everything he ever wanted. The stand celebrated its two year anniversary this week. Du Toit said that if you have a suggestion for a new, unique, topping, his ears are open...if your stomachs are.
Tuesday, September 16 2014 7:31 AM EDT2014-09-16 11:31:48 GMT
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