91 savor www.wrightsvillebeachmagazine.com WBM “Sales show that hot dogs are a year-round favorite,” says Thomas Hissam, owner of Sam’s Hot Dog Stand in Wilmington. “They’re fast, healthy and hit the spot.” Although considered an All-American food, hot dog historians speculate that today’s popular sausage was most likely born in the German-speaking world, where in fact two towns hold a long-standing feud over the right to be called the birthplace of the modern-day hot dog. The people of Frankfurt claim to have created the long, thin wurst known as a frankfurter in 1487, five years before Christopher Columbus set sail for the Americas. They celebrated the frankfurter’s 500th birthday back in 1987, holding strong to the belief they created the popular sausage. But Vienna (pronounced Wien in German) residents tell a different story. They claim the “wienerwurst,” another name for the same sausage, was born in their city and offer up their name as heritage. Regardless of where it originated, histori-ans generally agree that immigrants were the first to introduce Americans to the creation in the 1860s. Germans sold their sausages, accompanied with milk rolls and sauer-kraut, from pushcarts in New York City. It didn’t take long for the sausages, commonly referred to then as “red hots,” to catch on. The hot dog’s rise to fame as one of America’s favorite foods is closely linked to its connection with the national pastime. Legend has it that Chris Von Der Ahe, a German immigrant and owner of the St. Louis Brown Stockings, brought hot dogs and baseball together for the first time around 1893. Baseball fans devoured the German creation as fast as they could get their hands on them. Inexpensive and easy to hold during the game, hot dogs became the perfect match for the sport and have since become the quintessential fare at baseball games across the nation. Today, the top 10 hot dog- consuming cities in America are all home to a Major League Baseball team. “Hot dogs and baseball have been a tra-dition throughout history,” says Courtney Wright, assistant general manager of the Wilmington Sharks collegiate summer base-ball team. “These two have been together for a while. I mean they sing songs about them and where do you think the term ‘ballpark franks’ came from? Before the game and in between innings everyone heads for a hot dog. It’s just tradition.” Hot dogs reign supreme at Buck Hardee Field at Legion Stadium, where they serve Sharkies — half-pound hot dogs with classic ketchup and mustard toppings. “We try to keep it traditional for our fans and really celebrate the game,” Wright says. “Hot dogs are a big part of that. They’re definitely our most popular concession item. And we actually sell a lot more half-pound dogs than you would think. Some minor-league teams really go crazy with their toppings, but we’ve kept it the way it’s always been.” The Trolly Stop menu board.
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