Yes, the dog days of summer are upon us – what better way to beat the summer heat than to drink an ice-cold, draft root beer and devour a delicious hot dog from B-Dogs Hot Dog Cart at the Flint Farmers’ Market? The hot dog cart is owned by Tim Bishop, who is also Mayor of Davison. Previously, Bishop owned a used sporting goods store in Downtown Davison. A few years back, he decided he wanted to add something to the storefront to draw in customers and also attract visitors who came to town for various festivals and events. “So, I got a hot dog cart,” he says with a grin.
Bishop was very surprised at how popular it became. In fact, business with the hot dog cart was so good, he had to choose between his sporting goods business and the hot dogs. “I chose the cart!” he laughs, “and I really enjoy doing it. I’m a people person.”
After giving up the store, Bishop moved his cart to the Flint Farmers’ Market where it has been popular ever since. And the success of the business starts with one very simple thing that is a must for anyone who lives in this area: Koegel’s hot dogs. He cooks the dogs using the Koegel-preferred method – boiled and steamed. “That method retains the most flavor,” Bishop shares. “It plumps them up and gives them the biggest ‘snap’ when you bite into it. That’s what people want.”
B-Dogs offers ten specialty hot dogs, including: BLT Dog (bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise), Coney Crunch (Flint-style Coney topping, melted cheese, crushed Fritos® chips, jalapenos), Mac Daddy (mac ‘n’ cheese, bacon, onions), Deep South (coleslaw, mustard, onions), Dirty South (Flint-style Coney topping, coleslaw, mustard, onions), Backyard BBQ (bacon, onions, BBQ sauce, pickle slice), Stadium Dog (ketchup, mustard, onions, relish), Flint’s Original Coney (Flint-style Coney topping, mustard, onions) and Big Pig (Flint-style Coney topping, bacon, mustard, onions).
On a typical Saturday at Flint Farmers’ Market,
B-Dogs will sell 400-500 hot dogs.
There is also a “Secret Menu” dog, which is Bishop’s personal favorite: The Big Poppa – topped with cream cheese, bacon and diced jalapenos. “Yep, that’s my favorite,” he says. But the customer fave is the Mac Daddy. “Who can resist mac ‘n’ cheese?” Bishop asks with a smile. And, there are many customers who prefer a dog simply topped with ketchup. “Some people just grab one right off the grill and eat it!” he exclaims. The B-Dogs cart also offers side dishes including mac ‘n’ cheese, chips, draft root beer, and more to come when he expands his space at the Farmers’ Market. He will also offer more specialty dogs, Polish dogs, bratwurst and more.
The concepts for the specialty recipes were the result of brainstorming and conversations with friends, Bishop explains. The idea for the Deep South dog came from a friend who commented, “Down south, we put coleslaw on our hot dogs.” Coney Crunch was an idea that came about when he was serving a hot dog topped with melted cheese and jalapenos. “You should put Fritos on that,” a friend suggested. “Another friend asked me how many hot dogs he would have to buy in order to name one,” he shares. Bishop told him to come up with the topping combination and that if he bought 25, he could name it. “Put bacon on a Coney and call it the Big Pig,” his friend said. “Then, he bought 25 Big Pig dogs for his employees,” Bishop remembers.
The popular entrepreneur also has another cart that he uses to serve hot dogs at various events and job sites. “It’s always ready to go,” Bishop says. He has taken it to many summer picnics and events all around the county, to open houses, wedding after-parties and more. “If you want hot dogs, I’ll be there!”
On a typical Saturday at Flint Farmers’ Market, B-Dogs will sell 400-500 hot dogs. And Bishop loves the atmosphere at the Market. “People are happy when they come to the Flint Farmers’ Market – it’s a gem in Downtown Flint,” he says. “There’s always a good vibe going and it’s diverse. My regular customers are so nice and they like what I’m doing. It’s a joy to go to work!”
Photogarphy by Jennifer Hodney