Sunday, February 27, 2011

Big Al's Dog Wagon - Trussville

I have heard about this place every since we started the hot dog tour; but never made it until this past Friday. I never knew it had a name until I visited "the guy who sells hot dogs outside Lowe's in Trussville". Big Al's has many loyal customers and seems to do a booming business, at least when we have the mild days we had last week. I didn't get there until after 2:00; but business was brisk and I had to wait in line.

While I waited I took in the menu to see they serve beef hot dogs, quarter pound super dogs, polish sausages, nachos, chips and drinks, with many options for toppings. I noticed the sign was missing a few letters and numbers creating some interesting options. I didn't ask for a 7 cent drink, chili hese nachos or "war" for a dollar. Instead I chose to order just one dog, a quarter pound super dog with mustard, relish and chili.

My picture below shows the concoction I received. This was one hot dog that was difficult to portray in a photograph. The huge dog was lost under all the toppings which overflowed. I was offered a fork, which I obviously needed. I then sat down with other customers to eat. Where do you sit when eating at a hot dog cart? Big Al's has been at Lowe's so many years that he has a large space complete with two large picnic tables to one side of the exit door. Many of the continuous stream of customers stop and eat right there. When I arrived a group of men were having a very good time together at one table. I sat at the other table but was soon in conversation with my table mates.

How was the food? Very Good. The regular hot dogs are larger than the ones served at many places. With the big choice of toppings customers can get the dog of their choice. I would even go so far as to say it's worth a trip just for the hot dogs. You don't need to have any other reason to go to Lowe's or Trussville.

I noticed as I was finishing up that there was a short break in the steady stream of customers; so I took advantage of the chance to talk with the chef. While Chris Sellers cleaned and straightened up his "kitchen" I found out that he works with Alan Nichols who has been selling dogs there for many years. Alan was off running errands so I didn't get to meet him, but enjoyed learning a little more about the hot dog cart business from Chris. With years of experience they have stories to tell.

I am always impressed with how well these vendors do in keeping things clean and sanitary. Big Al's was no exception. The Health Department is a mixed blessing here. They seem to have the ability to be arbitrary and nonsensical at times but do maintain a culture of cleanliness that customers notice and appreciate.

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