As a 5- year old, sitting in her favorite restaurant in northeast Ohio, Jackie Didur told her father that one day she would own her very own hot dog shop. Years later, Didur and business partner Jimmie DeVicchio are preparing to celebrate the one-year anniversary of their business, All American Hot Dog Shop, located on Shady Brook Street in Columbia.
“I have had this dream since I was a little girl” Didur said. “Life went on and I had a different career, but the dream never went away. It was always in the back of my mind and I decided one day that this dream was not going to be something that just slipped by. I was moving to Tennessee to be closer to my son and decided that this was the perfect time to make my lifelong dream into a reality.”
All American Hot Dog Shop came to be after Didur found herself in Columbia and felt that it was the perfect place for her dream to be realized.
“I kind of ended up here by mistake” Didur said. “I was visiting my son in Spring Hill and took a wrong turn and next thing I knew I was in this awesome area with the small-town feel that I just loved.”
All American Hot Dog Shop has classic menu paired with an environment that hearkens back to the diner days of old.
“When I think back to that little hot dog shop I grew up in, I remember not just the food but the experience of being there” Didur said.
“There was a hometown feeling to it. A come as you are coziness to it. That meant something to me even as a child and for them to now have been in business for over 100 years, they are doing something right.”
When you walk in the door at All American Hot Dog Shop, you are greeted by the smiling faces of Didur and DeVicchio. Their menu, while simple in terms of the number of options, offers a wide range of textures, temperatures and most importantly, flavors. Hot dog toppings ranging from classic chili and onions to more niche like coleslaw or hot sauce create too many combinations to mention. They also offer burgers, fries, shakes and even their Columbia Combo, a whopping order of tater-tots piled high with chili, sliced hot dogs and a melty cheese sauce.
In addition to the smiles, a strong sense of patriotism is also on display. The walls are adorned with pro military artwork and All American Hot Dog Shop offers a 10% discount to all military, police, fire fighters and EMS workers that come in in uniform.
“One big part of having this shop is being able to proudly display pieces of my heart” Didur said. “The music we play and the art on the walls it’s a way to show what matters to us. We have a voice and we can share that with everyone that comes in. I kind of thought we may see some type of backlash, like someone asking us to change our music or something like that, but in the 10 months we’ve been open, we have had nothing but positive responses. When coming to the neighborhood, the goal was to create a respectful and family friendly place that anyone could come to.”
Now ten months into operation, All American Hot Dog Shop is making their mark on the community, but the community is also making their mark on the shop. Recent additions to the menu such as their fried pickles and their delicious fried bologna sandwich are direct results of giving the people what they want.
“One of our regulars came in asked for fried pickles so we made that happen” Didur said. “The fried bologna happened kind of the same way. We didn’t want to do the typical one slice of thick cut bologna. To me, that always seemed to end with an inconsistent flavor to the meat, so we do ours a little different.”
The different way described was to go with multiple thin slices of bologna deep fried and piled high. The depth of flavor this gives the sandwich is something that must be experienced and combining it with their lightly breaded and golden fried pickle chips makes quite the meal.
Year two of operation for All American Hot dog Shop will see them expand their offerings as the business recently added catering. But even with the growth and their new menu items, focus remains on creating that classic hot dog shop atmosphere.
“I’m excited for the what’s ahead” Didur said. “With us adding catering, it will really take our shop to new places, but I hope no matter what happens we remain just a great little community place. I hope that people continue to love our food and our portions. I’m living out my childhood dream and I hope to continue sharing this dream with our community for a long time.”
So, if you are looking for a great dog and some even better service, head on down to All American Hot Dog Shop 9:00-4:00 Tuesday through Saturday. You will be glad you did!