On the southeast corner of Meridian Street, in front of the IPL building, stands Erwin Golden Jr. and his hot dog cart. As the suffix suggests, Erwin Golden Jr. is the younger half of a father/son duo, a duo that is Hummer Dog—named for the black Hummer H3 that originally towed the hot dog cart to Monument Circle.
The 6 1/2-foot hurricane umbrella attached to his cart is placed to provide cover for customers, leaving the sun to beat down on the dapper dog-dealer all daylong. Yet, no matter how bad the heat or humidity gets, one simple thought repeats through the junior Golden’s mind: “I’m blessed.”
“I’m blessed to work with my father, I’m blessed with this cart, and I’m blessed with our location here on the Circle,” says Golden Jr. “Basically, I’m just blessed I get to do what I do everyday.”
Another “blessing” bestowed upon this vendor is a keen sense of style. From fur coats in the cold March mornings of early spring, to outfits in every color of the spectrum durning the dog days of summer, the younger Erwin is dressed to impress. “I’ve been this way since I was a young boy,” he says. “My father instilled this in me at a young age. Everywhere I go I make sure I’m presentable and camera ready.”
However, looking good will only get you so far, and Golden Jr. understands this better than most. “Anyone can cook a hot dog, that’s something everyone does,” he says. When asked why Hummer Dog is such a popular midday destination, he pauses for a few seconds, and through a sly smile states, “There is just something magical about this cart.” While it may not be magic, there is something to his thought that the cart is the key.
Hummer Dog is more than a bun, a frank, and a cornucopia of condiments. Hummer Dog is the kind of street corner institution that makes a busy metropolis run.
Whether it’s an on-the-go bite between meetings, a quick fuel stop for out-of-towners, or the perfect excuse for an outdoor lunch in the heart of the city, it doesn’t get more American than a hot dog piled high with your favorite fixens. However, serving up meals-to-go is not the end game for Goldens.
“We don’t want to come out here and just serve hot dogs, this is a family business that we take pride in. We want people to remember our service and we want to become a place where folks want to stop and have a conversation,” says Golden Jr. “We want to be part of the downtown Indy experience.”
To help further their role as part of the downtown experience, Hummer Dog is close to rolling out their second cart here in the Circle City. “We’re just waiting to get final word from the health department before we can hit the streets,” says Golden Jr. “But ultimately, we’d like to open up a storefront someday. We want Hummer Dog to be a year-round business.”
As for now, the original can be found every weekday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
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