Mmmm… hot dog stand pitches tent in Nevada City |

Mmmm… hot dog stand pitches tent in Nevada City

Dos Banditos has expanded its operations by pitching a tent at the top of Broad Street in downtown Nevada City.

But before the latest reincarnation of the hot dog stand opened on July 8, the restaurant spent nine months winning the approval of the Nevada City Planning Department and the Nevada County Environmental Health Department for this unique business.

“I believe we’re the only outdoor food vendor on a permanent location in the county,” Eric Keller, general manager for Dos Banditos, said Tuesday. “This business is like the street fairs you see in downtown Sacramento or along Highway 1 in Mexico.”

Nevada City Planner Cindy Siegfried said the corner spot of the New York Hotel parking lot has been home to many hot dog stands over the years, including the Top Dog and Teeny Weenies. As a result, a “grandfather clause” allowed Dos Banditos owner Eric Engstrom to open his stand, which offers tacos, burritos and hot dogs costing from $2 to $6.

Dos Banditos Taqueria must continue to sell hot dogs to do business at that location.

Other outdoor food vendors only can sell their products at special events like Summer Nights or the Independence Day parade in Nevada City.

“We don’t have any standards to allow such uses,” Siegfried said of permanent outdoor food vendors.

So while history allowed the food stand to return to a familiar location, new regulations made the journey a little longer than in past years when all that was needed to sell food on the streets was a cart.

The restaurant worked closely with Environmental Health to make sure its food and business met safety standards, Keller said.

As a result, the food is prepared at Dos Banditos each day and kept in coolers until an order is taken at the stand. All food that is not eaten at the stand is thrown away, he said.

“It’s as close as you’ll get to quality fast food in Nevada City,” Keller said.

The stand is open from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. On Tuesday, one of the new regulars was ordering a chicken taco.

“I’ve been here a lot,” said Marilyn Stahl, a marriage and family therapist with an office in the New York Hotel. “It’s easy, it’s good and it’s inexpensive. It’s a little bit of everything.”

The Nevada City Planning Department wanted the history of the area reflected at the food stand and required that it look like a miner’s tent. In addition, it requested the tent be put on a frame so it can be moved for cleaning and other reasons. The food carts are on wheels for the same reasons.

The next step for the business is to get permission to post a sign, which is expected to be considered Aug. 7 by the Nevada City Planning Commission.

To contact Staff Writer Pat Butler, e-mail or call 477-4239.

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