Odessa man dishes up franks with a Texas twist - Valley Morning Star : Latest News

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Odessa man dishes up franks with a Texas twist

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Posted: Wednesday, March 18, 2009 12:00 am

ODESSA - Bert Martin, hoping to get a loan, sat down and handed over his business plan to the banker.

The banker read the sheet of paper and took issue with only one part, at the very top. It was Martin's goal: To make the best hot dog possible.

``He reads that and goes, 'Aww, a hot dog is just a hot dog,' `` Martin recalled. ``I said, 'Oh, no, there's good hot dogs and there's bad hot dogs - I don't plan on selling bad ones.'''

Martin got the loan and in March 2007 opened Texas Style Hot Dogs, a stand he sets up either in the Family Dollar parking lot on Andrews Highway or in the Bicycles Etc. parking lot on West 10th Street.

Under the yellow canopy - mustard yellow, Martin insists - he serves them up. In demand is the specialty: the Texas-style hot dog. It's a quarter-pound beef frank with chili, cheese, jalapeno mustard and his homemade relish, which has jalapeno and habanero chili ingredients.

``It's a hot dog with a bite to it,'' Martin said. ``It's a hot dog with true Texas style.''

With his red-and-white collared shirt and hat, both with the company's name and a graphic of a hot dog holding a jalapeno, this all looks exactly like Martin's style.

But that wasn't always the case.

For about 15 years, he was an office manager at a law firm in Dallas. It was getting old.

``I was baby-sitting over 100 attorneys, and I just got burnt out on it,'' Martin said.

And for many Fourth of July weekends, he and his friends would go south to Granbury, where they ate hot dogs and watched hot dog eating contests.

In 2005, he joked to his friends he was going to quit the firm and start a hot dog business.

``About a month later,'' Martin said, ``I was thinking about it and checking it out on the Web and said, 'Well, I think I will. I think I will quit the law firm and start selling hot dogs.'''

He did and spent the following year researching and buying equipment. An Odessa High graduate, he moved back to Odessa in early 2007 knowing that people here like hot dogs differently than they do in, say, New York.

Jerry Simms, of Odessa, recently tried a hot dog at Martin's stand for the first time. He got it loaded with chili, cheese, onions and sauerkraut and gave it the dirty napkin wave of approval.

``It's the beef,'' Simms said, explaining why he liked it.

Simms lucked out by getting there in front of Family Dollar a little before 1:30 p.m. and getting the last hot dog. Martin sets up at 10 a.m., has the hot dogs ready at 11 a.m. and is typically sold out at around 1:30 p.m.

It is a short day, Martin makes his own hours, and he is his own boss.

It is much different than the law firm, and though no one has claimed that it is the best hot dog in the world, he says people come from Kermit and Andrews and Midland to grab a hot dog for lunch.

And Texas Style Dogs has a MySpace page listing where it will set up shop.

Not bad for a guy who says that hot dogs are not necessarily his favorite food.

But that's not the important thing, he said.

What is important?

``I know a good hot dog from a bad hot dog.''

 

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© 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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