When Steve Katsadouros immigrated to the U.S. from Greece as a young child, he probably had no idea he would be a merchant of Americana. Steve and his wife Dora bought Hot Dog World in Hendersonville, NC from her father in 1987 and for over 30 years they have been dressing up dogs to each customer’s delight.
Steve Katsadouros, Hot Dog World owner and operator
When do we have a hot dog? Maybe it’s at the ballpark, maybe it’s at the stadium—somewhere that we just feel good. It’s Americana.
On the Fourth of July, Americans enjoy some 150 million hot dogs. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, Americans eat a staggering 7 billion hot dogs.
At Hot Dog World in Hendersonville, NC, employees serve up their fair share of the American classic, to people who come from all over the country for a made-to-order frank.
“We sell about 6,000-7,000 hot dogs a week,” says Steve Katsadouros, the owner and operator of Hot Dog World since 1986.
Katsadouros’s journey to becoming owner of Hot Dog World, and making it into what it is today, is about as American as the hot dog itself.
His family immigrated from Greece to the United States in 1972. He grew up in Charlotte, NC, and went on to attend UNC-Chapel Hill, graduating in 1982. Then Katsadouros met his wife Dora, and after that was when a business dream started to form and become a reality, all at once.
“Dora’s father had ran a hot dog stand in Albany, Georgia, and he was successful—he was very good at it. So he retired … But he got bored, and wanted to open up the hot dog stand again. And we started to work at the business,” says Katsadouros.
Today, while the majority of their customer base is local Hendersonville, people come in from a variety of locations, including upstate South Carolina and Florida.
“People just enjoy a hot dog, and having the ability to dress it up as they like it makes a difference; from nothing on it at all, to just loading it up,” says Katsadouros.
The house favorite is the slaw dog: a hot dog with mustard, chili, onion and slaw on top. But customers can order one however they like it—even if that means ordering peanut butter on top.
“Who are we to say it’s not good?” asks Katsadouros, referring to the peanut butter request—the most interesting way he’s seen someone dress up a hot dog. “We make it, but I must confess, I’ve never tried it.”
Items inspired by the owner’s Greek heritage are also on the menu, at the request of the customers.
“They’d say, ‘Oh, there’s not a place here that serves a Greek salad.’ Later, we got a request for a gyro sandwich; nobody served a gyro here.” Now those items are both listed on the menu. But hot dogs, the business’s namesake, remain a central part of the establishment.
The way Katsadouros sees it, hot dogs are pretty much synonymous with a good time.
“When do we have a hot dog? Maybe it’s at the ballpark, maybe it’s at the stadium—somewhere that we just feel good,” he says. “It’s Americana.”
Katsadouros and his employees, including partner Thanasi Tsakalos, who’s worked with him going on 20 years, work to create that good time feeling and a quality experience.
“In the 30 years that we’ve been in business, people have come to recognize us for outstanding service, quality food and something different,” says Katsadouros. “We hope 100 percent of the people leave happy and satisfied.”
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