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Mudville: May 18, 2021 10:48 am PDT
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Uncle Franky’s

“I live the life of the last renaissance man.” – Hermann Goring

 

If I start one more column bragging about the amazing people I get to meet, one might accuse me of seeing the world through rose colored lenses. You wouldn’t be the first; I’ve heard that my entire like and frankly my dear…. I don’t give a damn.

People come in all shapes and sizes, similar to the hot dogs we’ve chased while crossing the country, and they have great stories. Stories I could listen to all day as I stuff my face with meat sticks while sitting across the table from someone who has put their life into the business.

Hot dogs are the great uniter!

It’s hard to find a person who doesn’t love hot dogs, and even harder to find two people who agree on the perfect combination of toppings. Enter “Larry Legend.”

Larry Bird sells hot dogs in Minnesota?

No. This isn’t Celtics great and Hall of Fame Basketball star, Larry Bird. This is Larry Domek and he’s just as interesting after spending a cold Minnesota morning with him. Larry is a Renaissance Man by every definition of the title. Hot dog enthusiast, sports lover (especially hockey and baseball), scuba diver, father, husband and Silversmith. He does it all and he’s just as passionate about each of these titles as he is about what makes the perfect Chicago Dog.

But now I’m curious.

Great news! Just click play and all of your curiosities will be answered. In the meantime, let me tell you a little bit about Uncle Franky’s. It’s small and as is the norm these days, inside seating is impossible. As I walk up to the door, I enter a very cozy, tight space with Scooby Doo’s on every shelf, wall and table. Larry is a few minutes behind, so I have time to be nosey. Nick and another young lady are working on opening up and I feel like I should probably grab an apron and help.

Uncle Franky's storefront

I set up my equipment and I start testing the mic as orders start to come in. You can’t help but feel like you’re in the kitchen as the buzz of the printer, phone rings and hungry customers create a symphony perfect for a quality hot dog eating experience. Larry walks in and he’s the ultimate host. “Minnesota nice” in every sense of the word. A Chicago guy who’s living his dreams out in the frozen tundra of the Midwest.

Did you know how Scooby Doo got his name?

Nope.

Frank Sinatra’s “Strangers in the Night.”

Really?

Yup.

Fun fact; but let us stay the course. There was no way to capture the true story of Uncle Franky’s without really capturing the true spirt of Larry. Kind, proud and passionate in life, Larry talks about Covid, the riots in Minneapolis, the Cubs, hot dogs (of course) and how much the neighborhood has changed. His eyes light up as he describes life as a child in Chicago watching his heroes from the $2 bleacher seats in Wrigley Field.

He always smiling and even though he’s wearing a mask, it’s obvious how excited he is to relive these memories. He hates ketchup on hot dogs, takes pride in building the perfect Chicago Dog (with his own secret seasoning) and has an unreal ability to tell a story older than me with pristine detail.

He’s still looking for the Scooby Doo boxers someone stole off the wall and anxious for the first couple of Twins to walk through the door. (Maybe we can help with that) I think I’ve already said too much and it’s time for me to catch another flight. Where we pop up next is always a surprise, but in the meantime….

The Chicago Dog at Uncle Franky's

The Chicago Dog at uncle Franky's

Uncle Franky’s: 728 Broadway Street Northeast Minneapolis, MN 55413

Rating: Oscar Wiener (The Best, award winning) We are in the business of boosting small business, local icons and long-standing neighborhood staples during the pandemic. Supporting the little guy and not trying to “over nerd” our dogs!

Major League Teams: The Minnesota Twins (Target Field)

Minor League Teams: Minneapolis Loons, Metro Millers and St. Paul Saints

Other Baseball: Minnesota Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame

Shout Out: Scooby Doo, who has managed to take over Uncle Franky’s with wall to wall decorations and little explanation of how he became a part of this historic hot dog hut!

Scooby Doo's on the walls

Shaggy would love this place.

How we rate our meat sticks

  1. Oscar Wiener (The Best, award winning)
  2. Best Supporting Meat (The Joe Pesci of hot dogs- never a star, but you need him)
  3. Nominated Dog (Hey- just getting your name called is a big deal)
  4. Honorable Mention (Average, Edible- No shame in the game- or bun)
  5. Drunk David Hasselhoff (You may be on the floor and incoherent after this one)

Father, husband, runner, and food guy. Baseball traveler, stadium food connoisseur, and podcast fill-in. Just here for the hot dogs.

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