by Kim Lane
Hot Dog Mike Juiliano stood proudly at his cart on Friday, May 11 as he prepared to make the World’s Most Expensive Hot Dog. There was a roll-away table in front of the cart, lined with a white table cloth, which was topped with five silver platters and a vase of roses. It was clear that a world record was about to be broken.
Juiliano said he had the idea about a month ago to sell an expensive hot dog to raise money for homeless support nonprofit The One, Inc., also known as “The Van.” He tweeted his idea about a month ago, and his followers instantly started bidding against each other on “theONEdog.” In an hour and a half, the price was up to $1,500. Juiliano said that he made it $1,501 because we are in Little Rock, and he is “clever like that.” Previously, Canada held the record for the most expensive hot dog, but he thought it was time to bring the title back to America, intending no offense to Canada.
Juiliano had to buy the supplies for the hot dogs. He knew some local bakeries used gold flakes in fancy wedding cakes, so he tried some and decided that would be a perfect topping for The World’s Most Expensive Hot Dog. The dog – made with a quarter-pound of premium beef – was also topped with lobster tail and saffron aioli.
Sharon Bennett Goodson, one of “The World’s Most Expensive Hot Dog” buyers, chose to buy the hot dog because the money went to a good cause. She said The Van helps people meet their real needs. “I’m a little nervous,” she said, “I’m not a big lobster fan.”
By noon, fans and media crews had crowded around Juiliano’s cart. Old bumper stickers such as “New Price,” and “How Much Is That Hot Dog In The Window,” made for a perfect backdrop as he readied the eagerly-awaited hot dogs.
Reaching into a Ziploc bag full of lobster meat, Juiliano said, “I’m not going to be stingy.” He then invited the cameras to the table with him and said “Ladies and gentlemen, a very expensive hot dog.” He presented the first hot dog to Goodson, noting that he would give her five complimentary napkins to go with her expensive charitable meal.
“It is very good,” Goodson said, “Is this gonna be a regular menu item?”
Bystanders questioned whether the condiment covering her face was mustard or gold. At the same time, Juiliano assured everyone that the gold was “American gold.”
Four other ONEdogs were bought by anonymous donors and given to passersby, Mike’s colleagues and the owner of The Van, Aaron Reddin.
“It was good,” Reddin said. “I was skeptical. I’m not gonna lie.” Reddin said he was going to start saving up his money for another, but noted that it would probably be about $2,000 next time.
After the hot dogs were delivered, Juiliano stood next to The Van and wrote the $6,000 check. “I thank Little Rock because you guys did it. I am just the hot dog guy and he is just the van guy,” he said, before going back to his cart and asking viewers if anyone was hungry for a hot dog.
The remaining hot dogs were sold for the usual $3-$5, as the remnants of the mustard-gold sat unused at the back of “Little Rock’s Coolest Hot Dog Cart.”