Concord is home to New Hampshire’s tastiest hot dogs: Puppy Love
Concord is home to New Hampshire’s tastiest hot dogs, according to a recent Reader’s Digest article. Every Granite Stater should be familiar with Puppy Love Hot Dogs and the red food truck located on Concord’s Main Street is a bucket list Summer stop. And, they move indoors for the colder months.
Gretchen Peters is the owner of this more than 40 year old family-run business with a simple and successful formula that remains untouched to this day. It all started in 1976 when Gretchen’s parents decided to open a hot dog cart in Plymouth, New Hampshire. “They did so well that they started the cart in 1978 in Concord”, she tells. The Capital City is now Puppy Love’s only location and they offer the same high quality product that made them popular in the early days.
It’s pretty straightforward: for $2.75 you get a perfectly steamed bun and hot dog, and as many toppings you like. Mustard, relish and onion is the most popular combination, but there are plenty of other choices and Gretchen won’t judge you if you ask for ketchup: “I don’t judge what you get on a hotdog, I just want my customers to be happy so you can get what you want.” Her personal favorite is the chili, cheese and onion.
But people don’t come to Puppy Love just for the delicious hot dogs. Being a family-owned business makes the hot dog stand more meaningful to everyone who visits and they have a lot or regulars, including generations of families that have been coming to the stand for years. They beat the food truck trend by decades.
Customer service is a very significant part of Puppy Love’s success, because the owner really tries to get to know each client and make the customer experience very personalized. If you are a regular, chances are Gretchen will already know your order before you say a word. And this is no easy task.
Although the number of hot dogs flying out of the Puppy Love truck each day is a well-kept family secret, Gretchen assures that “they are busier in the summer because the weather is nice and all the kids are out of school.” In fact, during our no more than 10 minute long conversation, about 7 or 8 hot dogs were sold. So you can do the math.
Despite the occasional very hot days, Gretchen loves having the cart outside during the summer and says that “the best part is getting to talk to people all day.” The little alleyway off Main Street where the truck is parked is rarely not busy and even people from out of town will get off the highway just to try Puppy Love Hot Dogs.
This family success story is a Concord classic and a great example of why you should choose to shop local. The hot dog cart is open Monday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., usually starting in early May and running until end of October, depending on the weather. During the winter months, Puppy Love Hot Dogs is open from their only physical store at 50 N. Main Street in Concord.