One of Rochester’s greatest treasures is its hot dogs. They come in many forms such as white hots, red hots, garbage plates, and many dog breeds at Dog Town, and are considered a cornerstone of Rochester cuisine. As a budding college journalist, I went on vacation in search of food and adventure. I travelled down south and was met with many different styles of hot dogs, such as alligator sausages, and decided to treat myself to one oft-overlooked dog.
I sat down with Florence Pan, the owner of a prominent dog restaurant. Pan is a simple southern chef who prides herself on her cooking, specifically her hot dogs. She is a true expert at handling meat, ever since she first picked it up at a young age.
When did you first notice your growing passion for wieners?
My momma taught me how to treat a sausage right. She always taught me that the key to a tasty wiener is firmly molding it in your hand, keeping it rigid before cutting off the tip of the wrapper. I always enjoyed squeezing out new wieners with my ma, so it was a simple step to want to make a living out of it. I began cooking professionally when I partnered with a local convenience store selling my wieners in the back. I didn’t make a lot of money at first but got enough tips to stay in business. All sorts of people would come for a wiener in the rear, they loved it. It was so successful I moved on to expand my business and am now the proud owner of the restaurant you sit in today, Flo P. Wieners, a full store front with both sit-down service in the front, and takeout in the rear.
What made your wiener so different from everyone else’s?
The secret is my original recipe’s secret sauce, a creamy yet salty blend of flavors that will make your mouth water. Another big difference is in the preparation; most people tend to grill their dogs, but I prefer to bake them. It tends to keep them softer and juicier. On top of that, my expanded wiener restaurant includes all-new menu options that titillate the senses.
What new options are on your menu?
From the micro wiener to the blackened foot-long wiener, I have them in all shapes and sizes. If it’s too dry, we got plenty of ketchup and mustard to moisten up my wieners. I have a whole selection of condiments you can slip on my wieners, from rib sauce to red hot, we’ve got everything your wiener could want. I even have a dessert wiener topped with fudge and nuts. No matter what your preference, a Flo P. wiener will rub you the right way.
Why are wieners so special to you?
It brings me tears of joy when people bite my wieners. I just can’t wait for them to shove ‘em down their throat, ‘cause I know they’re gonna want to swallow every last bit of my wiener. At Flo P. Wieners everything is handmade to a T. Every wiener is heated to perfection; I never take them out prematurely. It gets busy though with the constant influx of patrons. There’s always a bun in the oven here, because it’s so important to me that I get every part of the job right so your experience doesn’t end in disappointment. What’s a wiener if it isn’t right smack in the middle of a good ol’ set of buns?
Where do you see yourself going in the future?
I want to expand the business, there’re a lotta untouched wiener markets out there, and I believe that everyone should get a taste of my wieners.
Mitchell is a member of the class of 2014/Take 5.