Adding fun and flavor all its own to Chesterton

Written by Nicholas Serrano. Posted in Dining & Entertainment

Published on September 21, 2011 with No Comments

Every weekday during lunchtime, people who find themselves in downtown Chesterton may notice an intoxicating and inviting aroma of hot dogs and polish sausage wafting through the air. Follow the scent far enough and the sound of music will soon fill your ears along with the sight of an energetic lady dancing in a hot dog hat while preparing food. It’s not a barbecue or a party, it’s Hot Diggity Dawg!

Owned and operated by Kim Krass and Mike Morganelli, Hot Diggity Dog is Chesterton’s only portable food cart establishment.

In order to get permission to serve the delicious dogs, Krass and Morganelli had to meet with the Town Council for an approval vote.

She already had pictures prepared beforehand of the cart along with a preliminary menu, so when they gave her permission, she then met with the town lawyer who wrote up a contract.

Next, Krass sat down with town manager C. Bernard “Bernie” Doyle and chose the parking lot of the Chesterton Chamber of Commerce as the location where she’d set up shop. She also needed her Servsafe Certification, which is required to serve food by the National Restaurant Association. Following the purchase of the food cart and supplies, on Aug. 25 Hot Diggity Dawg officially opened for business.

Prior to opening Hot Diggity Dawg, Krass worked in the health field at a hospice center for 20 years in Dalton, IL. The toll of the job was beginning to wear on her and eventually she started to get burned out.

Two years ago, Krass, Morganelli and her family moved to Chesterton where she took a job as a manager at McDonald’s for about a year and a half. One evening Krass and her family found themselves watching the Food Network’s show “The Great Food Truck Race” and were inspired to operate a food truck. It turned out to be too much of an initial investment, so they decided to operate a hot dog stand instead, said Krass.

One eye-catching part of Hot Diggity Dawg is Krass’s hot dog hat, prominent upon her head, usually bouncing along with the music playing from her radio. Between her friendly persona, the music and the hat, it’s easy to see, even before biting into a dog that Krass loves her job, cares for people and is genuinely interested in her customer’s satisfaction and happiness.

“I make a lot of people smile. People always drive by and yell something funny about my hat. Even if they didn’t stop, I know I made someone happy and that makes me happy. I get to have fun and make people happy, plus I have great food,” said Krass. “I love music and I believe it creates a new and fun atmosphere. If people are having fun than I’m having fun,” said Krass.

Aside from the atmosphere created by Krass at Hot Diggity Dawg, there are other tangible aspects of this hot dog stand which make it stand out among others in the area. The sheer massiveness of the hot dogs served here is a genuine welcome surprise, as the only hot dogs sold at HotDiggity Dawg are Nathan’s quarter-pounders and the five-to-a-pound polish sausages.

All the toppings and ingredients used are sliced, diced and prepared fresh every day. It makes, a difference, said Krass. She even has her own homemade spice, “Afterburn Seasoning,” used to turn up the heat.

“People always smile when they see the food and usually remark at how huge my hot dogs are,” said Krass.

Complementing the customer service and quality ingredients, Hot Diggity Dawg’s menu makes choosing a hot dog pleasantly difficult. With classics such as the Chicago and Coney Island Dog alongside signature dogs such as the Fire House Dog and the Reuben Dog, Hot Diggity Dawg’s menu can create a tasty challenge for customers looking for lunch. Soft drinks, water, chips, cookies and candy are also available.

“This place has wonderful service and the food is consistently made and always delicious,” said Stephanie Kuziela of Chesterton. I always laugh when I drive down the road and see that lady dancing in the hot dog hat and I’m thinking, ‘What is she doing?’ ”

Hot Diggity Dawg is located at 220 Broadway Ave. in Chesterton in the parking lot of the Chamber of Commerce. It’s open weekdays, 11 a.m.- 3 p.m, weather permitting. For more information call 219-921-9272.


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