Dog Days of Summer: A Street Food Review

In honor of 4th of July festivities which are quickly approaching, we set out to get the scoop behind two of the people serving up an All American classic to the people of Cornelius, hot dog vendors Mary of Zima’s Steamin’ Dogs and Brandon of B’s Grill! Taking turns occupying Catawba Avenue, you can be sure to find a hot dog cart in the heart of Old Town Cornelius at any time of the week from Zima’s Steamin’ Dogs or B’s Grill.

Zima’s Steamin’ Dogs

Mary Zima setting up her cart outside the Cornelius Police Station!

First up, we have Zima’s Steamin’ Dogs, the ultimate American lunch spot in OTC. Located right outside the Cornelius Police Station every Tuesday-Friday from 11am to 3 pm, Mary Zima serves dogs any way you like, with her signature being the “Carolina-Style” dog piled high with chili, cheese, onions, and mustard. She also offers bratwurst options, and even chips and soda to complete the meal!

The woman behind the cart, Mary Zima, has been steaming hot dogs for almost two years now, after she took the risk and quit her job as a dental assistant to start the cart. She can be found almost every weekday lunch outside the Cornelius Police Department, but also caters to events and parties. She even gets some help during lunch and dinner rush from her ten-year-old grandson who loves to help out with the cash register!

Dogs so good that the line wraps around the block!

However, this hot dog cart is not her first street food gig, as she used to sell pizzas from a cart back in Connecticut in order to help fund KidSafe Connecticut, an organization that provides shelter and food for children and mothers from struggling families. Through this service opportunity, she found her passion for building community through food!

B’s Grill

“Don’t be a meanie, eat a weenie!” – Brandon, B’s Grill

Once the sun sets on our beautiful OTC, you can be sure to grab a dog from B’s Grill, parked right outside our very own OTPH every Friday night.

Brandon started his hot dog cart when he moved to the Lake Norman Area in search of a place to plant roots for his family.  When asked what the future of B’s Grill looks like, Brandon shared that he hopes to expand the brand to a line of multiple food trucks serving up delicious eats including everything from a simple hot dog to a gourmet meal!

I’m more of a kraut and ketchup kind of gal… what’s your topping of choice?

He showcases his culinary education and restaurant experience through the time and effort that he puts into every ingredient on his cart. Everything from the homemade chili to the pickled onions is carefully crafted by Brandon himself! B’s Grill offers all the toppings you can imagine, but Brandon said that his signature dog is definitely “Chicago Style.”  This order gets you a mouthful of all beef hot dog, sport pepper, onions, pickle spear, mustard, and mayo. You can find out where Brandon’s cart is by checking his Facebook Page, and make sure you grab a bite here at the Urban Art Slam coming up in OTC in July!

B’s signature “Chicago Style” Dog

Between Zima’s and B’s, there are plenty of opportunities to get your hot dog fix during this summer season! Stop by to grab a bite, have some good conversation, and experience the street food scene of OTC!

Photo Credits: Zima’s Steamin’ Dogs and B’s Grill Facebook Pages

I am a Cornelius local and student at UNC Chapel Hill pursuing a degree in Business. In my time at home in OTC, I love to explore the local flair of OTC art and music, enjoy some sun on LKN, and walk my pug, Holly, along the greenway.