Hot Dog stand opens in Ridgway

Brian Stockman
Staff Writer

The taxi horns are missing as is the rolling thunder of the subway beneath the sidewalk, but with the smell of hot dogs, sauerkraut and maybe a touch of brown mustard scenting the air you can almost think you are in New York City. The Dogs Gone Crazy cart made it's appearance for the first time last week in the St. Leo's parking lot, and will bring the taste of genuine New York City Hot Dogs to Ridgway weekdays during lunch and late afternoon hours. 
Compared to the hustle and bustle of New York City life, Paul Akat said life in Pennsylvania is more tranquil and much easier. He likes his job here more, too. For 20 years, Akat worked at New York’s main jail, Riker’s Island, as a corrections officer. But for the past few, he’s been putting hot dogs in the hands of hungry customers at his street-side business.
Akat traded the concrete jungle for the Keystone countryside after he retired from law enforcement, already familiar with the region from visiting family. He didn’t plan on working again, he said, and he had no interest in the food business. His mind changed when he learned that the owner of a hot dog cart outside of the Clearfield County Courthouse was looking to sell his business. Akat would soon buy Dog Gone Crazy, taking over as owner and operator and re-imagining its menu. After a few years in Clearfield, he moved his business to St. Marys.
So far, it seems like St. Marys has been good to him. He said his location near city hall is “excellent,” and he’s even been able to expand. Akat ditched the cart for a small trailer he purchased from a food vendor in Harrisburg. He said it should shield him from the elements and allow him to keep his business running in the winter months. He attributes his new digs to the customers who he said asked him to open year-round. Getting to chat with them, he said, is what he likes best about the business.
He thanked the city of St. Marys and its residents for their support and for “wrapping their arms around” his business. Akat was asked to try out a Ridgway location with his original hot dog cart by the Chamber of Commerce.
"The next few weeks will be a trial period", Akat said.

The full article can be found in the print publication or E-Edition of the Ridgway Record on Monday, Sept. 24, 2018.