Michigan hot dog: Did it really come from the Michigan area?

The Michigan hot dog, a popular hot dog dish in Michigan, can be traced back to the early 20th century. The narrative begins with the establishment of the first recognized Plattsburgh hot dog stand, known as Garth Otis’ Michigan Hot Dog and Sandwich Shop, which commenced operations in 1927. This eatery played a crucial role in the development and popularization of the Michigan hot dog.

Eula and Garth Otis, who originated from Michigan, established the inaugural Michigan stand in Plattsburgh, New York, in 1927. An advertisement for Otis’s Michigan hot dog was featured in a newspaper that year, as mentioned by Gordie Little, a columnist for the Press-Republican. Little reveres the Michigan hot dog as a significant cultural institution.

In 1935, another notable establishment named Nitzi’s, which is now known as McSweeney’s Red Hots, emerged on the scene. The owner, Jack Rabin, had a fortuitous encounter with Eula Otis, the wife of Garth Otis. It was during this meeting that Eula shared the coveted secret sauce recipe with Jack, who eagerly adopted it for his own business.

The legacy of the Michigan hot dog continued to evolve when Clare & Carl’s, a restaurant, opened its doors in 1942. Interestingly, Eula Otis, a pivotal figure in the Michigan hot dog’s history, also worked at this establishment. She graciously passed on her secret recipe, which Clare & Carl’s purportedly employ to this very day, ensuring the continuation of the original flavors and essence of the Michigan hot dog.

The birth of the Michigan hot dog can be attributed to a series of interconnected events and the culinary expertise of individuals such as Garth and Eula Otis, as well as Jack Rabin. Through their contributions, the Michigan hot dog has become an enduring culinary tradition, cherished by locals and visitors alike, and its unique secret sauce remains a vital ingredient in its timeless recipe.

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