FRIDAY, MAY 6: The dog is back. Tucked away in a picture-perfect corner of Par-la-Ville Park, Sweetsmok’n Dogs, TexMx Dogs and Slaw Dogs are flying across the counter.
The Winky Dinky hot dog parlour may have only been closed for a few winter months but judging by the remarks of the customers queuing to get their lunchtime hot dogs, it’s been too long.
“We were wondering when you were opening up again” and “It’s great to have you back” were just some of the comments that could be heard during the Wednesday lunch rush.
The thriving business is run by husband and wife team Carlos and Andrea Lopes.
They have had the mobile cart, which they also use for special events and is stationed outside Butterfield and Vallis off Woodlands Road on a Saturday, for more than six years.
But the cart in Par-la-Ville Park is the latest addition to the hot dog operation.
It opened for the first time in May 2010 and did a roaring trade.
It closed down at the end of December for the winter and re-opened again on April 18 due to popular demand.
Mrs Lopes said: “We had not planned to open up until this past week but we got so many people asking us when we were opening again we thought we should.
“My husband runs the cart outside Butterfield and Vallis on a Saturday and people were beginning to ask when we were opening the park stall again.
“It’s great that people want us back. And the comments we have been getting have been excellent. We have been rushed off our feet most lunch hours and it seems like people are happy to see us back open again.”
The name Winky Dinky comes from the American movie called the Hollywood Shuffle.
Robert Townsend’s character works at the Winky Dinky Dog.
Mrs Lopes said: “It was kind of tongue in cheek when we first came up with the name.
“But now everyone seems to know it and the business has become synonymous with the Winky Dinky name.
“It has just stuck and a lot of people find it easy to remember.”
The Winky Dinky stand in Par-la-Ville Park is open between 11am and 3pm every weekday.
It offers a range of hot dogs from signature dogs like the Winky Dinky Dog, the Red Dog and the Veg’n Dog for the vegetarian of course.
But you can also build your own dog from scratch from a range of tasty toppings including home made chili, home made coleslaw and home made pineapple salsa.
Mrs. Lopes said: “We pride ourselves on the customer service and the freshness of our ingredients.
“All the salsas and toppings are freshly prepared each day.
“We do a beef and a turkey hot dog as well as a spicy sausage and a Portuguese Chourico hot dog which is proving very popular.
“Although the product itself is fairly simple the way it is prepared and the ingredients we use are really important to us.
“We have a good number of regular customers who keep coming back time and time again.
“And it never fails to amaze me the concoctions that people come up with to put on their hot dogs.
“Since we started Winky Dinky Dog it has been about service and getting to know our customers and we want to keep that going.”
Winky Dinky Dog offers its regular customers a frequent client card – and upon completion they can claim a free hot dog.
They also have big plans for the coming summer.
They will continue with their doggy bag promotion for schools and camps and plan to introduce a number of new items.
The husband and wife team also hope to bring back the hot dog eating competition that has been such a favourite in previous years.
She said: “We had 30 children from Once Upon a Time Nursery School in the other day and they had a great time sitting in the park eating their hot dogs.
“We also have high hopes that we will be able to hold the hot dog eating competition again this year.”
If you want to find out more about Winky Dinky Dog call 535-1648 or email email@example.com. Or you can just pop down to Par-la-Ville Park on a weekday and check them out for yourselves.