Nate first announced his plan to start a hot dog cart operation in January, 2011 with a goal to be open for business in the spring. He ordered a custom cart with options that allow him to create the work of art that is the NateDog along with the occasional special dog.
I met Nate near the Saint Paul Farmers Market on a Saturday morning. He was offering a special “breakfast” hot dog called the Sunnyside Up Dog, which is a classic Natedog carmelized onions, homemade mustard and a fried egg on top. I figured, “when in Rome…” and ordered one. It was a really nice breakfast sandwich and makes me reconsider what meat can be served for breakfast. It was really nice that the egg was a organic and from free range chickens from Callister Farm, which has a booth at the Farmers Market.
NateDogs uses offers wieners and brats from Pastures a Plenty Farm that are made from pork that contains no growth hormones, nitrates or nitrites. You won’t find a higher quality hotdog in the Twin Cities. Nate has the brats cased in the same casing as the classic NateDog to appease many of his female customers who like the flavor of bratwurst but aren’t interested in that large of a sausage.
Another thing that makes NateDogs unique is the fact that he makes his own condiments. On the day we met, he was offering a mustard made from Surly Furious beer and it was really good. He makes his own sour kraut and caramelized onions. On occasion, there are special condiment offerings, like bacon jam or ketchup made from Minnesota wines. Be sure to follow @Nate_dogs on Twitter to be in the loop when he’s offering specials.
NateDogs offers the usual hotdog cart beverages — Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, bottled water, but you should skip those in favor of Spring Grove Sodas. Step back in time and pop the cap off of a real soda. It’s made by mixing flavor concentrates with pure cane sugar and water — no high fructose corn syrup here. Nate offers several different flavors to suit any taste.
Prices are very reasonable at NateDogs. A classic NateDog or the Brat Dog are both $3. Spring Grove Sodas (in glass bottles) go for $2.50. Ask about combo deals and you can save a little cash.
NateDogs is also one of the few carts that takes credit/debit cards in case you don’t happen to have any cash.