Dog on the Move

Rochester’s final three downtown sizzling canine distributors make a stand | Restaurant Information

Meals vans have been absorbing the love in Rochester ever because the metropolis launched a program for cellular eating places in 2013.

Barely a month goes by every summer season with out one native information outlet or one other doing a narrative on the “Meals Truck Rodeo,” which sounds thrilling however is admittedly only a visitors jam of kitchens on wheels in a car parking zone.

Misplaced in all the eye paid to meals vans are Rochester’s authentic road meat supply — the standard sizzling canine vendor. The few that stay promote greater than sizzling canines, however who doesn’t consider sizzling canines after they see that purple and yellow umbrella on the nook?

There was a time that distributors like these lined downtown Primary Avenue, generally two per block. The lot of them, reportedly shut to twenty within the early 2000s, would enter a lottery for his or her selection of location each spring. Like meals vans, town tells them the place they’ll vend.

For essentially the most half, distributors established their turf by way of attrition. However tales of a vendor drawing the next quantity than one other and bouncing a competitor from his most popular spot abound.

In 2005, there have been experiences of sizzling canine feuds downtown. Warring distributors undercutting one another grew to become so fierce, that prospects may discover two sizzling canines for $1.

These days are gone, although. As are the times of bustling foot visitors downtown. Immediately, three stalwart distributors are all that stay downtown with any regularity. They respect one another, and one another’s turf.

These are their tales.


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  • Dave and Sue Miran, who could have been married for 40 years in 2022, have been a beloved “road meat” merchandising crew for many years in downtown Rochester. They’ve been on the nook of St. Mary’s Place and Court docket Avenue since 2000.

The solar was straight overhead and the lineup at Dave’s Sidewalk Café was beginning to snake across the nook. That meant Dave Miran was getting antsy.

“When the road jacks across the nook, individuals begin their watches, and when individuals begin their watches, the hair on the again of my neck stands up,” stated Miran, who runs the recent canine stand at St. Mary’s Place and Court docket Avenue together with his spouse, Sue Miran.

“For those who don’t know what you need while you get to me, it ain’t about me, it’s concerning the man behind you and the man behind him,” Miran stated.

Fortuitously, Miran has been slinging sizzling canines, hamburgers, hen breasts, and rib eye steaks for thus lengthy on the intersection that he is aware of what most of his prospects need by the point they inch as much as his grill, the place their order is ready for them.

“Two reds, bro?” Miran requested a person. “You bought it,” the person replied.

“Cheeseburger, honey?” Miran requested a lady. “Sure, please,” she stated.

“This man likes his sizzling canines black,” he stated as he handed a person a burnt wiener on a bun. “I do know what he desires. That’s why he retains coming again. Except it’s my charming character.”

“For those who’ve come right here greater than twice I do know what you need,” stated Miran, who figured he can preserve about 20 orders straight in his head and on his grill. “It’s like watching music the best way I cook dinner right here.”

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Dave Miran has cultivated such a loyal customer base that he often knows what his regulars in line want before they reach his cart to order. - PHOTO BY LAUREN PETRACCA


  • Dave Miran has cultivated such a loyal buyer base that he usually is aware of what his regulars in line need earlier than they attain his cart to order.

Miran, 64, of Perinton, is aware of a factor or two about maintaining traces transferring. He labored an meeting line at Basic Motors for 10 years earlier than he took a buyout and opened a sizzling canine stand on Primary Avenue in 1988.

He and his spouse have been at their present location since 2000, a transfer Miran stated they made to accommodate their loyal prospects at Excellus BlueCross Blue Protect, whose workplace relocated from Primary Avenue to Court docket Avenue on the time.

Miran recalled that he began his enterprise on his thirtieth birthday together with his mom as a helper, whereas Sue was pregnant with their second son.

Thirty-four years later, their boys are grown and the couple has in them what Miran proudly calls “the trifecta” — a lawyer, a physician, and an accountant.

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The lineups at Dave's Sidewalk Café at St. Mary's Place and Court Street are typical. But they move quickly. - PHOTO BY LAUREN PETRACCA


  • The lineups at Dave’s Sidewalk Café at St. Mary’s Place and Court docket Avenue are typical. However they transfer shortly.

In that point, Miran’s menu has grown to 42 objects, from the “Piggly Wiggly” to the “Bacon Bleu Burger.” This yr, he started providing “The Grant” and “The Papa,” hamburger concoctions named for him and one among his grandsons.

Miran has additionally earned the excellence of turning into the dean of the downtown sizzling canine merchandising delegation, having repeatedly operated a stand within the metropolis limits longer than anybody. Fellow distributors round city name him “The Godfather.”

“This man is a like a Rochester monument,” stated buyer Alex Salcido, of Hamlin, who ordered a blackened ribeye sandwich with meat sauce. “He’s acquired to be placed on some historic listing or one thing.”

Miran will get the glory as a result of his meals is tasty and his outsized character is tough to overlook.

“Individuals like that we give them just a little present,” he stated.

What’s the present?

“I acquired no filter!” Miran replied. “My spouse says, ‘You may’t say the F-word.’ Properly, hey, it occurs. There are quite a lot of methods the F-word comes about.”

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Dave Miran says of his wife and business partner, Sue Miran:


  • Dave Miran says of his spouse and enterprise associate, Sue Miran: “With out her, I would be achieved. We’re like a wheel.”

However Miran acknowledged that his café is a two-person job that he couldn’t do with out Sue, who quietly runs the money register an doesn’t use the F-word round prospects.

“With out her, I’d be achieved,” Marin stated of his spouse. “We’re like a wheel.”

The Marins will probably be married 40 years this yr. They’re planning to have fun with a trip with their kids and their households in November — after the merchandising season.


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Charlie Abiad, who is a regular outside of the Monroe County Office Building, is the last hot dog vendor standing on Main Street in downtown Rochester. When he opened his stand in 2001, there were sometimes two vendors per block. - PHOTO BY LAUREN PETRACCA


  • Charlie Abiad, who’s an everyday exterior of the Monroe County Workplace Constructing, is the final sizzling canine vendor standing on Primary Avenue in downtown Rochester. When he opened his stand in 2001, there have been generally two distributors per block.

Charlie Abiad had no sooner unfurled the purple and yellow umbrella on his sizzling canine cart and left the primary handful of freshly chopped peppers and onions on the grill to sizzle one current morning than his fist prospects started to hover.

They descended on him on the nook of West Primary and Fitzhugh streets within the coronary heart of downtown Rochester seemingly from nowhere.

“What we do is look out the window for the umbrella to see if Charlie is prepared,” one among them, Wayman Harris, defined, pointing to the higher stage of an workplace constructing throughout the road. “Then we come down in droves. Charlie is our man.”

Abiad, 43, has been hustling sizzling canines and different fare on Primary Avenue for 21 years. He began within the days when the strip was the intersection of presidency and commerce and lined with carts like his. Immediately, Abiad is the final vendor standing on Primary Avenue.

He outlasted his competitors and, for that matter, a lot of the non-public companies. Lots of his prospects are workers of the close by Public Defender’s Workplace and the Monroe County Workplace Constructing, and on a regular basis individuals who use their providers.

His regulars stated he has hung round so lengthy as a result of he doesn’t skimp on high quality and doesn’t gouge his prospects for it, both. That, they stated, has made them loyal and made Abiad an honorary member of their clique.

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Charlie Abiad's cart is officially named


  • Charlie Abiad’s cart is formally named “Joe & Charlie’s Grill.” The “Joe” is a nod to his late father, who used to assist his son by fetching drinks from the cooler for patrons.

“All people appears to be like ahead to seeing Charlie,” stated Vanessa Beato, a employee on the Board of Elections. “I believe if we ended up switching or having one other vendor right here, we in all probability wouldn’t be right here for lunch. He’s like household. He’s our Charlie.”

It’s simple to name Abiad’s enterprise a “sizzling canine cart” as a result of sizzling canines and sausages high the menu. However that label shouldn’t be completely correct. He sells burgers, Philly steaks, hen and gyro pitas, and is the one cart on the town that gives french fries.

“Lots of people like it that I’ve french fries,” Abiad stated. “Not quite a lot of sizzling canine carts have a deep fryer in them.”

The cart’s official title is Joe & Charlie’s Grill. The “Joe” is a nod to Abiad’s late father, who used to assist his son by fetching prospects’ drinks from the cooler.

The enterprise is an element slog, half American Dream.

Abiad immigrated to the USA from Lebanon together with his household when he was 13 years previous. They settled in Spencerport, the place Abiad lives together with his spouse and their two younger kids at present. His uncle, Khalil Abou-eid, had owned the enterprise earlier than him.

“I had no thought that is what I used to be going to do,” Abiad stated. “I got here right here at 13 scared, didn’t know what was going to occur, my uncle took us in.

“I knew I’d ultimately need to open my very own one thing,” he went on. “I simply didn’t know what.”

When his uncle supplied to promote him the enterprise in 2001, Abiad took an opportunity. To make ends meet, he labored festivals and parades and catered non-public occasions.

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When Charlie unfurls the red and yellow umbrella on his cart in the morning, it isn't long before customers from nearby office buildings begin to descend on him to sample his eclectic menu. His is the only cart in town that offers french fries. - PHOTO BY LAUREN PETRACCA


  • When Charlie unfurls the purple and yellow umbrella on his cart within the morning, it is not lengthy earlier than prospects from close by workplace buildings start to descend on him to pattern his eclectic menu. His is the one cart on the town that gives french fries.

He nonetheless works a second job within the night offering safety for a non-public firm, however his bread and butter has been his enterprise.

The hours, he stated, permit him to see his kids off to high school every morning and be there for them after they come dwelling.

“I’ve been blessed,” he stated. “I’m a reasonably completely satisfied man. I’m all the time smiling. Yeah, I’ve a irritating life, however what are you gonna do? I don’t let that get to me. I don’t let something get me down.”


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George Haddad, of


  • George Haddad, of “Haddad’s Greatest” sizzling canine stand at Change Boulevard and State Avenue, has been a fixture in downtown Rochester since 1988.

Most prospects who cease by one of many metropolis’s sizzling canine carts for a chunk are common individuals having a mean day.

Few are within the throes of the emotional highs or lows of the purchasers who frequent George Haddad’s sizzling canine stand on the nook of Broad Avenue and Change Boulevard.

Located down the road from the Corridor of Justice, the seat of metropolis and county courts and the county jail, and throughout the road from BlueCross Area, Haddad waits on individuals having one of the best or worst days of their lives.

He feeds judges who’re considering homicide sentences. He feeds newly freed prisoners. He feeds legal professionals, from overworked public defenders to high-priced legal protection attorneys and every part in between. He feeds children going to a hockey recreation.

When a type of prospects reaches right into a pocket to seek out not sufficient money, Haddad shrugs and provides them what he can.

“I respect everybody irrespective of whether or not they come from the courthouse, the jailhouse, or wherever,” Haddad stated. “Some individuals haven’t any cash. However I by no means let individuals go hungry.”

That ethos has made him a favourite amongst his regulars, a few of whom have been recognized to drive downtown from the farthest reaches of town for a style of his wares.

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A customer of George Haddad offers a $10 bill to pay for lunch. Ten dollars can go a long way at Haddad's stand, which has the lowest prices of the downtown vendors. - PHOTO BY LAUREN PETRACCA


  • A buyer of George Haddad gives a $10 invoice to pay for lunch. Ten {dollars} can go a good distance at Haddad’s stand, which has the bottom costs of the downtown distributors.

Gregory Gamble is one such buyer. He stated he lives within the east finish of town and goes out of his approach to cease at Haddad’s stand for his go-to lunch combo meal of a sizzling canine with peppers and onions, chips, and soda.

“He’s a pleasant man and his meals is nice,” Gamble stated.

Haddad, 62, opened his stand in 1988, making him the second-most senior vendor on the Rochester sizzling canine circuit.

His “Haddad’s Greatest” menu touts “high quality good meals at affordable costs,” and is the one cart downtown the place a sizzling canine can nonetheless be had for underneath $4.

Like different distributors, although, he has his specialties. The merchandise of which he’s most proud is his kielbasa, which Haddad figures is one of the best he has carried in his greater than 30 years within the enterprise.

Haddad was a younger man and newly arrived from Lebanon when he opened his stand. He recalled dwelling briefly in New York Metropolis after arriving within the nation and seeing the lineups on the sizzling canine stands there and pondering, “I can do this.”

In spite of everything, he had expertise within the meals merchandising enterprise. He stated he peddled produce to shops in and round Beirut as a teen, simply because the Lebanese Civil Conflict broke out and set about tearing town and nation asunder.

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George Haddad's menu includes the typical hot dog vendor fare. But he insists that his Polish kielbasa is the best he's ever had. - PHOTO BY LAUREN PETRACCA


  • George Haddad’s menu contains the everyday sizzling canine vendor fare. However he insists that his Polish kielbasa is one of the best he is ever had.

Haddad credited veteran Rochester restauranteur and fellow Lebanese nationwide, Sami Mina, who based Pomodoro Grill and Aladdin’s Pure Eatery, with serving to him get began within the sizzling canine merchandising enterprise.

“He stated, ‘What do you suppose, George, you need to be within the sizzling canine enterprise?’” Haddad recalled Mina asking. “I stated, ‘Yeah, however Sami, I don’t have the cash.’ He helped me out.”

Haddad opened his first cart at Cobb’s Hill Park, across the time that hordes of visitors had been being diverted by way of the park to make means for development of the Interstate 490-590 interchange, higher generally known as the “Can of Worms.”

After development was full, Haddad moved to the Liberty Pole on Primary Avenue. He was a fixture there for years earlier than settling exterior the courthouse in 2014, when he moved to fill a vacuum that was a casualty of town’s sizzling canine wars.

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George Haddad, whose stand is outside of the county courthouse and jail and BlueCross Arena, often serves people who are having the best and worst days of their lives. - PHOTO BY LAUREN PETRACCA


  • George Haddad, whose stand is exterior of the county courthouse and jail and BlueCross Area, usually serves people who find themselves having one of the best and worst days of their lives.

Most days, he’s aided by his spouse, Gloria. The couple lives in Rochester and have three kids, ranging in age from 8 to 23 years previous.

“We’re so fortunate,” stated Haddad, who expressed gratitude for each jurist, lawyer, cop, inmate, court docket clerk, and journalist who routinely depends on him for lunch.

“I imagine in honesty, caring for all people, treating individuals with respect and giving them an excellent product for good costs,” he stated. “I’ve been blessed with that methodology.”

David Andreatta is CITY’s editor. He will be reached at

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