Originally from the Caribbean islet of St. Martin, John “Frenchy” Dinane, 31, operates his aptly-named hot dog stand every day during the lunch rush in the shadow of The Arizona Republic’s high-rise parking garage.
“Running a hot dog stand was far from what I was trying to do,” Dinane said. “I have a black belt in Kenpō, and I came to the (U.S.) to try to get into the UFC.”
After a few setbacks in his martial arts career, he competed on the TV game show “The Price is Right.”
He won a new Toyota Prius on the show and sold it immediately, using the money to open his hot dog stand.
The hot dogs are an exotic take on the normal frank served by most venders.
Dinane makes regular hot dogs and Caribbean-style sandwiches, but his prize confection is the variety of sauces that go on his signature “Caribbean dogs.”
His sunny disposition helps to coax his customers in and transform them into clientele. Dinane wears a different bowtie with his button-down and slacks each day, along with a bright smile that seems incapable of being repressed.
“My punch cards are in the mail,” Dinane laughs as regular Tres Mascarenas steps up to order.
Mascarenas, a 33-year-old Army recruiter, makes up part of Frenchy’s platoon of regular customers.
“I drive from Gilbert probably three times a week for my Frenchy’s,” Mascarenas said.
Students are warming to Frenchy’s Caribbean Dogs as well.
Sean Mayall, journalism freshman and Taylor Place resident, started to frequent Frenchy’s since the stand first showed up across the street.
“His new twist on a basic hot dog is excellent.” Mayall said. “His friendliness really promotes his business, too.”
Frenchy’s parks on the corner of Second and Taylor streets each weekday, but Dinane and his hot dogs also travel around the Valley.
“I just hook the stand up to my truck and cater all over,” he said. “In Scottsdale, for corporate events and parties, anywhere. People call me and ask where I’m going to be today.”
With an arsenal of different sauces and mixtures, including mangoes and papayas, Frenchy’s home-spun take on the hot dog fuses traditional Caribbean food and the established urban hot dog stand.
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