Pete’s Hot Dogs: A Newburgh institution
by Ann Hutton
Hudson Valley One
Tradition is upheld in a small hot dog stand in Newburgh. Pete’s Hot Dogs is a family-owned-and-operated business, soon to be joined by a fifth generation when the great-great-grandson of the original Pete steps behind the counter in the fall. The founder, Pete Orsino, had a plan exquisite in its simplicity, and it’s one that his descendants still follow: Keep It Simple. You’ve got a frankfurter, all-beef with natural casing. You’ve got a bun. Offer a few accoutrements and something to drink, and you’re in the game.
Legend has it that Pete tried to sell his hot dogs at the local high school with no permit or any other extraneous rigmarole, and was stopped by the City from conducting business there. Undeterred, he bought the property on South Williams and installed his kitchen where it still stands today. This was in 1932, a mere 85 years ago. Little has changed in eight decades. You’ve still got your frankfurters, buns and accoutrements – although that word is probably too fancy to refer to onions, kraut, mustard and ketchup. And the chili. God, don’t forget the chili.
Hot-dog experts with more educated palates than I have wax downright
poetic when discussing the attributes and distinguishing flavors of
Pete’s products, comparing the varieties of Texas-style to Michigan dogs
to Coney Island dogs to Cincinnati Greek-style dogs. Pete’s grandson
Vince Orsino reiterates the formula for longevity and success: “We’ve
kept it simple, like the old saying goes...