Part of the culture of New York and cities everywhere around the world is eating food from a truck. It certainly does not have to be a hot dog truck, but the key ingredients must be present:
1. A paralyzing and tempting smell of deliciously goodness emanating from the truck
2. A line of people, proof that security in numbers can stand alone as a testament to trying something new.
3. “Old Timers” who have been frequenting the truck for years and who can show a “newbie” the correct order process, eating stance and their all time menu favorites.
4. Location…the truck must be parked in the same exact location year after year, so that regulars who may move away for a time, can count on that exact location will bear the same truck foodies that they have had in their hearts and minds for the years they spent away.
I recall many times stopping here, either on my way to or from a little league game. Perhaps braving a clear but cold winter day to warm up with a Hot Dog or in my Dad’s case, some Chilli… I DO NOT eat Chilli 😦
The hard-working woman from Yonkers, who has always had a hand in street fare business, began selling ice cream and other goodies out at some of the New York area beaches when she was younger and loved to meet all the people and see all the smiling faces that would come and go from her cart.
Then in 1983, she was given the chance, along with her ex-husband to buy the Hotdog truck and while the “Ex” soon parted ways, she kept the truck and the rest is history as generations of Yonkers families could now grow up with her Hotdog truck forever parked loyally in the same location on the busy Yonkers thoroughfare.
Back in 83′, a Hotdog would run you about $1.15, so a $1.75 nowadays is not too bad considering inflation for just about everything else in the world has doubled or tripled prices.
She uses Sabrett All Beef Hot Dogs, saying that these dogs are the best for boiling, opposed to Hebrew National or her fierce rival only 2 miles down the road, Nathans.
Angel is a delightful woman though and she is just the kind of person you would want serving you up your lunch and or dinner on the go. All those who frequent her truck know her by name and she surprisingly knows most of her customers by name as well, having stood 3 feet taller than them for years, inside the truck, serving up lunch after lunch.
If you do crave Chilli, this is the place to be as Angel has concocted a homemade recipe that seems to leave everyone simply craving more and more of it. I mean it even says on the side of the truck, “best Chilli in town!”
What makes Angel’s truck great though in my opinion are the people who frequent the truck day in and day out. Once again, this blog centers around Yonkers as if it were both a conglomeration of neighborhoods and even one gigantic neighborhood as well and this truck is as much a part of this neighborhood as any other place.
In the half hour I was there, I saw business men, Moms, a Father and Son pair, and an “old timer,” all come out of the woodwork and stop and grab a bite. One guy told me that he drives a truck all throughout Long Island all day long and he must pass 300 hot dog trucks on his route but guess where he finally shuts his truck down each day to have lunch…
Even just simply the history of it all, standing at the same spot on Central Ave for almost 3 decades is a great accomplishment in itself. She has seen horrific accidents, such as the great truck fire in October of 1997 that closed down the over pass to the New York State Thruway and forever changed the traffic pattern in the area.
She has seen the ghost of the Ground Round as I like to call it assert itself, so that no restaurant can seem to do business in the now black hole vortex of the former Ground Round location…
Angel may serve Hot Dogs, but she really is serving up so much more wouldn’t you say? Her truck certainly meets the impromptu criterion that I set up earlier in the post and her truck that has gone from just another eatery to Yonkers icon will be missed once she decides to stop stirring Chilli, stop boiling Hot Dogs and to begin her retirement, perhaps on a beach or a boat as she hinted.
So the morale of the story is, if you haven’t, I would implore you to get out to Central Ave, just north of the NYS Thryway and south of Palmer Rd and have a lunch, perhaps with your Dad or son or daughter or whomever, at Angel’s Hot Dog Truck. Frankly…I think they’re the best! I know I know, bad joke.