OSBMS’s Omnivorous column this week gives us a look at the life of Bob Schwartz, author of the forthcoming Never Put Ketchup on a Hot Dog (Chicago’s Books Press, due out in September).
Schwartz is the “official schmoozer” for Vienna Beef, as well as the founder of their online hall of fame, and he really loves his job. Vienna is unlike the other mega-hot-dog companies in that they focus almost exclusively on independent-vendor contracts (hence their lack of presence at, say, a ball game, but their street-cart ubiquity), and Schwartz’s appreciation for the independent vendor is clear:
“I find that not having been born in Chicago gives me a better sense of this,” he says. “It’s kind of like they say a blind person has better senses. It just has impressed me so much that when people go into a hot dog stand they feel that it is a part of their life. That they have ownership of that—something that doesn’t exist in your chains and your other restaurant concepts that are out there.”
Even if Schwartz didn’t have a book to plug, we’d be digging this profile: he’s one of a (hopefully not dying) breed of hands-on, big-hearted company guys who really understands the personal relationships that make a business run well. Not to mention that we’ve got a special place in our heart for anyone who understands the epic, infinite importance of a properly done sausage.
The Local Wiener [Reader/Omnivorous]
[Photo via specialkrb’s Flickr]