Get ready, Stamford, an almost 100-year-old hot dog institution, with a ton of accolades, is opening just in time for your summer sausage eating pleasure.
Walter’s Hot Dogs is set to split, grill, and slather up their famed franks in early to mid-August, located in the space by the fountain in Commons Park, previously occupied by Mr. Frosty’s and The Hut. The Harbor Point edition of Walter’s is their second big reveal in just a few months as they announced a White Plains location would be opening sometime this fall.
If you’re new to Walter’s, you obviously need to get out more, but for those few unfamiliar folks, here’s a little background. Walter’s opened in Mamaroneck in 1919 as a hot dog stand, that got transformed into a Chinese-style pagoda 1928, and is now a nationally registered historic landmark. For 98 years and counting, this family-owned business has been cooking-up their own recipe veal, beef, and pork blend hot dogs, that get grilled in a secret sauce, drizzled with their own mustard, and served in a perfectly toasted bun.
At the Stamford location, customers can expect all the good stuff that’s made Walter’s a popular destination for locals and tourists alike; curly fries, fried potato puffs, homemade hand-scooped ice cream and Italian ice, and funnel cake fries dusted with powdered sugar. Additionally, you’ll be able to enjoy a Walter’s item that was previously only available on their food trucks, the Puffy Dog, a hot dog (or double it, if you dare) served with fried and smashed potato puffs in the bun.
Ahead of the grand opening, we chatted with Walter’s great grandchildren, Katharine Woodward, who handles public relations and events, and Gene Baca, in charge of business development, about Walter’s new Harbor Point digs, what to expect, and more.
What took 100 years for Walter’s to expand?
Gene: It’s about opportunity. We get offered all the time to do things, to be a part of things, but all the right pieces needed to come together. A lot of offers seemed attractive, but everything had to feel right. We had to be able to see ourselves in that location, and deliver the same quality, and experience you get at the original Walter’s.
Katharine: We also have to be able to be there on a regular basis. This is a family business so that part is important to us, and we want to keep it the same.
So why open in Stamford?
Gene: We’ve been offered multiple locations in Stamford the past couple years. The community had to be the right fit, and we love that Harbor Point fits what we wanted. Kudos to the Fortina guys, who put us in touch with the building’s owners so that’s what helped get the ball rolling.
Katharine: We’ve been in love with this building, and this park for a few years. The outdoor seating and feel of the park fits the Walter’s experience, and Commons Park hosts a lot of family friendly events, and that’s what we’re all about.
Will you be open year-round? This isn’t just a seasonal thing, right?
Gene: It’s all year, and we’re going to do late nights on weekends (hours to be determined). We’re also going to do Uber Eats delivery.
What—if anything—will be different about the Stamford location?
Gene: This will kind of piggyback the truck in a way. We’re working in a tighter space than our flagship, it’ll still be quick service all the way, but in terms of operating it’s much smaller inside than it looks.
Katharine: We’re going to do the specials we do on the truck, like the option of swapping a traditional bun for a Bavarian pretzel bun, the Puffy Dog. The one thing we are going to do here is offer soft serve ice cream, including more milkshake flavors with mix-ins.
Gene: When you open a new place, people always want to know what will be different, but it’s important for people to know that it’s the same product.
Katharine: It’s the same people from the stand that will be making it here. Walter’s is all about consistency, quality, and it has to be the same every time. We never change anything. We keep it exactly how it is and how it was 98 years ago.