Fort Worth restaurant gives out free hot dogs

A frozen custard stand in Fort Worth that has had to cancel its last two fourth of July hot dog eating contests because of the pandemic has adopted a new strategy. Curly’s Frozen Custard on Camp Bowie was the only location outside Coney Island with the approval of Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs to hold a contest of its own.

Monday, Curly’s is giving 200 free hot dogs. At 1 pm, they still had hot dogs available. Curly’s Christopher Beck says the change aims to give people a chance to enjoy the food instead of eating it as fast as they can.

“You’d have a lot of people coming in to support the people who were eating. They’d come in, watch the event, and that would be the end of it,” he said.

Hot dogs are available one per person. People can choose ketchup and mustard, but specialty hot dogs and custard are not free.

“Our custard is fantastic, Nathan’s hot dogs are amazing,” Beck said. “It’s just an incredible combo.”

Photo credit Alan Scaia

“A lot of people know Curly’s for ice cream, but I like the hot dogs,” one woman who came with her son and grandkids said. “I’m not a big ice cream person, but those hot dogs are something.”

Curly’s started the contest when it started serving Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs in 2011. Beck says the change in brands led to a spike in sales.

“With our location here on Camp Bowie, we get a lot of walk-up business as well as people driving in from as far away as Weatherford and Aledo just to get hot dogs and custard,” he said.

The 2019 youth division champion, Isaac Rodriguez, also participated in the adult contest that year.

“I was like, ‘I’m so excited for the contest, I’m ready to do it’,” he said. “Then my mom told me it’s just 200 free hot dogs. That kind of hurt.”

He came back with his family for a free hot dog Monday. Rodriguez said even though he could eat at his own pace, he still wanted to race.

“It’s good, I can eat it, but I’ve got that inner instinct where I just want to [chomp, chomp, chomp, chomp]he said.

Curly’s has also started selling Parker County Peach frozen custard. Beck said they are working with a different farm for their supply, and he anticipates being able to sell the flavor through the end of September this year.

Beck says Curly’s is working with Weatherford Farmers Market and Hutton Peach Farm for its supply.

“We go out to local growers and pick up what we want, when we want and make sure it is the quality we want it to be,” he said.

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