Dave Fraser is wearing a huge smile on his face as he hands out six grilled cheese sandwiches thick with bacon, tomato, onion and pickle. After a few minutes of chatting he says they are the most popular item on Zorro’s menu.
“They are a pain to make,” he explains, “but the customers love them so we keep making them.”
Zorro’s, located next door to the Westminster Hotel in Dawson City, is a popular late-night food joint for both locals and tourists.
The hot dog (and grilled cheese sandwich) stand, whose name is inspired by the Fraser family’s border collie, has been up and running for two years.
The Frasers named the dog Zorro for its Spanish meaning “little fox”, and the pup has now become the stand’s mascot. In fact you will often find him lingering around the stand as customers line up to get their late night eats.
Hot dog stands are not new to Dawson City. Dawson Dogs, which used to be located next to Diamond Tooth Gerties, was around for many years before Zorro’s opened.
When the city changed the law that had formerly restricted multiple hot dog venders, Dave and his sister Georgia jumped at the opportunity.
They decided on a hot dog stand for a few different reasons.
“Hot dogs have become a sort of Dawson tradition,” explains Dave. “Colm Cairns did a great job operating Dawson Dogs but it was beginning to peter out when we decided to open up Zorro’s. We wanted to be the next generation of hot-dog stand in Dawson.”
The siblings share in the responsibility of providing food to the public almost seven nights a week. Georgia also runs a catering business and has provided delicious menus, including eagerly anticipated sushi and curry dishes, for such events as the Dawson City International Short Film Festival.
When Dave and Georgia founded the stand in 2009, they initially took up the tried and true location next to Diamond Tooth Gerties. This year the hot dog stand has moved next to the Westminster Hotel and business is as busy as ever.
That might be because of the stand’s delicious and simple menu, including a few different types of sausages, hot dogs, veggie dogs, and of course the famous grilled cheese.
If you are looking for professional advice on how to top your dog, Dave claims that having a selection of “sauerkraut, banana peppers, mustard and ketchup” is the way to go.
Dave spent the last year at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax, where he explored his talent in fine arts (after taking the foundation year at the Yukon School of Visual Arts in Dawson the year before).
By the time May came around he was happy to return to his home of Dawson City to work at Zorro’s and spend time with friends.
As a boy Dave says he never dreamed of running a hot dog stand. He envisioned himself more as a professional baseball player but says that “hot dogs are always better when someone else is cooking,” and is happy to do the cooking for now.