All In A Day's Drive

'There's something nostalgic about having a hot dog'

'There's something nostalgic about having a hot dog' »Play Video
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JUNCTION CITY, Ore. — If you don't have any lunch plans, you can eat what millions of Americans eat every single day: A hot dog.

The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council has proclaimed July 23 National Hot Dog Day.

Cars and trucks on Highway 99 north of Junction City are constantly on the go. But when they get to Lingo Lane, they'll stop if Craig Zumwalt is cooking.

“In the summer time, it's a hopping joint,” Zumwalt said. 

Zumwalt and Kim Johnson opened Junkyard Extreme Burgers and Brats in 2006, bringing some east coast flair to Junction City.

“There’s good food and plenty of it,” customer Jerry Wooldridge said. He and his wife are visiting from Henderson, Nevada.

In eight years, Junkyard Extreme has expanded, adding a drive-thru, more seating indoors and outdoors. Not to mention getting even more creative with the menu, adding burgers and brats. 

“We also make a pizza dog. No one in the US does this,” Zumwalt said.

Meanwhile, in a galaxy not so far, far away--OK, it's on the corner of 6th and Willamette--Jef Robertson is throwing it into hyperdrive, as he prepares for a hungry lunch crowd.

“There's something nostalgic about having a hot dog, especially on a nice, summer day,” Robertson said. Robertoson and a partner started Red Five Hot Dog Company in 2010.

Robertson, who's a sci-fi fan and a former film school student, says he never intended to bring home the bacon selling hot dogs. But as he soon found, the force of the food cart was just too strong.

“After the first year, it was pretty evident that hot dogs is where we needed to be,” Robertson said.

So what's in a name? Red Five is a Star Wars reference. Although you'd have to go back and watch "Episode IV: A New Hope" to spot it. It was Luke Skywalker’s call sign as he piloted the X-wing fighter. One destroyed Death Star later, and a business was born.

“I was born in the 70s, so my whole life was Star Wars. It's hard to get away from that,” customer Nathan Philes said.

And Red Five fans find it's hard to stay away after they've tried a dog for the first time. Fortunately, Robertson says droids, storm troopers, even wookiees are welcome here. Just a few places you can enjoy a dog on a hot day.

Robertson is currently fixing up a 1950 Ford panel van that he’s nicknamed “The Harrison Ford.” He plans to run Red Five out of the refurbished truck once it’s finished.