Just east of the Chesapeake Bay Hyatt, inside a brightly painted orange and green building, stands Cambridge’s coolest spot to grab a gourmet hot dog. Opened by Eric Ploeg two years ago next month, Hot Spot Cool Eats has become a favorite destination for locals and summer tourists craving that perennial American ‘sandwich.’
Ploeg opened his Dorchester County business with $100,000 financial assistance from the Rural Development Center and the Eastern Shore Entrepreneurship Center for equipment purchases. The renovated gas station is now a year round ‘gourmet’ hot dog stand serving a dozen types of ‘dogs,’ hand cut fries and old-fashioned, fresh churned soft ice cream. Hot Spot pays homage to its car dealership and fill-up station roots with classic car photos and polished hubcaps decorating the painted concrete walls.
The former Arlington Virginia restaurateur moved to the Eastern Shore in 2004 and set his sights on establishing a new business here. “Hotdogs are a ‘niche market’ and inspire a loyal customer following,” Ploeg says, adding, “we have one regular who comes in every week. While most hot-dog places serve one dog with a dozen different toppings, every dog on our menu is a different variety and each one grilled to order.”
Next up on the menu is a new “bison dog.” Through his partnership with Shore Gourmet, Ploeg teamed up with SB Farms in Hurlock to create his latest dog. And, the return of crab season means that fans of his hugely popular “Crabby Frank” will soon enjoy this special shore treat.
Currently employing eight, Ploeg is hiring seasonal workers as he prepares for longer hours and large ‘Beach to Bay’ crowds the warmer weather brings. People returning from the beach make the roadside stand especially busy Sundays as customers return for their favorite dog and soft-serve twist.