Joe's Hot Dogs: something gained, something lost

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Joe’s Diner’s doors are closed, but patrons of the establishment’s fare can still get their food from Joe Bushfan through a trailer he has parked behind the building. (Photo by Tyler Vahan)


For those searching for their one-pound hot dogs after the June 19 closing of Joe’s Diner, you won’t have to look far.

Joe Bushfan, owner of the Angier Avenue location, will still continue serving hot dogs in a trailer behind the former diner, which now serves as an expansion to Bushfan’s next-door commissary and commercial kitchen.

“People were missing their hot dogs,” said Bushfan.

He says the expansion of the commissary and commercial kitchen will allow him to better serve food trucks which use the space for food preparation and storage. He already works with the trucks Greedyz, Deli-icious, Thai Box Zing and Taqueria Don Fily, to name a few.

“I want to become one of the best hubs for food trucks in Durham,” said Bushfan.

Bushfan says that the trucks are more than welcome to serve food in the parking lot where his own trailer currently stands when they aren’t running their routes.

Not everyone is into the concept of the diner closing to allow for more food trucks in the area. But Samuel Jenkins, owner of Samuel & Sons on the same block as Joe’s, understands the dilemma.

“[People] are upset that they’re closed, disappointed even. But when you own a business you have to do what’s right for you,” said Jenkins.

Jenkins explained why he’s not excited to have more food trucks in the area. “It leaves buildings empty, which takes from the community instead of gives.”

On the other hand, Talal Radi, 35, who works at M & M Mini Mart down the street, is excited for more food trucks in the area and is not as affected by the physical diner closing.

“I’ve never actually been to the diner because of my work,” said Radi. “He usually doesn’t deliver, but he would bring me food and let me pay when I got off-shift.”

He said he’s been to food truck rodeos in the area and liked the variety of food options.

Bushfan said he would be interested in organizing a food truck rodeo himself, possibly in April or May of next year.

He said he’s also not completely done with the idea of having Joe’s Diner in a building again, “if the community decides to pick it back up.”

Increased foot traffic in the area would be a large factor in this decision. He says there may be office space opening up in the surrounding blocks that would contribute to this.

While a streetscape initiative completed in 2014 has improved the look of this part of Angier Avenue, Bushfan said this was not enough to push people to the area. He said increased signage pointing to the Angier-Driver corner, for instance on Alston Avenue, would help.

In the meantime, Bushfan said he’s interested in using the building next door to his commissary and commercial kitchen to get into the Kangen Water business.

Bushfan is concerned about the quality of the tap water in the area, and Kangen Water machines claim to increase the benefits of water by changing its acidity and mineral levels.

So whether Joe’s Diner reopens or not, Bushfan said “My priority is making better community.”