Greenwood Hot Dogs & Sausages Food Truck Delivers Big Flavor
Writer / Seth Johnson
Photographer / Erin Feldmeyer
For Jack Meeks, hot dogs have just always been a part of life.
“I’m originally from Virginia, and one of my uncles had a hot dog restaurant there in Lynchburg,” says the man behind Happy Jack’s Hot Dogs & Sausages in Greenwood. “Down south, hot dogs are really big. I mean, there was a hot dog restaurant on every corner. So I’ve been involved with hot dogs all my life.”
From their signature Hill City Hot Dog to more conventional hot dog and sausage choices, Happy Jack’s Hot Dogs & Sausages has a little bit of something to offer everyone. Typically located in Old Town Greenwood at the Public Parking Lot on Main Street, the roving lunch cart has become a favorite of many in the area, much to the delight of Meeks.
A Greenwood resident, Meeks decided to start Happy Jack’s Hot Dogs & Sausages about four years ago upon retiring.
“After I retired from business a few years ago, I said, ‘I’ve always wanted to do this,’” Meeks recalls. “So I thought, ‘I’ll give this a try.’ It’s not to make money only, it’s just to have something to do.”
With ties to the area, he decided Greenwood was where he would predominantly do business.
“When we started looking around, Greenwood was one of the locations that we could find to set up because they hadn’t had any food trucks at that point,” Meeks says. “So we went in and talked with them and worked out an agreement with the city to use that parking lot. It just became home for us, so people know that we’re there.”
Since its start, Happy Jack’s Hot Dogs & Sausages has stuck to a pretty simple yet unique menu. According to Meeks, the most popular item is their Hill City Hot Dog, which is an Indiana hot dog topped with Virginia-style yellow relish, spicy southern-style chili sauce and chopped sweet onions. This hot dog recipe originated in Lynchburg, Virginia, where Meeks’ uncle had his hot dog restaurant back in the early 1940s.
“What I brought with me from Virginia was the old recipes for Hill City Hot,” Meeks says. “That’s where I came from was Lynchburg [called the Hill City].”
Other highlights on the Happy Jack’s menu include the Kraut Dog and the Zesty Garden Dog, which also has its own special recipe.
“The Zesty Garden Dog was one that we came up with,” Meeks says. “When we first started, people would say, ‘Do you have a Chicago dog?’ I’m from the south, so I didn’t know what a Chicago dog was. So we did a little research on it, and my wife came up with the recipe for the Zesty Garden Dog. She has a special sauce that she puts on top of it. That’s a big seller.”
Happy Jack’s also offers a more conventional Chili Dog option, which is always a hit with the youngsters.
“The young kids, when we do a party, all they want are chili dogs,” Meeks says. “They’ll just eat tons and tons of them.”
The cart also offers an assortment of cans of pop and bags of chips to make the meal experience complete.
In addition to their normal parking lot appearances in Greenwood, Happy Jack’s also does private events.
“People book us for weddings and birthdays,” Meeks says. “Graduations are big. It’s an inexpensive way to feed a lot of people.”
No matter where the cart is located, though, Meeks says he’s ultimately in it for the people.
“[I enjoy] meeting with the people, talking with the people, seeing how everybody’s doing,” he says. “If you think you’re gonna get rich selling hot dogs out of a cart, no, you’re not. You gotta really love what you’re doing.”
For updates on what days you can find Happy Jack’s Hot Dogs & Sausages out in Old Town Greenwood at the Public Parking Lot on Main Street, be sure to visit the Happy Jack’s on Twitter at @HappyJackHotDog, Facebook facebook.com/happyjackhotdogs or call them at 317-851-7972.