Let’s be frank

Reid Armstrong
Sky-Hi News
Fraser, CO Colorado
Reid Armstrong/Sky-Hi News

Since the 1860s when German butcher Charles Felman opened the first Coney Island hot dog stand in Brooklyn, wieners have been a staple of the American diet.

By 1893, when hot dogs were sold as an easy-to-eat, convenient and inexpensive meal at Chicago World’s Fair, the franks on a bun had become standard fare at baseball parks.

Today, in this era of mocha lattes and arugala salads, hot dogs have come a long way from the simple sausage slapped between a roll.

Fraser Valley raft guide and ski bum Matt Cordts is embracing the hot dog as a gourmet food at his new roadside hot dog stand, located in the parking lot next to Rocky Mountain Moonshine in Fraser.

Cordts has called the Fraser Valley home since first moving to the area from Decater, Ill., with some friends in 1995. He’s been something of a fixture around town ever since, having worked stints in the kitchens at Deno’s and Devil’s Thumb between guiding river trips for Mad Adventures and skiing at Winter Park. In recent years, he’s been traveling quite a bit, surfing in Hawaii and motorcycling around South America with his Argentine wife Chivi. Now, they are back in the valley to stay, and Cordts plans to make a go of it with his hot dog stand.

All Cordts dogs are hormone free, antibiotic free and free-range, he said. He steams rather than boils them, which, he claims, makes all the difference. When an order’s up, he splits the dog, grills it and tops it with a lot more than the traditional mustard and relish.

Cordts’ signature dog is the “Chicago Style,” inspired by a hot dog served at Mr. G’s in his hometown of Decater Ill. It’s Vienna beef served on a steamed poppy seed bun with a dill spear, diced onion, fresh tomatoes, bright green relish, sport peppers and celery salt.

The “Fozzy Dog” is Vienna beef with blue cheese and blue cheese dressing topped with bacon, caramelized onions and Bauers mustard.

His elk jalapeno cheddar dog comes with green chile jalapeno cream cheese and caramelized onions. He also serves a vegetarian carrot dog, which is a whole carrot marinated in teriyaki and sesame and topped with goat cheese, truffle oil and ginger slaw.

In all, Cordts has a list of 100 different hot dog recipes, and he’ll make almost any combination to order. The franks range in price from $2.50 for the traditional kids dog to $6.50 for the elk dog.

Cordts plans to man the Fraser Valley Hot Dog stand from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. seven days a week and 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, and hopes to become a vender at a variety of local events and festivals.

– Reid Armstrong can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19610 or

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