New Orleans February 14, 2018
Most People Don’t Know The History Of New Orleans’ Most Iconic Street Vendor
Most New Orleanians have a Lucky Dog story. If you’ve ever spent any time in the French Quarter, you’ve seen these iconic 7-foot carts on the streets, and you’ve probably waited in line to get your hands on one in the wee hours of the morning. But most people don’t know the history of this iconic street vendor, so let’s take a look at how Lucky Dogs came to be and how they became a symbol of the Vieux Carre.
The Lucky Dogs Company was founded in 1948 by local brothers Joe and Steve Loyacano.
They owned and operated the business until 1970. Steve decided to sell the company after growing tired of the business—partially due to the death of his brother Joe and also the city changed the food sanitation code which required the hot dogs be prepared in the warehouse, rather than on the cart itself. This changed the flavor of the dogs, and they lost popularity with locals and tourists.
Steve sold the company to Doug Talbot and Peter Briant. Talbot was the former co-owner of the Orange Julius, a franchise in the French Quarter. He knew the quarter well and believed he could revive the Lucky Dog.
Talbot and Briant redesigned the Lucky Dog carts to meet the city’s sanitation code, and the Lucky Dog brand was back in business and quickly regained popularity.
Today the Lucky Dog Company is owned by the Talbot family.
For 70 years, thousands of late-night folks have feasted on Lucky Dogs. Since they’ve been open, they’ve proudly served more than 21 million dogs!
You may have noticed a lack of street vendors in the French Quarter.
This is because of a 1972 city ordinance that dictated that Lucky Dogs and another company that sold ice-cream would be the only push-cart vendors allowed in the French Quarter. The law has been challenged in the past but always upheld, giving Lucky Dogs a bit of a monopoly on food carts in the French Quarter.
You can find Lucky Dogs outside of the French Quarter, too.
While there are several locations in the Quarter, you can also grab a Lucky Dog in the New Orleans airport, Shop Rite Convenient Stores, Harrahs Casino, The Superdome, Zephyr Field and several other locations around Louisiana. You can also buy them at Rouses supermarkets so you can have a Lucky Dog at home.
Ever eaten a Lucky Dog? Let us know in the comments below!