Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando hot dog vendor back in business with new spot

Christina Tucci, 60, talks Thursday about some of the issues she’s had in trying to find a good spot for her hot dog wagon.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Christina Tucci, 60, talks Thursday about some of the issues she’s had in trying to find a good spot for her hot dog wagon.

BROOKSVILLE — On Tuesday, the first day at her new location, Christina Tucci didn't think it was going to work. After dodging four hours of downpours, she huddled beneath the umbrella on her hot dog cart, waiting for customers.

Related News/Archive

By normal standards, it wasn't a great day for the 60-year-old woman who has been hawking wieners on Hernando County roadsides since 1994. She earned just $20, barely a third of what she was earning two years ago.

But since relocating her cart in the parking lot of the My Place 2 tavern on busy Cortez Boulevard, west of Brooksville, Tucci has seen a glimmer of hope. Some of her old customers have already started noticing her, and that makes her happy.

"I had a guy come by and buy five hot dogs today," she said excitedly Wednesday. "He said he's going to stop again later this week."

For years, Tucci and her longtime partner, Murray Polsky, ran the mobile lunch stand at the corner of a small beverage store not far from her current location. But shortly after Polsky's death last year, the owner of the property abruptly asked her to leave.

Since then, things haven't been going her way.

Tucci tried setting up at locations along U.S. 98 inside the Brooksville city limits. She found the experience frustrating. One property owner forced her to buy a $1 million liability insurance policy, then wanted to charge her $250 a month for rent. She also had run-ins with the city's code enforcement division, which refused to allow her to set up her wagon in the location she wanted.

"It was making me sick," said Tucci, who suffers from numerous health issues. "I wasn't making any money, and I was mad all the time."

Two weeks ago, Tucci finally found the miracle she was looking for. Strangers who heard of her plight stepped forward with the money to buy a $100 temporary county vending license. Then, My Place 2 owners Buddy and Linda Newman offered her free space in front their establishment to park her hot dog wagon.

Tucci can stay as long as she wants, Buddy Newman said.

"Everybody deserves a fair shot, and she hasn't been getting that," Newman said. "The way I see it, we can help each other. She can sell hot dogs and maybe send us some customers as well."

Tucci said she likes the idea.

"I'm happy to help them out all I can," she said as she served a chili dog to a truck driver. "That's what people are supposed to do, isn't it?"

Logan Neill can be reached at (352) 848-1435 or [email protected]

Hernando hot dog vendor back in business with new spot 09/09/11 [Last modified: Friday, September 9, 2011 7:50pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pleasant dreams: sleep travel site gives high marks to Tampa airport

    Airlines

    TAMPA — Traveling might be considered closer to a nightmare than a dream for many. But that might be different for those who travel through Tampa International Airport. It was ranked the No. 3 overall best airport in North America by Sleeping in Airports, a travel site that tracks the best airports to catch some …

    Tampa International Airport was ranked as the No. 3 best overall airport by travel site Sleeping in Airports. | [Times file photo]
  2. Google parent leads $1B Lyft investment, deepening Uber rift

    Business

    SAN FRANCISCO — Google's parent company is throwing its financial support behind ride-hailing service Lyft, deepening its rift with market leader Uber.

    This  file photo shows a smartphone displaying the Lyft app.Google's parent company, Alphabet Inc., is throwing its financial support behind ride-hailing service Lyft, deepening its rift with market leader Uber. [Associated Press, 2016]
  3. Check out what this former Buc has cooking in Buffalo

    Bucs

    Leonard Johnson is thrilled to extend his NFL career in Buffalo this season, but whenever his playing days are over, the former Bucs cornerback is ready for life after football.

    He's actually pretty excited.

    Buffalo Bills cornerback Leonard Johnson catches a pass during an NFL football training camp in Pittsford, N.Y., Saturday, July 29, 2017. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)
  4. Editorial: Arrests show construction licensing board's faults

    Editorials

    Ripping off consumers got a little harder in Pinellas County this week after teams of deputies launched a predawn operation and arrested unlicensed contractors. It was a needed crackdown on a problem that appears rampant in Pinellas because the agency charged with overseeing local contractors has no policing …

    Ripping off consumers got a little harder in Pinellas County this week after teams of deputies executed a predawn operation, arresting unlicensed contractors.
  5. Dade City teen arrested after authorities say he pulled fake gun on student

    Crime

    DADE CITY — A 14-year-old boy faces felony charges after he pulled a fake gun on a Pasco Middle School student near the school Wednesday afternoon, according to authorities.