After 50 years of serving Chicago dogs to Tampanians, Mel’s Hot Dogs is for sale.
Michael Braccia of Bay Street Commercial is the broker on the deal. He said that owner Mel Lohn is ready to retire, but wants to protect the legacy of the iconic restaurant.
They are looking for a buyer who will continue to operate the restaurant as it is. Potential buyers will be vetted for qualifications including experience running a restaurant. Lohn will choose the “right person” and talk to them, Braccia said.
Lohn is a Chicago native who first came to Tampa while touring with his band. As legend has it, he was looking for a place to get a Chicago dog and came up empty. He stayed in town and in 1973, opened Mel’s Red Hot Ranch, which eventually became Mel’s Hot Dogs at 4136 E Busch Blvd.
In 2019, a car plowed into the restaurant. Lohn joked at the time: “We don’t have a drive-through.”