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New owner plans major changes for Tampa restaurant


After opening the venerable eatery next door to Busch Gardens in 1973, Mel Lohn, the original owner of Mel’s Hot Dogs has sold the business and the new owner has some drastic changes in store for the popular Tampa Bay Area staple.

“50 years is a long time for any business,” said the new owner under the condition of anonymity because he said he never does things for the sake of getting attention. “It’s time for a little bit of a rebranding.”

First up is a name change.

“What’s the point of having a known, easily recognizable brand that’s been well-established for a long time that people are familiar with? That’s stupid. Nobody wants that. It just makes sense to change the name and logo,” said the new owner who says he never makes rash, impetuous decisions.

From now on, the restaurant will be known simply as “hot dogs” and the logo will be a bar code for generic wieners.

“I’m also launching a paid hot dog subscription service for verified customers. It’ll cost $8 a month for individuals and $1000 a month for organizations, for which the verified customer will receive some sort of identifying badge or mark and they’ll be entitled to special features such as being allowed to put ketchup on their hot dogs if they choose without anybody criticizing them, as well as free parking,” he said. “Actually, everybody already gets free parking. For now.”

“Listen, when you pay $44 billion for a hot dog restaurant, you should be able to put your personal stamp on it, don’t you think?”, asked the new owner who many consider to be a genius for some reason.

Clark Brooks

About Clark Brooks

Senior Supreme Executive Premium Content Editor for Tampa News Force. Comedian, writer and ordained minister. Twitter: @ClarkBrooks | Instagram:@ClarkBrooks54