A funny thing happened on our way out of the bar last week; our neighborhood stand-by for late-night grub was missing from its usual perch at Second and Poplar Streets in Northern Liberties. Thinking we may have misplaced it like a set of car keys after a bout of drinking, we decided to get to the bottom of it for our readers. After talking to the other glossy-eyed patrons looking aimlessly for their gourmet hot dog fix, we found out that Dapper Dog was shut down by Philadelphia Police for violation of a License and Inspections ordinance a few weeks back. As it turns out, Philadelphia has a city-wide ban on operating a street cart between the hours of midnight and 7am (which, unfortunately, is the exact hours we go looking for street fare). We of course immediately contacted the currently stressed owner/operator of the hot dog mobile, Seth Russel, who is lamenting the enforcement of the ordinance. “In June, about a month after we opened, the No Libs community association passed an ordinance that prohibits vending on Second Street,” Russel explains. “L&I never added this part of Second Street to their list of prohibited streets . . . but local businesses began complaining and the police came by and shut us down a few weeks ago.”
Russel explained to us that other heavily regulated areas have specifications for vendors, but since Dapper is the only street vendor in the Second and Poplar area, he “has to do it alone.” Sadly, the return of Dapper Dog to it’s initial Northern Liberties corner is still up in the air. Russel is trying to work with the Northern Liberties Community Association to establish a way in which he can stay open, but nothing has been resolved as of yet. “It seems that most residents and businesses approve of us being there so I’m not sure why we can’t come to a mutually beneficial agreement,” says Russel.
On behalf of our cravings and those of all the other fans, we wish Dapper Dog the best of luck. And if you just can’t squash that feeling of needing a Chicago Dog, you can always trek out to Temple’s campus to the corner of 13th and Norris at Dapper’s second lunchtime location. As for the suggestion that Dapper could move to a new corner in Northern Liberties? Russel wasn’t having it. “That corner is well-lit, good for pedestrians and perfect for late night. We really don’t want to start over in a new place.”