You can't always depend on the weather to tell you it's spring, but for me one of the sure signs that the season has surely changed is the opening of Louie's Foot Long Hot Dogs in Tonawanda.  It's a long, long winter without Louie's, but for me when they open up again it means it's time to pull out the shorts and t-shirts because spring is here!

Dale Mussen photo
Dale Mussen photo
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Louie's is a family-run business that's been open since 1951 and they've always been located on Grand Island Blvd. next to the 5th green at Sheridan Park Golf Course.  Louie passed away a number of years ago but his son and daughter continue to run it with the same quality and friendliness that their dad was famous for.

Dale Mussen photo
Dale Mussen photo
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What always amazed me was that Louie always seemed to know all of his customers by name and the ones he didn't know he'd always greet them with a friendly "how you doin' cuz?"  Everybody was and always is family at Louie's.

Dale Mussen photo
Dale Mussen photo
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Although they have a full menu of items from burgers, chicken, sausage, even a veggie burger, but there are two things that set Louie's apart from other hot dog stands.  Louie's was the first to introduce foot-long hot dogs.  Louie needed something to set his place apart from the other similar stands that had popped up along Sheridan Drive.  So he contracted with Sahlen's to produce a 12-inch hot dog.  What a concept!  Great idea.  It worked.

Original sign from 1951 Louie's (Dale Mussen photo)
Original sign from 1951 Louie's (Dale Mussen photo)
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Another thing that sets Louie's apart is their curley-cue French fries.  Although other restaurants also have them, I don't think any other place has curley-cues better than Louie's.  It's also where I learned to add vinegar to my French fries.  What a treat.

Dale Mussen photo
Dale Mussen photo
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Louie's is where my dad would stop after a round of golf at Sheridan Park.  And to this day it's one of the biggest things he misses about Western New York and he's been living in California for 40 years.

Dale Mussen photo
Dale Mussen photo
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Louie's is another one of those places that makes Buffalo and Western New York so unique.  My dad introduced me to Louie's when I was a kid and I was hooked.  And over all these years the quality and taste I remember from when I was young has never changed.