A man and his dog
Bob Corbett and his wife, Karen, own and operate Corbett’s food cart in Hot Springs Village. On many days of the week, barring inclement weather or another gig, Bob has his cart parked at the Cordoba Center, located at the Hot Springs Village West Gate. Bob has many valued and loyal customers that stop by from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM to enjoy an authentic Chicago dog with all the fixings. Bob can usually be found preparing the delicious Chicago dogs and other meats with a big smile on his face and a friendly greeting to all. Karen helps at home or fills in when needed on the cart.
A long time ago
Living in Chicago for 50 years, Bob was a career Iron Worker out of Local #1 for 35 years. After retiring, Bob and his wife Karen moved to Lee’s Summit, Missouri where they made their home for 20 years. Relocating to Lake of the Ozarks for three years, Bob and Karen then choose Hot Springs Village as their home three years ago.
Originally Bob came up with the idea of running a hot dog cart business when living in Lee’s Summit. A friend told him that his wife loved hot dogs. Bob traveled to Chicago, purchasing some Chicago dogs and sliced Italian beef. The friends loved the food so much that they encouraged Bob to open a hot dog business. Bob purchased his cart from California, eventually expanding the business to three carts. Bob said he could have had ten carts, but Karen would have no part of that. They were busy enough with three.
Bob explained, that when in Missouri, “we were asked to come to all the surrounding states to sell my dogs at events. We even did the food for the largest expo center in Kansas City for many years. All with carts. We did many car dealers also, making a lot of money at the dealerships. We would even do little girls’ birthday parties in their back yards. It was all so much fun.”
The business of a hot dog cart
“I sell genuine Chicago dogs and Polish sausage plus grilled Italian sausage every day. On Saturday only, I sell sliced Italian beef sandwiches. I always have drinks and chips. I have all the condiments you could want. Everything that goes on a Chicago dog plus ketchup and kraut,” detailed Bob. Bob says his hot dogs, Polish sausage, and Italian beef are the best Chicago has to offer. “I have them shipped down from Chicago. Even my buns and pickles and sport peppers are from Chicago. I advertise a Chicago hot dog cart and I try to make it as ‘Chicago’ as I can.”
Bob attaches his cart which has a trailer hitch to his vehicle and pulls it to the location every day. “I hook it up and it follows me where ever I go. I have pulled it from state to state with never a problem. Best cart I could have bought.”
Bob believes in helping others and has a tip jar on the cart. “I love to give as much away as I can for those in need. Even dog rescues. Local or people across the world. There was a two-year-old who got hurt in the Village. The people in the Village gave her two thousand dollars. Very kind people and they know the money they put in the tip jar will help others,” enthused Bob.
Positives and negatives
When asked what he most enjoyed about his hot dog cart career he said, “By far the people! I love people and love talking to them while I am selling the best dogs. My wife tells me ‘you love that job.’ To me, it is not a job but a ministry to people that I can come in contact with. Oh yes, I love it. I can’t wait to go out every morning I can with the cart.”
Bob said his number one challenge with the business is dealing with a few nasty people. “They have almost wrecked my business stirring up trouble with the owners of the parking lot where I had my cart. They scared the owners so bad they had to tell me to move. It has taken a while to let people see where my new spot is. I never met them but because they were so nasty to others, it cost me dearly.”
Bob’s number one passion in life is sharing Christ and His Word with people. Bob said, “I think it is the most important thing I can do with my life. Jesus is so worthy. On January 10, 1980, he saved my wretched life and made me a new person on my way to heaven. I love sharing how people can have all their sins forgiven through faith in Jesus Christ.”
Bob’s favorite Bible verses are Ephesians 2: 8, 9 which say, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works so that no one can boast.”
All good things must come to an end
Now we come to the sad part of the story. This is not sad for Bob and Karen, but it will be for many loyal Village customers. Bob will be selling his business which includes his cart and also his Hot Springs Village home and moving back to Lee’s Summit, Missouri. Bob stated, “all our old friends are there and our church, etc. We feel we need to sell our house and make the money off it and live off that while we can.”
All carts are not created equal
Bob has this to say about his hotdog cart, “My cart is 19 years old. It has been rebuilt a couple of times due to weather issues. It is as good as new. I believe the name of the company that sold them was called Street Sweets. It has gone out of business since I bought the cart in 2003. The cart is only about 2 1/2 feet wide and about 8 feet long. I have a battery solar-powered hand washing sink. It runs on propane which is great so I don’t need electricity. Vendors love it because they can put me anywhere. Others always need electricity so they are stuck having to be near the electrical outlets. I think it is the best cart I could have bought at the time. It is designed to be so easy to use and pump out tons of food. I can serve food with that cart and never run out. It is the best cart I know of.”
If anyone is interested in buying Bob’s business which includes his cart, please contact Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When faced with adversity, Bob always says, “This too shall pass, it may pass like a gall stone but it will pass.”
By Cheryl Dowden, HSV People, March 18, 2022
Photography by Joe Dowden
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