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An unlikely lunch craze delicacy on a stick—World’s Best Corn Dogs

June 2nd, 2014 Posted in Arts and Life

Story & Photos by Noelle Johansen

LOGAN—The hotdog mustard-yellow truck parked outside a plumbing supply company off Center Street drew a growing line of hungry patrons queued up at its single side window on recent weekday. Everyone wanted one thing: the World’s Best Corn Dog.


A ’dog and a sodee pop, 5 bucks.

With more than 2,000 Facebook fans, word has spread rapidly of where the “Love Truck” will park, fry and sell corn dogs next, from Provo to downtown Salt Lake City to Cache Valley. Owner, founder and “chief dog designer” Russ Relyea said he never expected such success.

“Not in a million years,” he said. “I mean who would have thought corn dogs?”

Become a Facebook friend and find out when the World’s Best Corn Dogs are coming to a street corner near you.

The idea was sparked several years ago while Relyea worked at a restaurant in North Dakota. Then the fair came to town. “There was a lady there with a truck,” Relyea said. “I waited an hour and 10 minutes for this corn dog that she was selling. I took one bite out of it and I was hooked.

“I became a little obsessed with corn dogs after that,” he said.

Relyea stayed in touch with the corn dog woman, and tried every recipe he could find to recreate his North Dakota fair food experience, but with no luck.

“She called me on July 3 at about 7:30 in the morning,” Relyea said. She gave him the recipe and told him, “Do good things.” Two years and one turkey fryer later, Relyea made the leap into the world of corn dogs.

“I’ve had a line ever since,” he said.

Cameron Weston relishes his corn dogs.

Cameron Weston relishes his corn dogs.

In spring 2013, he set up a stand on Antelope Drive in Syracuse, Utah. “I didn’t get a business license, I didn’t get a permit, I just wanted to see what would happen,” he said. “I had that open a couple weeks until the health department came and shut me down.”

But Relyea was just getting started.

“I became good friends with the guy who runs the health department,” he said. “I spent the winter building a cart exactly to his specifications. Kaysville City had to give me a business license, which they did—which kind of blew my mind.”

Cameron Weston, a Utah State master’s student in computer engineering, became a fan after lining up in Kaysville before Relyea’s Love Truck visited Logan. Weston said he hasn’t tasted a better corn dog.

“The honey is definitely a plus,” Weston said of the drizzled honey that is an optional topping on each 8-inch, 100 percent beef delicacy. “It’s something that I’ve never had before, it really brings out the batter, and they fill you up,” which makes $5 (including a can of “sodee’) a fair price, he said.

He doesn’t complain about the 20-minute wait, either.

Freshman nutrition major Aliyah Dominguez was in line for her second World’s Best Corn Dog. The experience is fun, she said, and and “worth the wait because the corn dog is so good.”

When Russ Relyea’s corn dog truck pulls into town, the lines form instantly.

When Russ Relyea’s corn dog truck pulls into town, the lines form instantly.

But the best in the world?

“Yes, actually, I do think it’s the world’s greatest corn dog that I’ve ever had,” she said.

That was Jeffrey Bradshaw’s expectation on his first visit to the yellow truck.

“I expect to be filled,” he said. “I’m expecting the world’s best corn dog because that’s what they claim to be.”

By the look on his face after biting into his first World’s Best Corn Dog, his expectations were met. Smiling with his mouth full, he nodded in approval.

With so many satiated patrons, Relyea can’t seem to fry corn dogs fast enough, and his mobile business continues to grow. By June there will be four World’s Best Corn Dog trucks in Utah, with others in Las Vegas, San Jose, Phoenix and Denver, he said.

For Relyea, it seems corn dogs have been the secret all along.

“The funny thing is my grandfather used to do this 70 years ago,” Relyea said. “He used to have the first Pronto Pup franchise up in Seattle; he did that for 15 years. So corn dogs, I guess you could say, are in my blood.”


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