Downtown Orlando was a very different place in 1999, says Shaun Noonan, who was about 19 when he moved to the City Beautiful.
“I didn’t go drinking,” he says. “I would go with vegan hot dogs.”
He and his friends would most commonly find it outside of a punk rock head shop, Noonan says, where customers could buy band shirts, incense, and the like.
“It was where the courtesy is now, run by a guy who descended from Tofu John,” he recalls. “He posted his dogs out there and we all got a hot dog and then walked around the block to Harold & Maude’s for Tater Tots, coffee and Scrabble.”
The wagon would go through several owners, including Kelly Shockley, who would go on to found Ethos Vegan Kitchen, but Little did Noonan know that many moons later, he would become his torchbearer.
“It’s been a privilege,” says Noonan, the man behind a burgeoning vegan empire that includes Market on South and Dixie Dharma. He still uses the same brand of Loma Linda that the wagon started with, but with an internal treatment that makes it that of the wagon.
“I treat all plant-based ‘meats’ like any other meat,” says Noonan. “It is a raw product that needs to be seasoned. We do it all ourselves, giving him love that is our own. This is very important to me.”
This also includes special marinades for the vegan bratwurst, as well as the Impossible Burger, which they have added to a menu that continues to expand.
“We have burgers, cheeseburgers, tots, loaded tots,” says Noonan. “We’ll make our own baked onion rings, chili, and fried pickles while we get our bearings. At some point there will also be desserts.”
Current hours are 4pm to 2:45am Wednesday to Sunday, but plans to expand are in the works.
By the way, you can bring your family with you. The Sly Fox Pub is a licensed restaurant, says Noonan. “But at 1:45 I wouldn’t recommend that.” The menu will also be available on UberEats, allowing customers to opt for delivery.
The Vegan Hot Dog Cart is a staple for bands visiting Orlando on tour, says Noonan,
“People were playing Sapphire Supper Club and later The Social and they would come across the street for a dog,” Noonan recalls.
The float is still around, he notes, but will be limited to events.
Would you like to get in touch? Find me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram @amydroo or on the OSFoodie Instagram account @orlando.foodie. E-mail: [email protected]. Join the for more fun Let’s Eat, Orlando Facebook Group or follow @fun.things.orlando Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.