Man living his dream selling Rochester’s favorite hot dog on Northlake

Updated Jan 11, 2018
Tom Carlisi, of The Acreage, sells Zweigle’s hot dogs from a landscaping equipment trailer he converted into a “Rochester Hots” food truck when he retired. He realized the only way to get his hometown hot dogs in South Florida was to have them shipped here himself. Weather-permitting, he parks his truck in an unincorporated pocket on the west end of Northlake Boulevard, past Ibis and the Sandhill Crane Golf Club, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. (Sarah Peters/The Palm Beach Post)

Tom Carlisi’s food truck is somewhat of an oddity, parked in front of undeveloped property on Northlake Boulevard west of Ibis and the Sandhill Crane Golf Club.

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The offerings of the “Rochester Hots” truck include boiled peanuts, Cuban coffee, jams and raw honey, but the big draw is the Zweigle’s hot dogs — a Rochester, N.Y., delicacy, he said.

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“This was my dream, to retire and sell hot dogs — Zweigle’s hot dogs,” Carlisi said in the shelter of his truck on a dreary Monday afternoon. “Someone from Rochester, N.Y., finding out they can get these here — it’s like winning the lottery.”

He has all the sauces from Rochester, too, he said. Carlisi, who lives in The Acreage, followed his parents to Palm Beach County in 1988 and realized the only way he could get his hometown hot dogs here was by shipping them to himself.

He started selling them off-and-on at green markets five years ago. Then he retired from his landscaping business and converted his equipment trailer into a food truck.

It protects him from the weather, although he also has a rain suit, and the cars whizzing by at 55 mph.

He had 600 pounds of hot dogs shipped to him on a refrigerated truck in October and is about ready to order more. He sells them for $8 in a sealed package or $3.50 individually, cooked to go. He heats the hot dogs and sausages on a propane grill behind the truck.

(Full disclosure: I’ve waxed poetic about hot dogs in the past, but I didn’t try these. I had already eaten lunch for the day.)

When Carlisi boasts of the raw honey he sells “right out of the bucket,” he’s talking literally. Buckets filled with honey from local bees are lined up behind his truck. You can take your pick from bees that pollinate on honey bell orange, lychee and saw palmetto trees or wildflowers, respectively, he said.

The flavor of the honey is determined by what flowers the bees draw nectar from. Carlisi gets the honey from a beekeeper who’s been at it for 60 years, he said.

“He’s the best at what he does,” Carlisi said.

Honey is said to have a variety of benefits, allergy relief among them. Carlisi, whose beekeeper is in the Loxahatchee/Acreage area, said to get protection from the local allergies, you have to buy the local honey. He dispenses sells it in containers as small as 4 oz. ($5) or as large as a quart ($27). If you bring your own mason jar, he takes $1 off.

Weather-permitting, you can find Carlisi in his parking spot in a Palm Beach County pocket (Palm Beach Gardens forbids food trucks in public rights-of-way) 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.