SOUTHINGTON — Chris Barr’s grandparents started a small grocery store on Center Street which later became Rosie’s Chili Dogs. He’s now restarting the family business as a food truck, Rosie’s Hot Dogs, and hopes to open later this month.
Barr and a partner, Stacey Golub, had been running a doughnut food truck for the past year. They operated it mainly in East Hampton. Barr said. Golub, an equine veterinarian, wanted to scale back her involvement and Barr wanted something closer to Southington.
Barr will keep the food truck at Showcase Auto & Recovery, 270 Center St., which he owns.
Restarting the family eatery was something that Chris Barr and his brother Mike Barr have wanted to do for years. The food truck will feature his family’s signature dish, chili dogs.
“The chili is what brings everybody in,” he said. “It’s a recipe that’s been in the family for years. Nobody’s got it but us.”Rosie’s favorites
Chris Barr said the idea of selling food came about when his grandmother was cooking for her family at the grocery store. Customers smelling the food asked if they could buy her meatball grinders. The grocery store became a deli and later Rosie’s Chili Dogs when Chris Barr’s mother took it over.
Chris Barr said he’s also planning other offerings and some seasonal items, such as soups in the winter.
“We’re going to do hot dogs, steamed cheeseburgers, kielbasa sandwiches, fries, onion rings,” he said.
Word has already gotten out about the reopening of Rosie’s.
“I’ve had everybody in the world contact me,” Chris Barr said.Readying the truck
Chris Barr put a new logo on the pink doughnut truck and is working to get final approvals to begin selling food. He used the Rosie’s logo from the 1970s with some modern features.
“I want people to remember what it was,” he said.
He got approval from the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals earlier this month to have the food truck on his property.
Town officials consider a food truck that doesn’t move a restaurant, subjecting it to all the same regulations as a brick-and-mortar establishment.
As part of the food truck approval, the zoning appeals board said Chris Barr must move his truck every night. Since he owns the property, he only needs to move it to another spot at the same location.
Town leaders are considering changes to the food truck regulations.
Theresa Malloy, owner of Paul Gregory’s on Center Street, said the new Rosie’s could do well and is close to the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail.
“That would be a draw for coming off the trail,” Malloy said.Doughnut shop
Chris Barr bought the building next door to his 270 Center St. location and hopes to turn it into a doughnut shop. He’s focused on Rosie’s for the moment but would like to try to get it up and running for the fall.
Chris Barr said he’s gotten great reviews from customers who’ve compared his doughnuts favorably with popular area spots.
“Our Boston cream doughnut was almost a pound,” he said.