(KATV) In January, Michael Juiliano, AKA, Hot Dog Mike, announced he was leaving Arkansas to help a family member in New Jersey. He says the matter has been "happily resolved" and he has returned to Little Rock with a big vision.
The new company will be a multi-cart operation. Juiliano says it will continue to be about community, "Whether it is fund raisers, helping the homeless, or simply cleaning a stretch of highway, the Hot Dog Mike organization will be there."
Juiliano is also developing his own brand of Hot Dog Mike hot dogs and products that will be available at local grocers, with a portion of the proceeds going back into the community.
"This model of philanthropy has been on my heart for a long time," Juiliano said. "It's something I'm glad I was able to do in the past, on a small level, as an individual. So it got me thinking, 'What if I could clone myself?'
"And so an idea started to take shape," he said. "What if there were 15, 25, or even more Hot Dog Mike hot dog carts out in Little Rock and the surrounding communities?"
While he is organizing the structure of his new company and developing new recipes, Juiliano will be based out of NYPD Pizza at 6015 Chenonceau Blvd., off Highway 10 in west Little Rock, where owner Ron Logan will be assisting with the Hot Dog Mike Phase II project. Logan, a former executive at a Fortune 500 company, and his partner Susan Biemans have owned NYPD Pizza for three years, and Logan is experienced with start-ups.
"Hot Dog Mike has created a significant brand in Little Rock," Logan said. "We are looking to add 50-plus jobs to Little Rock as well as creating a brand new way of delivering community service. He wants to leverage his brand to contribute in a more significant way. This is very exciting."
"I look forward to this new chapter in the life of Hot Dog Mike in this community that has given me so much," said Juiliano, "and I'm going to be giving back until it hurts."
Juiliano will be at NYPD Pizza on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday nights. Although not serving his usual hot dogs, he'll be developing a signature Hot Dog Mike pizza and looks forward to saying hello again to all of his friends.
FB: Hot Dog Mike