Yo, Bremerton – It’s a Dog Gone Shame

Fans of Uptown Mike’s hot dog stand – formerly located on the Bremerton Boardwalk — take note. Mike Lipson, a.k.a. Uptown Mike, has relocated his business to Port Orchard, specifically the front terrace of the Kitsap County Administration Building at 619 Division Street.
Hot dogs and government? Well you know what they say about making sausage.

Uptown Mikes 1
Uptown Mikes 1

“It’s something I always thought would be a natural,” said Lipson. “In other cities, street vending by government buildings is like peanut butter and jelly.”
Lipson said on his first day, “I was slammed.”
Apparently Kitsap legislators have a greater appetite for hot dogs than Bremerton boaters.
“There was not enough traffic there to support the business,” said Lipson, explaining his move from the boardwalk.
Lipson, a Port Orchard resident five years and counting, formerly operated his stand on the Port Orchard waterfront and added the Bremerton location about two years ago. Now, he’s open at the courthouse 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and at Ace Hardware in Port Orchard’s Towne Center Mall Thursday through Sunday.
Getting a hot dog at Uptown Mike’s is as much about the experience as it is the food.
Lipson, born in Brooklyn, raised in Queens, slathers on the accent – only slightly diluted by 30 years away from the Big Apple – like an extra serving of grilled onions. He sings the praises of his product with characteristic NYC hyperbole.
“You go from baby food to hot dogs. It’s on every street corner,” he said.
Lipson serves genuine Sabrett frankfurters, “the official hot dog of New York City.” That may not mean much to the general public. But to former New Yorkers like Steve Krecker, it’s the gold standard.
“Sabrett hot dogs, as far as I’m concerned, are the best hot dogs on the planet. It’s nice to be able to get them,” said Krecker, his own accent thickening with every bite.
Uptown Mike's 2
Uptown Mike's 2

Krecker has dogged Updown Mike from one location to another.
“Steve’s one of the anchors of the business. He grew up back east. He knows the food,” said Lipson.
OK, so what’s the big deal about Sabrett? As someone who also grew up back east, I can say from experience, there are hot dogs and then there’s Sabrett.
As I remember them, “real” New York hot dogs are plump but not spongy, with a slightly crunchy skin. Smother them with sauerkraut or tangy grilled onions in red sauce, inhale the spicy aroma (mixed with the damp cellar smell wafting out of the subway) and chomp down. Ahhh.
Theoretically all that would be missing here is the subway.
Alas, when I arrived for my meeting with the county commissioners this week, I had just eaten lunch, so I have yet to find out if Uptown Mike’s lives up to my memories.
Bremerton Beat blogger Steve Gardner, who sampled Lipson’s wares in 2007 in Port Orchard, declined to pick a favorite out of Uptown’s — then planning to locate in Bremerton — and two other Bremerton hot dog stands. Gardner recently drove out of his way to see what Snap Dogs Diner, open this year on Lund Avenue in Port Orchard, had to offer. Gardner’s obviously never met a dog he didn’t like.
So, Steve (and Bremerton) eat your heart out. At least you’ll have a good reason to look forward to those commissioners’ meetings.

8 thoughts on “Yo, Bremerton – It’s a Dog Gone Shame

  1. Happened to be in the area this morning and stopped by for a Sabrett and a soda. The Sabrett dog was melt-in-your-mouth good. The bun could have been bigger and better (to better hold in the saurkraut, relish, mustard, and ketchup).

    A worthy lunch for $5.

    Kathryn Simpson

  2. Thanks for the input on the bun. Bread is a challenge around here! I am glad you liked the product, it has certainly come along way for you to enjoy! Many thanks for all of the great feedback I have gotten in person. It is my goal to provide the absolute best street food experience in Kitsap county

  3. Fear not Chris, there will never be a veggie dog at my stand. No offense to vegetarians of course, but they just taste horrible and do not hold up to steam and hot water. Tease me as you like, but this is a meat cart true and true!

  4. Not to bring down a feel-good story with reference to our ongoing discussion about the Port (and City) of Bremerton’s multiple fiascos but…

    “There was not enough traffic there to support the business,” said Lipson, explaining his move from the boardwalk”

    Soooo… the marina, the government center, the park, the tunnel… all the downtown renewal and…

    it still hasn’t brought enough traffic TO SUPPORT A HOTDOG CART!!!

  5. Not to worry Chris and Uptown Mike: I haven’t had a hot dog for over 30 years and even then it wasn’t enjoyable. There is zero interest on my part in a vegetarian version. Besides, I’m quite picky about where I eat. Stands and carts are simply not my thing.

    However, a good-natured teasing for its own sake? That I can most certainly manage. Stay tuned.

  6. With regard to Blue Light, the marina opened up to roughly 30% of its capacity In in short it was mostly empty and from what I understand remains that way. It gets very active when there is an event such as the grand opening. The tunnel project literally put many businesses under during the course of its construction as it restricted flow downtown. The park is lovely but indeed was not “buzzing” with activity for the last two years as construction scared people away and there is a parking issue in downtown Bremerton. The downtown renewal? It is years away from being any kind of viable downtown. When and if it is done, I am sure the city of Bremerton will court every deep pocket chain that will give them their attention. Independent business has no future in downtown Bremerton. The dozen or so days throughout the year that are viable, in no way makes up for the 350 plus days that are not. For the record, a “HOT DOG CART” is a very viable high profit business.

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