"Got Hot Dogs, Will Travel" might well be the motto of a new business being launched by resident Jeff Rice.
Described as a mobile "hot dog wagon," Mighty Dawg proposes to go where no Plainfield frankfurter seller has gone before: To businesses that have no onsite food vendor, to public events that have no concession stand, and to any village location where people are hungry and food is scarce.
And just as it did last year with another novel mobile food business concept, , the Plainfield Village Board is willing to give Rice a chance. On Monday night, trustees approved the traveling hot dog cart by a 4-2 vote.
Rice said his goal is not to compete with other storefront businesses but to fill a void in locations where quick, simple food is desired but not available.
"Wherever I set up for the day, I'll be there for three or four hours," Rice said.
That could be in the parking lot of a big-box store, at a park-based sporting event or on the grounds of a large private employer, such as Diageo, he said.
His fare will not only include the traditional Chicago red hot but specialty dogs, including a BBQ Pulled Pork Dawg, a Mac 'n' Cheese Dawg and a Southwest Chili Dawg. He'll also sell chips, soft drinks and water, he said.
Just as similar food vendors do in Chicago, he'll get the word out about his location for the day by posting the information on his Facebook page and Tweeting followers, Rice said.
"People can have a little bit of fun with it," he said. "I want to offer a little something different in the area, just another choice."
Rice has extensive experience in the food business, including experience as an executive chef and caterer and a culinary arts degree. He has Illinois certification for sanitation and nutrition, he said.
Rice will register as a village business and will collect sales tax that will be paid into village coffers. The hot dog wagon will be pulled by a pickup truck, and will feature propane tanks for cooking and coolers to keep meat and other perishable items cold. The Will County Health Department approval for his operation is required.
Board reaction ranged from wholehearted support to skepticism to fear that approval could open the door to slew of other food entrepreneurs wanting to do the same thing.
Trustee Jim Racich, who joined Trustee Bill Lamb in voting against the proposal, said he could envision a "proliferation" of business proposals from people wanting to sell everything from ice cream to tacos.
Lamb questioned why Rice was choosing to do a mobile business rather than going with a traditional storefront operation. Rice responded that his decision was economic: He can't afford to open a fast-food restaurant.
But Rice also had one strong supporter in Trustee Paul Fay, who said he was impressed by the entrepreneur's detailed business plan.
"Mr. Rice, I applaud you for putting together a very creative proposal here this evening," Fay said.