May 9 is the final night for hot dog stand Samson's, which will shut down its branch on Oak Lawn Avenue. But the signature hot dogs of chef-owner Troy Gardner won't be going away entirely. He says he'll doing them with a different approach.
"We're closing the Oak Lawn location and going totally mobile," Gardner says. "We're currently booking catered lunches, food truck events, and weddings."
Gardner has a lot on his plate, including V-Eats, his new vegan restaurant. Responding to a fan inquiry on Facebook, he said, "It's sad to leave behind something that I put so much love and energy into, but I don't want the Oak Lawn store to suffer from my lack of attention, so just doing the mobile operation makes sense."
Gardner opened the stand on Oak Lawn in 2013, with a menu of gourmet hot dogs and a casual atmosphere. With numerous vegan and vegetarian options, he quickly became a darling of the vegan crowd, which in no small part helped him survive. There were also overflow diners from Pekers, the karaoke-happy bar a few doors down.
At a Christmas event, Gardner said that the Oak Lawn location was amazingly convenient, but that the Samson's space has always been challenged by its lack of visibility, with almost zero drive-by traffic.
This weekend marks the final days of instant availability for fans of the veggie dog, Debbie's Dallas dog, the Chicago dog, and Smoker's Delight, not to mention Gardner's burgers and Frito pie.
"The last bash to grab our goodies on Oak Lawn will be Monday from 11 am to 10 pm," Gardner says. "It'll be Chef Mystery Dogs, Chef Mystery Drinks, and Chef Hugs for the Masses."