Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Local businessman serves up hot topics

By Zach Anderson, Brent Manuel and Jamie Ray


Who knows hot better than the Hot Dog Guy?

In the midday heat of downtown Phoenix, Joe Grant, aka “Big Daddy,” does business on the corner of East Taylor Street and North Second Street weekdays 11-2 p.m.

Regardless, this businessman, who is a former Chicago resident, had quite a lot to say on a number of “hot” topics.

Arizona State University students often interview Grant.

Steve Elliott, professor of practice at Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication said Grant, given his close proximity to campus, was a common interview subject—making him a “hot topic” in and of himself.

A transplant from northern climates, Grant said he likes Arizona and shrugs off the heat because it is better than dealing with “seventeen below in Chicago.”

“You sit here and that little breeze comes along, and it kind of justifies things for a couple seconds until the next breeze,” Grant said. “And I love Arizona. It’s a great place to live.”

Grant not only offers Nathan’s hot dogs (imported from the Empire State), chips and soft drinks for $3.86, but he also invites customers to share the shade of his canopy.

To those customers who take Grant up on his offer, he also discusses hot-button issues. Grant’s views on the ethics and manners of old Chicago gangsters, gun carry laws in Arizona, the immigration debate, race relations, perceived media bias and, on a practical note, the proper method of water purification, were all included free of charge.


Set up on a corner in downtown Phoenix, vendor Joe Grant braves the heat to sell a hot dog, chips and a drink for $3.86. (Photo by Zach Anderson)

Vendor Joe Grant invites a customer into the shade to discuss current issues. (Photo by Zach Anderson)


  1. FYI: The customer in the blue shirt and tie bantered with Mr. Grant, called him "Sal" and insinuated that he was in Witness Protection!

    Zach Anderson
    Indian River HS - Philadelphia, NY

  2. I loved that you were able to take a subject who had been covered many times before and present a unique and interesting person in his environment. Great video!

  3. What a great video and a great story about a wonderful character. You did a fantastic job of telling the unique story of Big Daddy and used the techniques that Brian talked about well.

    Laura Schwinn
    Emporia, Kan.