In its near-decade of existence, Fred's Franks has built a following that extends throughout the area, with a high-visibility location heading into Wakefield from the Route 128 rotary.
However, on Monday, the owner of Fred's Franks, Carl Galasso, told Wakefield Patch that the business is currently facing some considerable uncertainty. Earlier in the day, he reported receiving a visit from a man identifying himself as a representative of a state agency who told him he would not be able to continue operating the hot dog stand on the site because it is on a state-owned highway right of way. Failure to move the stand could result in daily fines, Galasso said he was told.
Galasso acknowledged that he did not recall exactly which state agency this individual was from, and he said that somebody had apparently recently brought the location of his business to the state's attention. However, until he receives a formal letter from the state, Galasso expects he will keep his hot dog enterprise in its current location. A while back, he recalled that a woman came by and said that she had obtained permission to set up a mobile pizza oven next to his operation, but then she never came back. Galasso said he would have welcomed the business and thinks that there's room for even more vendors on the current patch of land.
"I told them, I pick up all the trash here, the crime rate in the park here has dropped tremendously, and we have a good product," said Galasso. "People love our food. How are you going to take that away from them?"
Fortunately, one potential solution could be for the hot dog enterprise to try to simply move over on to town land that begins only about 30 feet away from its present location. Galasso said that this idea was actually floated by the state worker himself. However, Galasso has reservations about trying to set up in a more high-visibility location on the grassy area closer to Lake Quannapowitt, saying that "I don't want to be an eyesore."
Galasso bought the seasonal hot dog business from its original owner Fred Rex in November, 2010. Rex had been at the site for about seven years before selling the business. "I kept the name - it's a good brand," said Galasso, who typically closes down for the year around Thanksgiving and then returns for a new season around March. One of the few changes he made at the time he bought the business was to add sausage, as well as linguica, chourico, and kielbasa. The flame-grilled hot dogs come with traditional toppings but also some intriguing unique ones such as a Sri Racha (Thai hot sauce)/ketchup blend and a habanero flavored mayonnaise.
"If they can stimulate the economy by letting me utilize a dead space, why not?" said Galasso. "Until I get that letter I think I'm going to come back here."
An update will be provided in the coming days on Wakefield Patch.