By Seth Daniel
Vanderlti Rvon makes a mean hot dog, and apparently, thousands of people from the area can attest to that after frequenting his business for nearly four years in the parking lot of the Parkway Cycle.
However, about three weeks ago, the buns stopped toasting as Everett Police shut him down abruptly for not having the proper license to serve his hot dogs to customers at hours as late as 4 a.m. on the weekends.
Though he had a valid license to do business, it appeared that an oversight occurred at City Hall when he opened more than three years ago. Though anyone can operate without special approval up until 11 p.m., any hours beyond that have to be approved by the City Council and Rvon did not know about that requirement – and apparently no one caught the problem until the quiet, yet busy, stand came under police scrutiny recently.
Rvon had been operating his popular Love Dog Hot Dog Buffet hot dog stand, known far and wide for it’s unique and creative Brazilian take on an American tradition, for more than three years until recently.
“They came down three weeks ago (after an incident) and told me to take my stuff and get out of here,” Rvon told the Council Monday night in a one-hour dog-eat-dog discussion. “I asked why. I showed him my license. He said he didn’t care and he wanted me to get my things and get out of here.”
He stressed he has been operating with three security guards and plenty of parking for the large crowds for more than three years – without one issue. He also indicated he has all inspections yearly from the Health Department and the Fire Department.
However, apparently three weeks ago there was an incident in his parking lot where a man urinated on someone and it caused a fight. Rvon’s security addressed the situation, but police were called to the scene.
It was at that time a snafu in the licensing was discovered.
Rvon said he did not know anything about needing Council approval, and apparently no one at the City ever referred Love Dog to the Council for extended hours approval. However, at least one source indicated there might have been prior knowledge as early as last year when the license was questioned, but Rvon or the City took no action.
Love Dog has been operating after closing time in the Parkway Cycle parking lot, with permission, on Wednesday And Thursday from 8-midnight. On Friday and Saturday, he was operating from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. On Sunday, he was operating from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. He is closed on Monday and Tuesday.
Rvon and his wife were at Monday’s meeting trying to codify the hours that they have been operating by getting the extended permit from the Council. However, it wasn’t an easy matter in that many uncertainties had to be addressed, and giving out the license – even though there are several 24-hour brick and mortar restaurants nearby – would set a new precedent.
“Some people have referred to other establishments in the area, but they are inside,” said Councilor Fred Capone, who represents the area. “This is outside in the open air. Things can get out of hand real fast outside. It seems you are operating this well, but we’re setting precedent. If we allow you to do that, then everyone else with a parking lot will come in. There will be 4 a.m. vendors all over the city. If we say yes to you, we have to say yes to everyone.”
Councilors Wayne Matewsky and Peter Napolitano both live very close to the Love Dog and haven’t heard of any problems.
Both were in favor of the proposal, but Napolitano put forth a motion to approve the existing hours, but make Rvon produce his $1 million liability policy and to require at least two security guards after midnight.
“It’s a well run operation and it’s a husband and wife,” Matewsky said. “There’s been no problems after nearly four years. They’ve operated well with the same hours.”
Said Councilor Mike Mangan, “We do have businesses there that are open 24 hours. A few years ago we extended Mike’s Roast Beef to 3 a.m. We have 24-hour businesses down there and they don’t even have security…I personally don’t have a problem with this.”
Councilor Richard Dell Isola agreed.
However, others thought there were some real risks with having an open-air place open so late.
“If this had come before us three years ago when you opened, I would have voted against it,” said Councilor Rosa DiFlorio. “I don’t think we need things open so late.”
In the end, the Council approved the measure 8-3, with Capone, DiFlorio and Leo McKinnon voting against.
Love Dog isn’t a typical hot dog. The dog is put in a bun with things like mashed potatoes, green beans, corn, potato stix and special sauces. Then the bun is pressed in a Panini machine, making a unique delicacy that people apparently drive far distances late at night to eat.
Rvon said he does cater to the late night crowd of folks come from nightclubs and bars.