Final Days of Rosco's Big Dog

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John Fox
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2008/12/27 19:42:12 (permalink)

Final Days of Rosco's Big Dog

The following is an e-mail that I received from Ron Reisner, owner of Rosco's Big Dog. He gave me permission to post it here.
 
Dear faithful patrons, colleagues and friends,
 
Rosco’s Big Dog will be closing on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2008, at 7PM.
 
We have built a strong following and great critical acclaim over the past years, but due to the current economic climate, can no longer continue to operate at a financial loss.
 
We hope you will keep in touch and remember Rosco’s Big Dog. Hopefully, there will a possibility to try again in the near future.

I am currently seeking employment for myself and my staff during this difficult time. They will remain with me until we close.
0A
Our hours will be Friday (Today), December 26th until 7PM, Saturday (12/27) from 11 - 3, Monday (12/29) from 11 - 7, Tuesday (12/30) from 11 - 3 and our last day, Wednesday (12/31) from 11 - 7. We hope you stop by one final time so we can say goodbye in person.
 

Thank you for your support.
 
Ron
 
Email: Roscosbigdog@aol.com

 
This is most unfortunate. As I mentioned in another thread, it's a shame that some places serving quality food end up closing, while those with mediocre food thrive. I've been to Rosco's on a trip to Connecticut. Out of a dozen or so places I've been to in that hot dog loving state, Rosco's is my favorite. In fact, about 4 years ago the Sterns did a top 10 hot dog thread (I believe it's title is America's Best Hot Dogs). I made my own list and put Rosco's at the top. They serve the best beef and pork dog I've had. I named them best beef and pork dog and Syd's best all beef dog. Roadfood member longdog has a restaurant review on this site as does someone else I believe. I'll have to check.
 
Even before he opened, Ron contacted me via e-mail. He was looking for input on a top quality hot dog to serve. He and a bunch of people he assembled settled on Thumann's after tasting a number of brands. He was given exclusive rights to serve Thumann's in his area. At Rosco's you had a choice of a 6 to a lb dog or a quarter pounder. The dogs were prepared perfectly on a griddle. The roll was a new England style bun that was toasted.  Ron also made a bunch of homemade toppings and condiments. His restaurant was Connecticut's answer to Amazing Hot Dog in terms of toppings offerred. The restaurant was (is) clean, service was excellent, and the owner (Ron) is enthusiastic and knowledgeable about hot dogs. As is my custom, I had a dog with just mustard, and sampled the toppings on the side. I had part of a chili slaw dog, which was excellent. Very good chili, and the best cole slaw I've had at a hot dog joint. Everything else was very good as well. If you like the relish at Blackies, you'll love Rosco's, though it was a little spicy for my taste.
 
Bratwurst is also on the menu as well as a steamed hamburger, which is a Connecticut specialty. Ron later added a quality kosher dog to the menu from Empire National. Rosco's has won many awards for Best Hot Dog. They always win the Hartford Courant's best hot dog. They also won "best new restaurant", I believe. They were picked as one of the 10 best hot dog restaurants by the Ellen DeGeneres show. More importantly, they were loved by members of our Roadfood family. I would urge anyone near the area to make a final visit before they close. I might even make the trip myself.
 
I sincerely hope that Rosco's opens again one day. I promised Ron that if it does, I will make the trip up to Connecticut for the Grand Reopening. Out of at least 200 hot dog joints I've visited, Rosco's easily makes the top 5. More like top 3. I'm sorry to see them go.
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    ayersian
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    Re:Final Days of Rosco's Big Dog 2008/12/27 20:32:12 (permalink)
    John, thank you so much for this post.  I share your sentiments and rank Rosco's as my favorite in CT.  I am saddened to see them go, and I wonder if the demise had anything to do with the high rent he was paying in the new location.

    In any case, hopefully I'll be able to visit on the last day to bid him farewell -- and if I do, I'll write an article for RFDigest.  More to come...  Chris
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    Russ Jackson
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    Re:Final Days of Rosco's Big Dog 2008/12/27 20:52:44 (permalink)
    Looked like a very nice place. Sad to see ot close. Was it the high rent or the location? I also noticed he was only open 4 hours a day. It just goes to show that we all must start patronizing these great family owned places instead of going to  the fast food chains. They will survive and quality ones will continue to fail leaving us without choices...Russ 
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    mar52
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    Re:Final Days of Rosco's Big Dog 2008/12/27 22:44:32 (permalink)
    It's horrible seeing anyone close due to the economy.

    Specially when they have a good product and following.

    Good luck to all involved.
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    John Fox
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    Re:Final Days of Rosco's Big Dog 2008/12/28 10:40:53 (permalink)
    I'm hoping that things will get better with respect to the economy and that Ron will be able to open again. Maybe in a better location and with an affordable rent. He served great food and truly enjoyed what he was doing.
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    PopsDogHouse
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    Re:Final Days of Rosco's Big Dog 2008/12/28 12:22:47 (permalink)
    What a shame!  EVERYBODY loses. Hopefully Ron will have another opportunity to give 'er a go.   Here's a link to their website.

    http://www.roscosbigdog.com/
    post edited by PopsDogHouse - 2008/12/28 12:24:37
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    ayersian
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    Re:Final Days of Rosco's Big Dog 2009/01/01 23:00:46 (permalink)
    John Fox, thank you again for posting this news of Rosco's last days.  I did make it there on the final day and wrote an article for RFDigest on it here. Though I'd never introduced myself to him, Ron recognized me as soon as I walked in the door and said, "The last time you & Amy were here, you sat in this booth with Walt!" Waltpiii, I hope you made it to Rosco's for your final frankfurter!

    Ron sat down with me while I was eating and told me lots of tales of the biz.  His first, however, was one that named you -- even before he opened his place, he said that he'd contacted you and asked your advice on all things hot dogs.  "John Fox knows everything about hot dogs!" he said. "The NY Times wrote an article on him, ya know."

    I didn't know that, but sure enough after a quick Google search, I found it.  Maybe this was posted in a previous forum, but John's article in the Times is here. John, he spoke very highly of you and trusted your opinion immensely. He gave special thanks to the entire Roadfood community for our continued support and well-wishes. Let's hope that Ron returns to the hot dog business very soon!    Chris
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    John Fox
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    Re:Final Days of Rosco's Big Dog 2009/01/02 09:57:03 (permalink)
    Thanks for the RFDigest article Chris. Sorry to see Rosco's go and I also hope that Ron returns to the hot dog business soon. I know it is a risk and entails a lot of hard work, but I think Ron can be succesful again. A lot depends on location, and as we've seen, the state of the economy. It's a given that the food will be extraordinary.
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    brisketboy
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    Re:Final Days of Rosco's Big Dog 2009/01/02 11:28:49 (permalink)
    I've never been but to read some of the praise for this place it pisses me off that quality places close doors and crap places like Quisnos stay around.  It seems as though everybody's descretional income is staying in their wallets. My nephiew is a waiter in the Pheonix area and he' sees hard times ahead for the food service industry. Lets hope things go better this year.
    #9
    John Fox
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    Re:Final Days of Rosco's Big Dog 2009/01/03 07:55:02 (permalink)
    Here is an article that appeared in the Hartford Courant.

    http://www.courant.com/entertainment/dining/hcu-roscoscloses-0102,0,4786748.story
    #10
    Charles1
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    Re:Final Days of Rosco's Big Dog 2009/01/07 15:04:23 (permalink)
    brisketboy

    I've never been but to read some of the praise for this place it pisses me off that quality places close doors and crap places like Quisnos stay around.  It seems as though everybody's descretional income is staying in their wallets. My nephiew is a waiter in the Pheonix area and he' sees hard times ahead for the food service industry. Lets hope things go better this year.


    Well, if this were all true it would certainly be sad.  You and I can certainly agree on Quisnos though!
     
    I stopped in at Rosco's three times while they were here.  The first time I got a hamburger and a hot dog fixed the way I liked.  The hamburger was steamed... It was certainly the last time I ever ate a steamed burger.  The hot dog was ok, as far as dogs go.
     
    The place was only open 4 hours a day.  This pretty much limits the ability of people to grab a meal.  I, as many may do, don't always simply stop at noon to get lunch, we are busy.  So, we go to the places that are open.  I said I went there three times.  The second time I got a dog and some fires, too expensive.  The third I ordered a dog a and a small salad. $14 plus!  They said they made a mistake and gave me the large salad (sure didn't look it to me) and had already charged my card.  I just thanked them and never returned.
    I can't count the number of people that went there and never went back for any number of reasons, including being treated poorly.
    The other family owned restaurants in the area are doing fine.  If you serve decent food at reasonable prices with good friendly service you will likely do well.  Just look at the Thai kitchen right next to Rosco's.  They can barely keep up with business.
     
    I feel very badly that they had to close but if they want to continue to pretend it was the economy then they will never learn the lesson needed.  They moved here from another location because they could not make it there either. 
     
    I certainly wish them all the best of luck.
     
     
    post edited by Charles1 - 2009/01/07 15:08:50
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