Best Hot Dog Vendor

Emmanuel Tsolakis

He's been on the corner of West Third and St. Clair since 1986, but Emmanuel Tsolakis never seems bored with his job. Occasionally, Tsolakis admits, he does feel hot-dog overload, but he never gets tired of his customers. "The job is something I have to do," he says. "I enjoy the people." At the same time, the Athens-born vendor will call out a greeting in his thick accent, start a conversation, and serve up his $1.25 treats. He knows most of the neighborhood by sight, and while he occasionally screws up the details -- "You're a lawyer, right? Oh, an architect, OK" -- his busy downtown customers appreciate the attempt. Ninety-five percent of the time, Tsolakis says, they're friendly right back. The rest he discounts, without malice. "Sometimes they just don't have the time."