New Street in Bethlehem is now home to daily made smoked hot dogs and other local treats. Johnnie Lustig's Frankfurters may be new to Bethlehem, but owner John Lustig Jr is no stranger to hot dogs.
For over 35 years, Mr. Lustig, Jr. had helped his father John Lustig Sr. run Lustig Meats, a Quakertown meat packing company. In 2003 the Lustig family sold the business, and Mr. Lustig Jr. started work as a health inspector for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Over his 12 year USDA career, Mr. Lustig’s passion for his family business never faded. He decided to open his own restaurant and sought help from the Lehigh University SBDC.
Lehigh University SBDC counselors helped Mr. Lustig develop his business plan, marketing strategy, and loan proposal. Completing a marketing plan helped Mr. Lustig better define his target market and better understand his local competitors. Mr. Lustig also learned the importance of using social media to reach his target customers.
Following several conversations and business plan drafts, Mr. Lustig obtained financing through ESSA Bank and the City of Bethlehem. Johnnie Lustig's Frankfurters opened on January 23, 2016, with a ribbon cutting on April 5, 2016.
The cash-only establishment is open six days a week to serve hot dogs, chorizo (Spanish sausage),and roast beef with all the traditional toppings. All the meat products are made on premise every morning before the store opens. This cooking process does not require any preservative or nitrites, and the hot dogs are stored in the smoke house until a customer places an order.
Johnnie Lustig's Frankfurters also supports other Lehigh Valley businesses. Mr. Lustig uses Lusitania Bakery rolls, sells Herr’s potato chips, and A-Treat beverages. The $4 lunch was created to better serve customers and remain competitive. The company now successfully uses Facebook to run promotions, announce special events, and drive business sales.