Old Fashion Hot Dogs (1928 – 2020)
Emanouel “Mike” Vasiliou opened Hot Dog Inn, a cherished part of Cleveland’s culinary history, in 1928 at 4008 Lorain Ave. and would install its iconic sign in 1938. Allegedly, local Pete Sorma loved the place and when he was skipping class, he’d hang out at the joint. When Vasiliou offered him a job washing dishes Sorma gave it a go before deciding he’d rather just go to class.
Eventually, Pete and his brother John made the tiny 360-square-foot eatery their own in 1987 and renamed it Old Fashion Hot Dogs. Whether they wanted to or not, every Sorma child would go on to work at the cash-only establishment, and Tom and Loretta Sorma owned the place until 2020 when they decided to retire.
Old Fashion Hot Dogs, a place famous for its late-night hours, rock-bottom prices (three dogs for five bucks) and spicy chili sauce made with cinnamon and nutmeg, became a staple for every penny-pinching Clevelander looking for something cheap, delicious, and filling to eat after a night out on the town.
The diner saw celebrities, hosted weddings, and even landed a role in 2016’s The Land, the feature film debut from writer-director Steven Capel Jr. (Creed II) that was a hit at the Sundance Film Festival the year it came out.
In 2020, Dwight Kaczmarek and Tim Yanko purchased the sign and installed it to All Things for You to keep the restaurant’s memory alive. The Old Fashion Hot Dog street sign, stools, sandwich board, and other mementos are now part of a permanent exhibit. “We wanted to preserve a piece of this community’s history,” says Yanko. “Fans will be able to stop in, see the sign, and share their frankfurter- and-cheese-fries-fueled stories with us.”
Commemorative t-shirts, mugs, pint glasses, magnets, stickers, and t-shirts are available for purchase.