By: Kathleen Curry
The US fast food market wasn't always dominated by national franchises. If you were born in the 1960s or later, like yours truly, you haven't known it any other way. On a local scale, Jack Hurley of Jack's Cosmic Dogs (JCD) is determined to change that.
Originally from Burlington, Vermont, Hurley has linked fixtures of his youth to the present for 11 with a hotdog stand and its ever-evolving menu. The original location is on Hwy 17 North, the other two are on Folly Road and Hwy 61. In 1991, Hurley moved to the Isle of Palms with his wife Priscilla, and sons Morgan and Skylar. Something sparked when he saw a roadside building off Highway 17 North."If a place ever looked like a hot dog joint, that was it." Its menu would feature homemade chili, freshly made coleslaw, longneck Nehi soda, hand-cut fries, soft serve ice cream, shakes, malts, moon pies, and draft root beer, in addition to hotdogs. Its interior would be a bright cheery diner with booths and two-seater tables, and wacky antiques from Hurley's personal collection, like a robot, a plastic tea set chandelier, a kids go cart, and rockets are inside and outside. On another wall, next to a framed and autographed copy of a Men’s Journal article about JCD (more on that later), there’s a framed 1970 program for William & Mary Football team. Hurley played offensive end; he was coached there by the young Lou Holtz, Marv Levy, & Bobby Ross. ‘Years later, Hurley got a photo with Holtz, and Holtz autographed the program. ‘Does Hurley see parallels between sports and entrepreneurship? He says, “Competitive sports develops a great work ethic, makes you want to win, and you develop ease with working all types of people to get that win.” Outside, there’s a JCD authentic airstream trailer with rockets on top; it is used for catering events. Inside and out, the whole package blends well with a retro-style logo designed by Gil Shuler and animated hotdog paintings by Mario Valdes.