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July 21, 2021

Hot dog kings look to grow on Long Wharf 

PHOTOS | Liese Klein Smokehouse worker Fausto Sanchez works with hot dogs at the Hummel Bros. New Haven plant.

Rain, rain, go away.

That’s what Eric Hummel needs from the weather gods to boost business this summer for his family’s famous Hummel Bros. hot dogs. The past few months of relentless rain have hurt sales, but he’s eagerly awaiting Labor Day. 

“We’re looking forward to that,” Hummel said of the traditional “hot dog holiday” weekend. “It would be nice if we had an Indian summer – a little hotter, longer would be great.”

Hot dog season, hot dog sales and hot dog-manufacturing expansion were the talk of Long Wharf on Wednesday as the New Haven mayor and city officials celebrated National Hot Dog Day 2021 at the Hummel Bros. plant. 

Eric Hummel, center, vice president of marketing at Hummel Bros., speaks at Long Wharf on Wednesday. From left: New Haven Economic Development Administrator Michael Piscitelli, Mayor Justin Elicker and Billy Hummel.

Just outside the city’s Food Terminal distribution center, Hummel Bros. is seeking to expand as part of the city’s long-term plan for the Long Wharf area. 

“I want to personally thank the Hummel family for supporting that plan, for recognizing how important the food sector is for the growth of our city and the growth of the economy here in Connecticut,” Economic Development Administrator Michael Piscitelli said. More than 5,000 people are employed by Long Wharf-area businesses, he added. 

“Hot dog! It’s good to be here...we’re relishing this experience,” said New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker, eliciting chuckles for a series of hot dog puns. 

Hummel Bros. was founded in 1933 by a German immigrant and represents a strong New Haven tradition of family food businesses, he said.

Hummel Bros. was able to maintain its workforce of about 75 through the COVID-19 pandemic, said Mary Ellen McMahon, a Hummel family member who works in the business. She and her siblings are the third generation to make hot dogs, hams and corned beef in New Haven. 

“We were able to muddle through, now it seems like buying habits are back where they were,” Eric Hummel said of the pandemic. “Putting out the best quality product, that’s how we’re going to continue.” 

Contact Liese Klein at

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