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- Entrepreneur Spotlight: Zack Touloupas
Entrepreneur Spotlight: Zack Touloupas
City of Burlington
Economic Development Office
July 30, 2022
Entrepreneur Spotlight: Zack Touloupas, Former Owner of Zack’s Hot Dogs
For anyone who owns a small business, it is no secret that it takes commitment, passion, and work to make it happen. The Touloupas family is no stranger to hard work. For the last 94 years, Zack’s Hot Dogs has been at the center of downtown life in Burlington and an institution for locals and visitors alike. With their recent decision to sell the business, it seemed fitting to celebrate the accomplishments of the Touloupas family over three generations.
Zack Touloupas is the latest Touloupas to man the grills of Zack’s Hot Dogs, named after his grandfather who founded the business in 1928. Zack Touloupas Sr. was originally from Greece and immigrated to the United States in 1912 with his father. After being around restaurants for most of his life, including cafes in Colombia, South Carolina and Durham, North Carolina, Zack Sr. bought a non-descript hot dog restaurant on the corner of downtown Burlington. “Zack’s Hot Dogs has always been on the same block in downtown Burlington,” Touloupas said when interviewed for the blog.
At the center of the restaurant’s identity is family. Three Touloupas’ – Zack, his son John, and later his grandson Zack – worked in the restaurant themselves, serving the community with great food and great memories. Both Zack Sr. and John Touloupas worked in the restaurant up into their eighties! Though many members of the family took part the restaurant’s history, including spouses, children, and nephews who have all worked in the restaurant, other families all throughout Burlington can call upon memories at Zack’s Hot Dogs. It is a popular eating site for North Carolina Governors, local policemen, and others across the community.
Though the restaurant has been sold to the new owner, Zack has spent the last month around the restaurant, making sure the identity of the place will stay exactly how it was intended: a meeting point of good people, good memories, and good food. “Downtown is my community. It is a great place to have a business.” When asked if he had any advice for businesses considering Burlington, Zack emphasized the people in the community that hold up small businesses. The more businesses that choose to come here and build up downtown, the better the community becomes.
As of Wednesday, June 29th, Zack will officially retire from working in the restaurant. He feels confident Zack’s Hot Dogs will be in good hands and is excited to enter retirement. He plans to spend lots of time visiting his children and grandchildren but kept specific details to himself – saying in between laughs that the less people who know about his plans, the less people will try to find him. We congratulate Zack on his retirement, though we’re sure he will still be seen frequenting the restaurant for a bite to eat – and maybe giving a tip to a customer on how to order a hotdog. CLEAR!!
Isabella DeLaGarza, EYOS Fellow
Be sure to support Zack’s Hot Dogs by engaging with the channels below:
Phone (336) 226.4746
Facebook @Zack's Hot Dogs
425 S. Lexington Ave.
Burlington, NC 27215