ORLANDO, Florida. – A California hot dog stand opens its first location on the east coast in Orlando.
Cupid’s Hot Dogs opens at 1515 Lee Road. The franchise will be the fifth Cupid’s hot dog location overall and the first outside of California. Most of the locations are in the San Fernando Valley, with a franchise in Orange County.
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Cupid’s is coming to Orlando through franchisee Sorot Boyd Chamlongsupalak. He and his family moved to Winter Park about two years ago to open a business in Florida.
“We wanted to open a store in Orlando. So we found this detached building that was empty at the time and it had a drive through and we saw the potential in it, ”said Chamlongsupalak.
Chamlongsupalak and his wife are both Thai – and lived in Thailand before moving to Florida – but he grew up in the UK while his wife grew up in California. He said it was his wife who brought Cupid’s attention to him.
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“We visit California all the time, and we’ve had hot dogs there at Cupid’s Hot Dogs since the 1980s,” said Chamlongsupalak.
When the couple decided to bring Cupid’s to the east coast, they reached out to the owners – sisters Kelly and Morgan Walsh – about franchising.
“They welcomed the idea and we wanted it. We told them we wanted to develop the brand into many, many stores in Florida, ”said Chamlongsupalak.
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Chamlongsupalak added that it is initially focusing on central Florida but is hoping to expand into southern Florida and as far as Atlanta.
“So, overall we’re looking – in the next five years – we’ll probably open another four or five (Cupid’s locations),” he said.
Kelly Walsh – the third generation owner of Cupids along with her sister – said there were plans to expand the brand for a while.
“We were just waiting for the right person to want it outside of (California),” said Kelly Walsh.
She said Cupid’s has largely stayed the same since it opened in 1946.
“I think we stayed true to our original menu,” said Kelly Walsh. “We added very few things – like a vegetarian dog, Chicago toppings – so we just wanted to keep it as simple as our grandparents started it, very minimal changes.”
The sisters have brought back some of the mid-century frills that might be expected at a classic roadside hot dog stand.
“During COVID we started the Carhop service so people could still go to a restaurant,” said Kelly Walsh. “You could be in the safety of your car and enjoy a show.”
Future home of Cupids Hot Dogs at 1515 Lee Road, Orlando (Friends)
Chamlongsupalak hopes to repeat this experience in Orlando.
“That’s on schedule,” he said. “It takes time. If we can find the right talent and age group for employees, we will surely be doing the same things as California businesses. “
In addition to planning future dealerships, Chamlongsupalak said he is already looking for locations in Winter Park for a possible second Cupid’s location. But before that can happen, he has to open the first location on Lee Road.
“I think we might open in mid-December,” said Chamlongsupalak. “I cannot give an exact date for the opening as the labor shortage will be a factor … I think we will open in January at the latest.”
He added that the remodeling of the property was now in the final stages.
“What’s left is just finishing, that’s all – finishing and getting some local talent to help us run the store,” he said.
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