Sam’s Hot Dog Stand: Where hot dogs and friendships are made

Beside the Point

Manager Kim Rathbone and her son, Nathan

With its first establishment opening in West Virginia in 1983, Sam’s Hot Dog Stand gained unbelievable popularity as the American hot dog became one of the most well liked foods of the 1980s. Today, Sam’s Hot Dog Stand now maintains 45 franchises across Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia. 

Supervisor Grant J. Griswold

Supervisor of Sam’s Hot Dog Stand in Newport News, Grant J. Griswold, who is hardworking and friendly, works alongside his team to provide a unique and comfortable environment where both hot dogs and friendships are made. Through friendly, compassionate service, Sam’s Hot Dog Stand strives to provide a high-quality product at a reasonable price in a comfortable, clean atmosphere. “It’s ‘Cheers’ without the liquor,” Griswold says. 

As a casual dining establishment that specializes in hot dogs, its number one bestselling menu item, Sam’s Hot Dog Stand also serves homemade soups and sandwiches, coleslaw and chili, along with freshly steamed buns, made in-house each morning. The eatery even offers vegan options such as vegan hot dogs and a vegetable soup. “My personal favorite is our original beef hot dog with fresh, homemade chili and our nacho cheese sauce. We also offer a North Carolina-style barbecue sandwich, our second best-selling item on the menu,” says Griswold. 

Growing up in Boulder, Colorado, Griswold first began his career in the food industry as a manager at his family’s restaurant, which allowed him to understand the basic knowledge and functions of a restaurant. He later served a career with Sysco Food Services for nearly 30 years, in addition to being a sales representative for Crispy Crunchy Chicken prior to opening Sam’s Hot Dog Stand in Newport News. Outside of work, Griswold enjoys participating in local car shows, traveling to various beaches, spending time with his wife, Patty, and visiting his daughter and grandson in Texas. 

Expanding to Newport News and opening its doors in May of 2020, Sam’s Hot Dog Stand faced spectacular challenges and restrictions with a new location during the COVID-19 pandemic. “To open a restaurant and try and make a name for ourselves during the pandemic was terrifying,” says Griswold. He explains that since most of Newport News was shut down during that time, marketing the business and obtaining various health permits were extremely difficult. “When I needed to obtain my health permit, it was done over FaceTime,” Griswold adds.

What does Griswold love most about his profession? “I love getting to know my customers,” he says. “We have a lot of regulars who come in weekly, so I enjoy getting to know them and creating meaningful and long-lasting connections with my community. It brightens my day and there is nothing more important than providing quality customer service.” With a friendly and kind personality, Griswold plans to continue providing positivity and quality products in a pristine environment to the Newport News community. 

Sam’s Hot Dog Stand
Address: 880 J. Clyde Morris Blvd., Newport News, VA 23601
Contact: Grant J. Griswold, supervisor
Phone: 757-586-5225

About Kayla Brundick 20 Articles
Kayla Brundick is a senior at Christopher Newport University (CNU) in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in English with a writing concentration. Alongside her academic course work, Kayla is also a social media promoter for the CNU Writing Center, gaining substantial social media marketing and writing skills. Outside of academics, she enjoys reading, writing, spending time with friends and family and traveling to new places. After graduation, Kayla will pursue a career in public relations as well as obtaining a master’s degree in English writing.