In Burlington, Vermont, a school bus claims a perch over the frosty expanse of Lake Champlain. When temperatures drop below freezing, its yellow chasse nowhere to be seen. But when winter ends, this wide-load relic from the 1970s parks at the side of Battery Park and opens its converted windows to sell the most notable hot dogs in town.
The special at Beansie’s is the “Michigan Hot Dog” ($3), a transplant of Michigan’s classic “Coney dog.” Coating a grilled frank with a sloppy joe mixture scooped straight from a fourth-grade lunch break, the cooks in the bus succeed at serving a straightforward taste of roadside Americana. French fries, though, are the real attraction – hand-cut, perfectly sized, sturdy and crisp from first to last.
I don’t know why the bus is called Beansie’s. I don’t know what form the hot dog stand, which has apparently been in business since the end of World War II, took before loading its grills and deep fryers onto the bus that’s become a local landmark. But the next time I’m anywhere near Burlington, I’ll be making my way back to Battery Park to find out.