The Corner Bar is tucked into the oldest brick building in Rockford, MI. The building, built in 1873, survived two separate fires - the great fire of 1883 and the great Main Street fire of 1896. Over the years, it has hosted a shoe store, a grocery store, a hardware store and, finally, a tavern.
The Corner Bar Hot Dog, what the bar is undoubtedly most famous for today, was created by then-owner Carl Hyde in the 1930s when law required that food be served at all establishments that wanted to obtain a beer license. Working with a former Army cook, Hyde developed a special chili sauce that has been passed down now for generations.
Recognizing the appeal of the Corner Bar Hot Dog, Donald Berg, who purchased the bar in 1965, established the Hot Dog Hall of Fame in 1968. Since then, more than 5,000 champions have joined the list, eating a dozen or more hot dogs in a single sitting. The Hall of Fame caught the attention of several national competitive eating associations and Tim Janus, who consumed 43 1/2 hot dogs in one four-hour sitting, currently holds the professional record. In 2005, Balinda Gould ate 43 hot dogs to earn the amateur record, breaking a 23-year record of 42 1/2 hot dogs. Since Berg purchased the bar, the establishment has sold more than 14 million hot dogs. “Stretched end to end,” the Corner Bar’s website notes, “that would reach Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany, the birthplace of the hot dog.”
Want to add your name to the Hot Dog Hall of Fame? The rules are simple. Eat 12 or more hot dogs smothered in the Corner Bar’s special chili sauce in one four-hour sitting. If you can push yourself to eat 20 hot dogs, the Corner Bar will pick up the tab.
Update August, 2017: The building was heavily damaged in a fire, efforts to raise money for reconstruction are underway.
- Pure Michigan: The Corner Bar and Hotdog Hall of Fame: http://www.michigan.org/Property/Detail.aspx?p=B12642
- Trip Advisor: Corner Bar: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g42646-d520665-Reviews-Corner_Bar-Rockford_Michigan.html