Pete’s Famous Hot Dogs Legend Dies  

Published by John A. Palumbo
April 6, 2011

Share | 


Gus Koutroulakis of Pete's Famous Hot Dogs died Tuesday.

One of the last remaining legendary icons for Birmingham, Alabama has died. Gus Koutroulakis passed away on Tuesday, April 5, 2011. He was pronounced dead at 8:50 AM. It was reported that his family members and housekeeper said that he wasn’t feeling well. When the housekeeper arrived at his home Tuesday morning, she found him dead in his chair.  

Gus was 81 years old and sold hot dogs from his small café in downtown Birmingham since 1948.  He was a graduate of Phillips High School.  After graduating he went to work for his uncle, Pete Koutroulakis, who had finally decided to retire.  Pete sold what has become famous in Birmingham as Pete’s Famous Hot Dogs to his nephew.  In over 72 years, the business changed very little, nor did it’s iconic and beloved owner, Gus. 


I can personally remember going to hang out for a while on Saturday afternoons at the famous hot dog stand as a kid.  That was only after spending hours at the local magic shop.  I would then go rehearse my magic at the hot dog stand and Gus would give me free hot dogs for entertaining his customers.   

Hearing about the passing of Gus was like losing a family member in many ways.  I had been visiting the hot dog stand all of my life, including seeing Gus just a few days before he passed.  He never failed to call you by name when you walked in and always knew exactly how you liked your hot dogs.  I guess I’m lucky to have been able to visit the hot dog stand for as many years as I did.  We all like to hold on to some of those sentimental memories and Pete’s Famous Hot Dogs is definitely one of them for me.  

There was never a time that my daughter, Morgan, and I had a few extra minutes that we didn’t love to go down to Pete’s and have a couple of hot dogs.  She says, “They’re like no other dogs in the world,” and it was one of her favorite places, also.   

Gus always treated us like family when we came in.  I know I’ll always remember Gus and Pete’s Famous for how he treated me as a kid and the memories he brought my daughter and myself for the good times we had simply enjoying a hot dog and a soda.   

Thanks for all the great memories, Gus. 


blog comments powered by Disqus


Copyright © The Sterling Group All Rights Reserved