When you start totalling
the numbers, it becomes pretty clear why Mustard’s Last Stand was recently
inducted into the Vienna Beef Hot Dog Hall of Fame. “Mustard’s,”
as Dan Polovin’s digs are known to their legions of devoted fans, has been
dealing out authentic Chicago-style franks, all-natural grass-fed beef burgers,
house-made French fries and an ever-growing menu of other treats to Denver and
Boulder audiences for 35 years.
A Chicago native,
Polovin signed the lease to open the Boulder Mustard’s location at Broadway and
Canyon Blvd. in the summer of 1978, following with the Denver store at 2081 S.
University Blvd. only two months later. His goal was to introduce the food
staples he grew up with to a Rocky Mountain audience. He’s done quite a job
toward that end.
“As best I can figure,
we’ve sold about five million dogs over that time.” French fries? “You do the
math,” said Polovin. “We wash and cut 50-100 pounds of French fries every day
at each location. And they’re chilled over night. That’s important for the
makes the Chicago hot-dog experience unique? “First, you have to start with a
Vienna, natural casing dog. They’ve been in business over 100 years, and really
know their product,” the grill food maven explains. “Then you add a steamed
poppy seed bun, mustard, relish, onion, tomato, pickle and hot pepper. Some
folks like to add a dash of celery salt, so we leave that out.” Sauerkraut is
also available for the asking, but is not part of the Chicago package.
To keep up with
changing tastes, Polovin has added a variety of other meat and non-meat options
over the years. “About 15 years ago we started hearing more and more people
options, so we added a tuna steak sandwich, a chicken sandwich and four veggie
options – the Soy Veggie Dog, Veggie Tempeh Burger, a Tofu Reuben and the
Soy Italian Sausage.”
Polovin credits an
amazingly loyal staff for much of the success his business has experienced.
Marguerite Kunkel, manager of the Boulder store has been with Mustard’s for 32
years, and her Denver counterpart, Stuart Rubin has held forth from behind the
counter for 30. Rubin, a Chicago-bred friend of Polovin’s, was brought into the
fold by another member of his Chi-town pack, Shelly Panter, who locals will
remember as Polovin’s partner at the University Blvd. location until 1997.
Polovin is marking the
35th anniversary of Mustard’s Last Stand with a pair of customer thank you
events in the coming week – July 28 at the Boulder store, and Aug. 4 in
Denver. Both celebrations will include a variety of games, giveaways, 99¢ hot dogs,
and the like. Stop by and maybe take home a doggie or two.
Info: mustardslaststandcolorado.com or 303-722-7936.