By Brad Mosher
Anthony McNamer had a big smile on his face March 2.
He had just watched a 38-foot corn dog get dropped on his new fast food restaurant in Rockaway Beach.
“I’m the owner of the world’s largest corn dog down here at Rockaway Beach,” he said afterwards.
On the roof, was a giant corn dog resting in a cradle.
“It is awesome. It is the coolest thing on the coast right there, in my opinion,” he said as he began counting down the days until he officially opened the weekend of March 20 during Spring Break.
He admitted he was a big fan of corn dogs, noting that the Pronto Pup will have weekend hours of 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. On Sundays, the business will close three hours earlier.
It will be around the end of May when the switch to summer hours will be made.
He already has his mother signed up as the manager and a crew of several girls from nearby Neah-Kah-Nie High School.
He also added a small Pronto Pup ride outside the front window for children to ride on. Six-year old Odin Wilson of Rockaway Beach was the first to get a ride on the Pronto Pup machine.
The city’s history with the deep-fried frankfurter creation is something that McNamer said he was surprised hadn’t been used more. “When I did some research, I found that, in effect, the corn dog was created here in Rockaway Beach Oregon.
“It is like Rockaway Beach’s big claim to fame. I felt like they should have something like Pronto Pup Days,” he said, smiling.
The giant Pronto Pup is something that McNamer hopes to be an attention-getter in more ways than one. Not only would it help identify the business, but he is hoping that it may become a local attraction that visitors will want to shoot pictures of.
Unlike the corn dog which is made with corn flour, the Pronto Pup uses pancake batter to surround the frankfurter.
George Boyington was operating a hot dog stand in Rockaway Beach in the 1930s, and came up with the hot dog on a stick, surrounded by batter and cooked to become a one-piece snack.
According to www.prontopup.net, the Pronto Pup made its brick and mortal debut from a fountain shop window owned by the Boyingtons in Portland.
“Right from the start, the tasty treat was a crowd favorite; in September 1941, over 15,000 Pronto Pups were consumed at the Pacific International Livestock Exposition,” the website said.
It had a surge in popularity after World War II when servicemen who had sampled and helped build the popularity of Pronto Pups while stationed throughout the Western states realized the possibilities in Pronto Pup shops for their own post-war business. Franchises sprung up from coast to coast.
Pronto Pups have even been covered on the Food Network series “Unwrapped” in the episode on carnival treats.
In the episode, host Marc Summers tried to explain the origin and popularity of the Pronto Pup. It started when it got windy and wet at Rockaway Beach.
“George Boyington wanted to ban soggy buns forever, so he decided the dogs should don their own coat. He hit the kitchen and just started coming up with different ideas, and he thought, “well, what if I cook the…” and he deep-fried it, ” the pronto pup was born, according to Summers.
Even Summers realized the Pronto Pup wasn’t an ordinary corn dog.
“A pronto pup is different from a regular corn dog,” he said on the show.
“I want to describe it almost more like a doughnut. It has that real crispy soft outside, and it’s real moist on the inside.
“One of the things that makes it different than if it was a corn dog is that it’s not quite as, I guess, corny,” the host explained.
For McNamer, it was much simpler.
He has a home in the area and a young daughter. He was surprised that there was no family-friendly fast-food restaurant in the coastal city.
That will change soon. When it opens, it will also have a variety of menu items with a “Pup” flair — including a Veggie Pup and a Zucchini Pup, McNamer said.
The new building is located at the corner of Highway 101 or South 6th Street in Rockaway Beach.