East San Jose's Mark's Hot Dogs still cooking after 83 years

EAST SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Mark's Hot Dogs has been serving customers in East San Jose, Calif. since 1936.

The menu has changed a bit, the owners have changed and the location has changed.

But what stays the same is their delicious dogs.

"You can't change anything that works," Mark's Hot Dogs Owner Mark McClain said. "We've been here since 1936 and we don't want to change a thing. It's a piece of history. Baseball, hot dogs and hamburgers. Everyone loves that. It's Americana."

The orange dome shape of the building is not a mistake.

The building style was originally based off an orange juice stand in the 1920's.

Now, it's one of the only remaining orange shaped building in California and the unique orange dome shape of Mark's is what makes it a noticeable landmark along Capitol Avenue off of Alum Rock Avenue.

Mark McClain is the current owner of the shop after it has passed hands and moved locations on the East Side.

It's currently located on S. Capitol Avenue after moving from 1920 Alum Rock Ave.

Mark Yuram set up the hot dog stand 83 years ago and it still stands as one of the oldest fast food joints in San Jose.

Customers are taken back to the days of car-side service and classic menu items that have all almost been the exact same since the shop opened.

When Mark McClain took over, (yes, he dawns the name "Mark" ironically as well), he wanted to keep the tradition, with some new twists along the way.

"The thing we added was the french fries, that has been a big hit with everybody," McClain said. "The milkshakes are great. The hot dogs, of course, are good. They are the old fashioned hot dogs. There's a great history of it that we love. The food is great. Everything stays the same. We haven't changed a thing here."

Customers new and old come to the stand on a daily basis for the "buns that are better than normal", the "hot dogs that pop when you eat them" and the "delicious jalapenos".

The shop is actually a historical landmark in the City of San Jose.

The history keeps it alive, the customers keep the doors open.

"I think the history behind the building itself is big," McClain said. "A lot of local Eastsiders come back to patronize the business and keep us going here. There's a lot of cool stories behind it. A lot of people come in and want to take pictures of the building and stuff like that. It's a lot of fun."

For McClain, Mark's Hot Dogs is more than just a place to share the American classic to the people of San Jose.

It's a legacy that he is proud to be part of and hopes to always keep going.

"My wife and I have always wanted to do something with our three daughters," McClain said. "We thought we'd open a business with our kids to show them how to be self-employed and work for themselves some day. We're proud to keep it going for everyone. We want to keep it for as long as we can and as long as we're alive. Hopefully our kids will do the same."
Copyright © 2021 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.