Maggie Stradley, 15, Franklin Academy

High school student pens essay about her favorite hot dog spot, Shorty's Famous Hot Dogs

Maggie Stradley, 15, wrote a school essay about her favorite hot dog spot, Shorty’s.
PHOTO | CONNIE DENTON

From WSJ Staff Reports –

Maggie Stradley, a 10th-grader at Franklin Academy, wrote an essay for her tactical sales and marketing class taught by Ryan Kimball. The subject of the essay was Shorty’s Famous Hot Dogs.

Stradley said she has been eating at Shorty’s for as long as she can remember.

Below is Stradley’s essay:

Shorty’s Famous Hot Dogs is a small independently owned fast-food business in Wake Forest. Shorty’s is best known for their delicious hotdogs but they also serve hamburgers, BLT’s, chicken tenders, and a variety of other foods. They also serve homemade desserts like banana pudding and chocolate chess pie. They sell quality food and have quick friendly service. 

They are a locally owned restaurant and have been open since 1916! In downtown Wake Forest, there is only one other non-franchised burger place called The Burger Shop. There is some minor competition but they both work hard to get their own customers.

Shorty’s has been in business for over a hundred years.

It is the oldest restaurant in Wake Forest. It has been owned by the same family for generations.

The restaurant started out as a movie theater in 1916 known as the Gem theater and later added pool tables and a lunch counter. They still have the pool tables in the back with some video-games.

Originally opened by H.E. Joyner in 1916 and later run by his son Millard “Shorty” Joyner. This is where the current name came from.

Millard’s nephew Bill then took over for 46 years before he passed away unexpectedly in 2017.

After Bill Joyner died the business was passed down to his son, Chris. Chris is now the current owner and you can often see him in there working behind the counter.  

    Shorty’s strength is it has consistency and good quality food and people. It’s weakness is the fact that it is a small place and it is hard to seat people and find parking places. Shorty’s would not be the same in any other location though.

Some people have worked there for over 30 years. They each have their own history at Shorty’s. They celebrate the history of the restaurant and still have their old wooden menu on display along with many photos from the past. 

    The owners have had many chances to expand but never have. I believe they will stay a small business and will be passed down for many more generations.

I’ve been going to Shorty’s my entire life and the employees know me by name. They have each watched me grow up and treat me like family. Parker is one of the most friendly and gives the place its character. He is always playing with the children and bringing them a smile. 

     Shorty’s has been featured in several shows and in magazines like The Tarheel Traveller and Our State magazine.

You never know who you’ll see at Shorty’s. Pro golfer Arnold Palmer, television actor Carroll O’Connor and many local politicians and celebrities have been seen eating at this establishment. 

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