FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Brown Bear Hot Dogs is shutting its doors after more than a decade in Fresno.
15 years ago Benny Raya was outside by the pool when his wife yelled at him.
“I have a hot dog in my mouth and my skin is dark because in the sun and summertime and my wife yells, ‘brown bear what are you doing out there with that hot dog,” said Raya.
The name stuck and Raya and his wife started Brown Bear’s Hot Dog Cart that traveled to River Park and other areas around town. Four years later, the two moved into this drive-thru at Herndon and Fresno.
“People constantly say you guys have the best hot dogs or chili dogs,” said Raya.
The mom-and-pop shop brings in 16,000 customers per month.
Customer Clarissa Thomas keeps coming back because it is close to her hospital.
“With mine, I like sauerkraut and just original hot dog with mustard and ketchup,” said Thomas.
A couple of weeks ago, Raya and his wife got a letter from the landowner that gave them 90-day notice to move out so a new tenant can move in. The couple planned to retire in 10 years. Now tears run down their face each day as the closing date comes near.
“Oh my god,” said Raya. “What is going on here? I presented it to my wife who fell to her knees inside of the shop crying and said what are we gonna do now? How can we accomplish our goals?”
The couple has tried to find a new location to move to but has not been able to.
“We are out of here July 29th,” said Raya.
As the owners prepare to shut their doors for one final time they are asking customers to say goodbye and enjoy one last hotdog.
“We are gonna miss you deeply, deeply because you are the one that makes us happy,” said Raya.
The landlord did not return our calls.