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Local hot-dog stand is one of Kettering’s hidden gems

Jon McElroy was operating from a mobile food unit long before the term “food truck” took off, and over the course of eight years, his Lefty’s Hot Dogs trailer in Kettering has quietly evolved into one of the Dayton area’s hidden gems.

The hot dog venture is on the corner of East Stroop Road and Wilmington Pike, tucked into the corner of the parking lot of the Kettering Cruise-Thru Marathon station at 1890 E. Stroop Road. 

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Kettering’s best kept secret and outstanding Homemade Chili dog can be found at Lefty’s Hot Dogs.

“I am a simple man with a simple plan,” Lefty’s owner Jon McElroy said. “My grandparents lived next to me growing up in the small town of Lima. My grandfather (who worked as a meat-cutter in Lima) and I would grill up hot dogs and sit on the front porch while he told me old stories from his time on a ship in the Navy. We always thought it would be great to serve up simple food for people.”

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His grandfather died in 1997, and McElroy moved to Kettering. He moved to Phoenix for a brief time, where he met “an old retired guy who had a hot dog cart and sold to business people by the airport,” McElroy said.

Lefty's Hot Dogs sells regular and jumbo hot dogs and Polish sausages, among other dishes. Staff photo by Mark Fisher

“I moved back to Kettering still holding onto the thought of my own hot dog business and started it here at the Kettering Cruise thru in 2010.”

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Lefty’s hours are 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

The menu includes hot dogs, chili dogs, jumbo chili dogs and Polish Sausage, with toppings such as chili, cheese, mustard, ketchup, onion, cole slaw and sauerkraut. The chili is homemade, McElroy said, and the cole slaw comes from nearby KD’s Barbecue in Kettering.

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Prices range from $1.50 for a hot dog with mustard and ketchup to $3.75 for a Jumbo Chili Dog. DoorDash delivery is available.

For more information, check out the Lefty’s Hot Dogs Facebook page.

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