If you’re a hot dog aficionado who lives in the northern regions of the Bay Area, pay attention—Local Happenings has good news.
After nearly 40 years and hundreds of thousands of hot dogs served from its headquarters on Vallejo’s Springs Road, Sac’s Tasty Hot Dogs has opened a second location in Napa.
The owner of Sac’s, George Maichel, said that over the years he has received numerous offers from various folks wanting to open a second location somewhere or another. But up until this point, he had turned all of those offers down. What changed his mind? A frequent customer named Eddie Aims, who loved Sac’s dogs and chili so much he would regularly make the trek out from Napa just to grab a bite to eat, eventually convinced Maichel to open a second location in Napa and make Aims the manager.
“He’s the first person who had that combination of work ethic and personality to open a Sac’s,” Maichel said of Aims. “It can’t just be a good hot dog, it has to be a friendly environment. You have to make it a nice experience.”
The Napa branch, located at 1453 West Imola, officially opened on Feb. 19 this year. But Maichel says—although the food will be exactly the same as the Vallejo branch—that the Napa restaurant’s aesthetic might change over time. He said it’s important for each branch to evolve on its own, and added that many of the trinkets and flair on display in Vallejo were given to the store by customers. He hopes that Napa’s residents will pitch in in similar fashion and help contribute to the look of the new store.
“The Vallejo store has its own personality, and it’s going to take some time for the Napa store to evolve into the Napa personality. That’s just a work in progress,” Maichel said. “I don’t want to just throw a bunch of things on the wall right away.”
Sac’s has become well known to the people of Vallejo, for their chili as much as their hot dogs. It was originally founded by a longtime, respected resident named Frank “Sac” Saccomano, who passed the torch down to current owner Maichel. Saccomano was known to Maichel as “Uncle Frank,” and Maichel remembers much of his childhood being centered around the business that he now owns.
“The remarkable thing is how so many things have changed in our community and yet here Sac’s is still serving the exact same menu, and being successful,” Maichel said. “It’s a testimony to that old saying, ‘If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.’”
Since the Napa business has opened locals have taken notice and Maichel said that the new location has been kept very busy. They were surprised at first, though, to see a lot of familiar faces from Vallejo show up looking for dogs early on. Turns out, a lot of the weekend regulars at the Vallejo Sac’s work in Napa during the week, and apparently word spreads quickly amongst hot dog lovers.
“It’s been really the social media and the word of mouth is what we attribute to our success from the first month,” Maichel said. “It has really been overwhelming how many people showed up to try our hot dog in the first month.”
Maichel’s mother used to work at Sac’s too, and when his “Uncle Frank” was ready to retire and close the business, Maichel stepped up and took it over because he couldn’t bear the thought of one of his childhood favorite’s shutting down. Maichel has worked hard to keep his food the same quality as Saccomano was well known for having. With that in mind, Sac’s makes each day’s chili that morning and makes sure that its ingredients are fresh; their dogs are never frozen, and they buy their buns locally too. The same goes for the Napa location, and Maichel said he’s working with them for the first month or two to ensure that everything between the Vallejo and Napa branches’ food, taste, and preparation is consistent.
“I taught Eddie how to make the chili—I worked with him for a while to make sure he was getting everything just right,” Maichel said. “We also hired a bunch of local kids in Napa, and we really want the store in Napa to be what Sac’s is for Vallejo.”
Sac’s Tasty Hot Dogs Vallejo branch is located at 2445 Springs Road, and they can be reached via telephone by calling 707-642-2442. Their Napa branch is located at 1453 West Imola, and can be reached at 707-258-8905. For more information, visit or follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sacstastyhotdogs
Nate Gartrell grew up in Benicia, studied journalism in college, and has written for a handful of media outlets since age 15. He aspires to visit all 30 Major League Baseball stadiums and to hit the trifecta at the horse track.