Posted inBusiness

Man bites dog: How a Fourth of July tradition began 

Here’s a man bites dog story. Fort Worth’s Curly’s Frozen Custard, 4017 Camp Bowie Blvd., will serve 210 free Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs on July 4, continuing a three-year tradition.

Curly’s founder and managing partner, Bourke Harvey, wants to mark the custard shop’s 21st birthday along with the country’s annual Fourth of July celebration. Curly’s opened July 12, 2002, serving frozen custard as well as hot dogs and chili.   

“We have received so much positive feedback throughout the past three years that customers appreciate a free hot dog on our nation’s birthday,” said Harvey. 

Celebrating on July 4 has been a tradition at the westside custard shop since 2011 when they hosted the inaugural Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Competition locally.

 “We created our own local event that provided a local tie to the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island in New York,” said Harvey. The shop had started serving Nathan’s Hot Dogs earlier that year. 

The original Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Competition takes place on Coney Island. It has been going on since about 1972.

A crowd gathers at Curly’s in 2017 to watch the hot dog eating contest. (Courtesy photo| Curly’s)

Curly’s hot dog competition is a little less frantic than the one on Coney Island, where contestants like Joey “Jaws” Chestnut, attempt to see how many hot dogs they can eat in 10 minutes. In 2022, Chestnut downed 22 hot dogs and will defend his crown this year. 

At Curly’s, the more civilized contest times the eating of four quarter-pound Nathan’s Famous hot dogs and a brioche bun. 

“For nine years, this was an amazing event that consistently drew well over 25 contestants and 100 attendees,” he said. The pandemic changed things in 2020, however. 

With no place for crowds to socially distance, Harvey decided to pivot and instead just serve free hot dogs all day long. 

“In this way, everybody was a winner,” he said. 

Curly’s repeated the offer in 2021 and 2022. Along with celebrating Curly’s and the nation’s birthday, the event also celebrates the launch of the shop’s signature offering for July and August, Parker County Peach Frozen Custard. 

“We have become known for Fort Worth’s favorite frozen treats numerous times, and our Parker County Peach flavor has helped create that reputation,” Harvey said. 

Visitors to Curly’s on July 4 can use the drive-through window or the walk-up window on the patio starting 11 a.m. Tuesday, July 4. No purchase is required and there is a limit of one free hot dog for each person in a group.

  A flavor of New Orleans  

PJ’s Coffee is opening a location in Fort Worth. (Courtesy photo| PJ’s)

Fort Worth will get a taste of New Orleans later this month when PJ’s Coffee opens its first location in the city. 

Located at 7048 Granbury Road and the corner of Altamesa Boulevard, the locally owned and operated coffeehouse expects to open on July 17. 

Ahead of the opening, PJ’s Coffee is hiring up to 15 positions — including baristas. This location marks the 10th PJ’s Coffee in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and 165th systemwide. The Fort Worth PJ’s will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

PJ’s Coffee was founded in 1978 by Phyllis Jordan in the Crescent City. It still has roots there and has been owned by New Orleans natives and brothers, Paul, Steven and Scott Ballard since 2008. The franchisee for this location is Melissa Grimes. 

Do you have something for the Bob on Business column? Email Bob Francis as

Bob Francis is business editor for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at

At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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