Landmark Jay’s Hot Dogs building to be torn down, rebuilt

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Jay’s Hot Dogs on Route 224 in Boardman will soon be demolished and rebuilt.

When people raised in the Youngstown area return, one place they often stop to remember their childhood is Jay’s Hot Dogs. Chili sauce, mustard and onion — that’s a Jay’s Famous Hot Dog.

The building is a landmark. Its A-frame and orange roof make it stand out along Route 224.

For 38 of its 50 years, the building has been occupied by Jay’s Famous Hot Dogs. It will be rebuilt in the next couple of months.

The owner of the Boardman Jay’s, Greg Petrakos, said the new building will go in the parking lot and the new parking lot will be in the spot where the current building is. There will be a drive-up window and air conditioning, which the current building does not have.

“It’s going to be a little over 20 percent larger, so there will be more seating inside and we’ll still have the patio out front as well,” Petrakos said.

Jay’s is a part of Youngstown history. Greek immigrant Jay Pappas opened it downtown in 1920.

When FDR visited in 1940, Jay’s hot dogs were a nickel. Petrakos’ father, Frank Petrakos, was then responsible for the success of the Boardman store — dressing hot dogs the Jay’s way, stacked on his arm.

“I remember the dime hot dog and then inflation hit, and they were two for a quarter,” Petrakos said.

Today, a Jay’s hot dog is $1.30 and Youngstown’s Bill Sethman is still eating them. He, and many other customers, will continue to do so no matter what building they’re in.

“Probably a good idea. Make the seating a little bit bigger,” Sethman said.

“I think it’s great. Why not?” said Georgio Theofilos, of Austintown.

Struthers’ Anthony Walker also thinks it’ll be a nice change, as long as Jay’s stays open and the menu doesn’t change.

“It has a lot of memories and it’ll be sad to see it go, but after 50 years, it’s just like people. When you get to that point, things start to break down so it’s time for a replacement to move into the next phase.”

The grill is one item that will make the move to the new shop. It has a lot to do with the Jay’s taste.

There are no renderings yet, but the new building will have an A-frame, though not to the extent of the current building.

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