Legendary Casper’s Hot Dogs to Close Flagship Location on 10/22

Market Wire (press release)
Oct 7 2004

Legendary Casper’s Hot Dogs Chain to Close Flagship Location on
October 22

Historic Bay Area Eatery Closes Doors After Over 60 Years of

OAKLAND, CA — (MARKET WIRE) — 10/07/2004 — Casper’s Hot Dogs, one
of the Bay Area’s oldest, family-run fast-food chains, has announced
that it plans to close its flagship store in Oakland, California on
October 22nd.

Originally opened in the early 1940s, the Casper’s on 1st Avenue has
been a favorite hang out and eatery for area neighbors. When the
store was moved from its original building to the current location at
1240 1st Avenue in the late ’40s, it quickly became a mainstay for
professional athletes, judges, and rock stars due to the store’s
close proximity to The Oakland Coliseum and the Henry J. Kaiser
Auditorium which is across the street.

“We just don’t see the activity that we used to down in that part of
Oakland,” says Ronald Dorian, one of several third-generation owners
of the Casper’s family and co-General Manager. “But it doesn’t seem
all that long ago that it was a busy location,” he adds.

This closure is particularly sad because of the recent loss of
92-year-old Rose Agajan, the last founding member of the partnership
that started the chain, which included Rose and her husband Paul, and
their partners, Stephen and Ardam Beklian — all immigrants who had
survived the Armenian Genocide.

The Casper’s story began in 1934, when several Armenian families
moved from Chicago to Oakland to sell their hot dogs from stands
along Telegraph Avenue and Fruitvale Boulevard. After gaining a
reputation for serving extra long frankfurters in freshly steamed
buns, a freestanding store was opened on 1st Avenue.

Longtime Casper’s employee Dolores Larkin was hired to work at 1st
Avenue almost 50 years ago and still remembers the prices: “The hot
dogs were only 25 cents, drinks were 10 cents, and chips were 5
cents,” remarks Larkin. She is currently the manager of the Casper’s
Hot Dogs restaurant in Pleasant Hill, located at the corner of Vivian
Dr. and Contra Costa Blvd.

“I still get phone calls at the store from people who have just
landed at Oakland Airport and want directions to the 1st Avenue store
because they’ve heard about our famous hot dogs and want to find out
for themselves if they’re as good as their reputation,” says Paul
Rustigian, another third-generation owner and co-General Manager with

Today, there are 10 Casper’s throughout the Bay Area, including
locations in Oakland, two in Hayward, Dublin, Walnut Creek, Pleasant
Hill, San Pablo, Richmond, and Albany. The “Casper Dog” has become so
popular throughout the years, that they have won many “Best Of”
awards in the Bay Area, including Best Fast Food Restaurant in the
Bay Area from the listeners of KABL radio station.

Oakland’s Mayor Jerry Brown remarks: “Casper’s hot dogs, with their
unique fixings, have been an East Bay fixture for 70 years. We lament
the closing of the 1st Avenue location but are heartened by the fact
that the delicious Casper’s dogs we all know and love are still
available at nine other locations.”

Norman Tuttle, a longtime Oakland lawyer adds: “Whew! We are glad
that only one Casper’s is closing! We discovered Casper’s when we
moved to the East Bay in 1950 and have always thought of them as the
great American hot dog.”

For additional information, interviews and photos, please contact
Caroline Rustigian at (310-399-5525) or [email protected]

About Casper’s Hot Dogs

Casper’s, the award winning hot dogs west of the Rockies, have been a
California favorite since 1934. At the Casper’s restaurants, this
tasty old-fashioned style hot dog is made from a street vendor recipe
and garnished with mustard, relish, freshly cut tomatoes and onions,
and made to your order on a feather-light, steamed bun. Casper’s has
restaurant locations in Oakland, Hayward, Dublin, Walnut Creek,
Pleasant Hill, San Pablo, Richmond and Albany. In 1989, the partners
opened SPAR Sausage Company and began production of their proprietary
hot dog for wholesale distribution, and now deliver the Bay Area
delicacy to club and grocery stores throughout the western region of
the United States. The family expanded their manufacturing facility
in 1997, and SPAR is now housed at 688 William Street in San Leandro

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress