Local Pastor Enjoys Running Enid’s New York-Style Hot Dog Cart | News


ENID, Oklahoma— Mark Garard stands out in the AT&T store parking lot in his usual attire of a Nathan’s Famous baseball cap and condiment-colored shirt.

Passers-by can easily spot him, standing under a red and yellow umbrella as a large flag with the words “hot dogs” rises from the ground in Cleveland and Garriott.

Typically, about 50 people stop by Okie Dokie Dogs when Garard has the New York-style hot dog cart installed there. Some are established customers, and some are just people driving by.

“I’ve had people say to me – I’ll ask them, ‘What brought you here today? They’ll say, “I saw your yellow shirt and realized it was a hot dog stand,” Garard said. “At least half of the people who stop were driving by.”

Garard, 66, moved to Enid about 15 years ago to become a pastor at Sovereign Grace Baptist Church, but he always thought it would be fun to operate his own hot dog cart.

In September 2020, Garard, a native of Rockford, Illinois, decided to open Okie Dokie Dogs, despite several months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“One of the reasons I went ahead and started when I did was because most of the sellers in the country saw their sales go up during the pandemic because they are outside and there is no seating – no worries,” he said.

Garard bought his cart in Tennessee, watched many how-to videos online, and talked to others working in the same industry.

The cart cost $7,000 and Garard spent about $2,000 on licenses, inspections and fees.

“It takes a lot of hot dogs just to make $2,000, and then it’s $1,500 every year. It’s not going away,” he said. “I’m getting close to breaking even.”

Garard usually sets up shop in the AT&T parking lot, though he has made appearances at several First Friday events in downtown Enid — his biggest parties being during Oktoberfest and the First Friday Fiesta — and hosts private events like birthday parties.

It usually takes Garard about 50 minutes to set up the hot dog cart and close everything when he’s done for the day.

Okie Dokie Dogs food cart Thursday, January 13, 2022. (Billy Hefton/Enid News & Eagle)

Okie Dokie Dogs sells hot dogs, bratwurst, and wieners. Garard alternates daily specials, sometimes selling spicy andouille sausage, jalapeno cheddar sausage, or just chili and cheese dog.

Toppings include ketchup, mustard, brown mustard, mayonnaise, cream, hot sauce, relish, onions, jalapenos, and cheese.

“I usually tell people, ‘Whatever you want,'” Garard said.

Since Garard only operates Okie Dokie Dogs part-time, he only goes out a few times a week, usually posting release times on the hot dog cart’s Facebook page.

Garard said he considered renting the cart to other people on days he wasn’t working so the cart could get out more.

He said settling in Enid brought its own set of challenges. When the wind speed gets too high, Garard is unable to set up the hot dog cart.

“The wind is probably the biggest challenge,” he said. “Quite often I post (on Facebook) when I’m going out, but then I get up and the wind is blowing at 18 or 19 miles an hour. Things would just blow up.

Throughout it all, Garard relishes his time at Okie Dokie Dogs and meeting people.

“Enid has been very supportive and encouraging. It adds value to life here. A lot of people remember going on a hot dog cart in another town or when they were kids, and they love having me here, so I’m so grateful for the welcome I got.


Comments are closed.