Food with ‘tude comes downtown with Uptown Mike

Uptown Mike serves up gourmet dogs with New York style on the boardwalk in Bremerton. - Photo by James Mange
Uptown Mike serves up gourmet dogs with New York style on the boardwalk in Bremerton.
— image credit: Photo by James Mange

If you truly are what you eat, it’s easy to understand where Mike Lipson gets his confidence. He’s a master and purveyor of food with attitude and he’s bringing his good taste to Bremerton.

Uptown Mike’s NY Hot Dogs With Attitude will open next weekend in the old harbor master building on the boardwalk below Anthony’s and the Kitsap Conference Center. Uptown Mike’s will of course feature New York style hot dogs, as well as many other incredible edibles like Chicago style dogs, a Kitsap kraut dog, a Coney Island dog, monster corned beef and pastrami sandwiches, Italian beef sandwiches, knishes (seasoned mashed potato with a crispy crust), Italian ices and specialty sodas.

“It all started 47 years ago in Brooklyn, the food capital of the world,” Lipson said. “Back then kids were weaned off of formula and right on to cream soda. Then there was the progression from baby food to knishes. I remember my whole family piling into the car to head to Nathan’s Famous in Coney Island. Now that was a place to love. What a way to grow up.”

Now Lipson is creating his own place to love. After doing extensive research and taste testing Lipson opened a cart on the Port Orchard waterfront two months ago. Based on the hundreds of hot dogs he’s hawked each weekend, western Washingtonians are going for his East Coast fare. “It couldn’t just be any hot dog,” Lipson said, “it had to be THE hot dog.”

The hot dogs are a premium New York brand, all beef with a natural casing, and Uptown Mike’s special sauces are the real deal as well. His Chicago style selections feature a neon green relish and peppers imported from the Windy City. The beverage choices also lean towards the right coast.

“I carry Coke and Diet Coke but sell very little,” Lipson said. “Customers are drawn to the east coast specialty drinks.” Those drinks include a wide variety of cream sodas (Dr. Brown’s, Moxie Orange and Frostie Blue), Jeff’s chocolate soda and Manhattan Sarsaparilla.

Lipson’s success with his stand in Port Orchard, and the opportunity to open in Bremerton prompted him to quit his old day job as a territory sales manager for a large commercial construction firm. The opening next week on the waterfront won’t mean the end to Uptown Mike’s in Port Orchard however, as Lipson will keep his cart open there as well.

“I was always mesmerized by the curbside vendors,” Lipson said. “The hot dog vendors would flip those hinged lids open and closed in a ballet of efficiency. Mustard and red onions, or mustard and kraut. I could never get enough. Eat big with attitude. That’s what I’m talkin’ about.”

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