After 94 years in the Touloupas family, Zack’s Hotdogs’ third-generation owner, Zack Touloupas, has sold the iconic Burlington eatery to a businessman outside of his family.
“It was time for me to retire,” Zack said. “I’ve done it for 41 years. After two years of COVID, it was the perfect time.”
Zack is named after his grandfather, who opened the hotdog restaurant in Burlington in 1928 after immigrating to the U.S. from Greece. Zack said he began helping out at the restaurant when he was five years old, and by 1981, he’d become its most recent owner, assuming the position from his father, John Touloupas.
For the past four decades, Zack and his wife Sheila Touloupas have kept his grandfather's vision for Zack’s Hotdogs alive, and Zack said he expects the same to continue despite the change in ownership.
“They profess to say that they’re going to keep everything the same,” Zack said.
This includes the restaurant’s secret chili recipe, which was developed by the elder Zack Touloupas and, according to the restaurant's website, is the secret to its success.
Considering his extensive history with the restaurant, Zack referred to Zack’s Hotdogs as “all I’ve ever known” and said he will help throughout the summer to ease the transition.
Though Zack did not disclose the identity of the new owner, he said he hopes they will maintain the legacy of the restaurant and its relationship with the Burlington community.
“Do it the same way,” Zack said. “Care about your product. Care about your customers. Care about your employees.”