A white bow hangs over the "closed" sign of Pete's Famous Hot Dogs. It's been there since Tuesday, when the narrow shop on 2nd Avenue North shut its doors after the news broke about owner Constantine "Gus" Koutroulakis' death.
Family members, friends, neighbors and loyal customers are expressing their sympathy to the Koutroulakis family as well as fond memories of Gus on a couple different Facebook groups. Members of two different "Pete's Famous Hot Dogs" groups on Facebook, which together have nearly 400 fans, are leaving their well-wishes on the wall of the pages.
"Gus, My daddy used to take me every other week to Pete's for a Grapico and a Dog..you were part of my life growing up and a BIG part of Birmingham, Alabama. THANK YOU and know you're making a lot of people some great Dogs 'with everything' in heaven right now," wrote Courtney Floyd.
Dorothy Bridges added her memory of regular visits to Pete's Famous Hot Dogs:
"When I was little you got all dressed up to go down town and even though you were in your best Sunday cloths you went to Pete's famous hot dogs for a hot dog and Grapieco. The high light of the trip [sic]," she said.
One of Gus' former neighbors wrote about what it was like to live next door to the man known for his famous hot dog sauce.
"Growing up next door to Gus was a treat! We'd know he was at home when we could smell his chili and sauce cooking. It is a fond memory of my childhood. Every so often, we'd get a surprise bottle. Gus will be missed," wrote Georgia Trigg Cashion.
Many of the Pete's Famous Hot Dogs fans said they'll miss not only the experience of eating a hot dog grilled by Gus, but more importantly, the man himself.
"RIP Gus, you will be missed. I don't know if food is a part of the afterlife, but if so, I know your dogs will continue to be a hit forever," wrote Frank Graham.
Funeral arrangements have been determined for Constantine "Gus" Koutroulakis. A viewing will be held at 5 p.m. Friday, April 8 at Johns-Ridout's Funeral Home in the 2100 block of University Boulevard. A prayer service will follow the viewing at 7:30 p.m.
The funeral service will be held Saturday, April 9 at 11 a.m. at the Holy Trinity Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church on 19th Street and 3rd Avenue South in Birmingham. The burial will follow at Elmwood Cemetery.
Copyright 2011 WBRC. All rights reserved.
1720 Valley View Drive