If you've never heard of Thelma's Hot Dogs in Nutter Fort, you may not be alone, but you are missing out. Thelma's has been serving the area for almost 60 years. In all that time, they've never advertised and only relied on word of mouth. After Thelma and her husband retired, her son Billy Joe DeFazio took over the family business, and has kept it going strong.
"They ran it for 42 years, and they retired, and my wife Regina there and I took it over, and it will be 17 years for us this July," said DeFazio.
And that family connection is at the center of all they do. DeFazio said he will only serve food that he'd serve his own family, and signs of their impact are everywhere, from the picture of Thelma on the wall, to the signs advertising specials made by his own young granddaughters. But when it comes to the cooking, there's only been a select few running the show.
"In the 59 years that we've been here, there's only been 4 people behind that bar: my mom and dad and me and my wife. And I'm here by myself, so I have to have stuff that I can do to get people in and out quick," DeFazio said.
He does everything by himself, too, from cooking, to bussing, to taking orders, Thelma's is a one-man show for most of the day, until his wife comes in after working her other job. Since DeFazio and his wife do it all themselves, the menu is pretty small, but customers at the restaurant said it doesn't make a difference to them, because you can't go wrong with anything.
"My favorite thing to get is actually a sausage sandwich, but they're so big, it's actually hard to eat. Looking at me, you wouldn't know it, but I'm not a very big eater, but I love the burgers here too, they're fantastic. But like I said, everything's great," said James Jack, a Harrison County resident who comes to Thelma's multiple times each week.
And at the end of the day, DeFazio said he has one simple goal when customers walk out the door.
"Watching people leave out with a full belly and a smile on their face, that's good for me. That's all I can ask for," DeFazio said.