BELLAIRE - Whenever Paul Gulla meets with the employees who cook and serve the famous Gulla's Lunch hot dogs, he reminds them of a conversation he once had with his great-grandfather.
"He told me, 'If you are going to serve something, make sure it looks like something you would want to eat,'" said Gulla, who is the current owner/operator of the Belmont Street business. Gulla's great-grandfather, Paolo Gulla, opened the lunch counter on Feb. 15, 1929.
Gulla knows that a decline in the local job market over the past 30 years has forced many people to leave the Bellaire area in search of career opportunities. However, he said Gulla's is a gathering place for many people when they come back to visit relatives.
The famous hot dogs from Gulla’s Lunch in Bellaire have been a hit since the business opened in 1929.
Photo by Casey Junkins
"When people come back to town, this is one of the places they always come," said Gulla. "We have a very loyal following."
Gulla said his business does not really have a particular secret to its success. Instead, he just tries to work hard and be honest.
"We have a good product. It has always been a good product, so I try to keep everything as close to the way it has always been as I can," he said. "Generations of people know about what we do, and we try to maintain our traditions."
Gulla also said he tries to keep as much of the company's revenue in Bellaire as possible, so he purchases goods from local vendors whenever he can.
"We try to help out with all the community programs we can. I think people appreciate what you do in the community," he said.