The Guatemalan Chevere Hot Dog Cart

Chevere Cart in San Francisco El Grande Church

“Chevere” is a Venezuelan Spanish word which means cool, fine, excelent, okay, just to mention a few of its meaning. Well, about the origin of the chevere word, I don’t know; perhaps it is not even Venezuelan. Nonetheless, the word is understood and used in Central America.

In Guatemala, a company of hot dogs decided to use it as its name in the late seventies or early eighties. The company did things right and it was a total hit and the Chevere brand became almost as omnipresent as Coca Cola, Pepsi and the Gallo Beer. It was everywhere.

The Chevere hot dog is very simple indeed, and maybe that was its strong point. The Guatemalan chevere hot was prepared (and still is) with a bun, one or two salchichas (Spanish for hot dog sausage), grated raw cabbage, mustard, mayonnaise and ketchup; Picamás green chili sauce made from chiltepes was available on request.

I don’t know what happened to the company in the late eighties or nineties, but today you can barely find the infamous Chevere hot dog cart in a few places, like Panjachel, Xela, La Antigua and Guatemala City.

In La Antigua Guatemala I have seen three Chevere hot dog carts: one on the Alameda Santa Lucí­a, in front of the Rafael Landivar Memorial; another cart right across the IGSS park on the road to San Felipe; and the Chevere cart picture above right outside the San Francisco El Grande Church (burial home to Santo Hermano Pedro de Betancourt).

Here is a question for those who have visited Guatemala and for those Guatemalans living abroad, when was the last time you had a Chevere hot dog and where? Did you have more than one?

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  • http://www.andersondailyphoto.wordpress.com Lessie

    Great photo. Love the blue sky against the darkened ruins — and slightly garish hot dog cart. Very chevere photo!

  • Claudia

    Rudy I remember those from when I was little – it was a nice treat we would go to Esquilandia (I think that was the name) and sometimes on avenida de la Reforma we would eat a Chevere or go to Helados, but I forgot the name of the ice cream place . . . Nostalgic.

    • Chente

      The family of a friend of mine were the owners of the ice cream place in Reforma, it was Helados Gloria. Now my friend started again the business, now you can find it in Miraflores Mall.

  • Sandra Sweeney

    It was somewhat of a tradition, when ever my dad came to visit us in San Antonio Suchitepequez, we went “al parque a comer un chevere”. That was back in the early 80’s. I have not seen my Dad or had a chevere ever since…I agree with Claudia, Nostalgic Day. Can you do something cheerful tomorrow?

  • Javier

    Rudy, I think for me it was back in 1980, around parque central in
    Guatemala city.

  • http://www.secret-tenerife.com/ Pamela

    I’m sure old San Pedro would be just fine with hot dogs being sold there. There are certainly enough of ‘em sold around his birthplace anyway! :)

    What was the name of that Stevie Wonder song (from way back in the 70’s) that had the word Chevere in the lyrics? Sung it before, but never knew what it meant! Not even now, actually, which I find strange because I know so many Venezuelans or Canarians who have lived in Venezuela.

  • http://www.onewayphotoblog.wordpress.com One Way

    Nice shot… I am particularly enjoying reading all your little commentaries — I have certainly learnt a few things about Guatemala and Latin America. Keep up the good work!

  • http://www.hellofromhere.blogspot.com LD

    The last time I had a Chevere was in early December, shortly before I left Guatemala.

    It was after a hot, sweaty night of salsa, merengue and reggaeton dancing in a bar in Xela. After that, what better place to go than the Parque Central and the Chevere cart?

    On the other side of the sidewalk from the hotdog cart, the convenience store on the edge of the park had one window that an employee would slide open. People would ask for Gallo beer or XL (which is rum– the Guatemalan-made Ron Botran XL), stick some cash through the window and their illicit after-hours alcohol would come through the open window. I stuck with the orange pop in a plastic cup that comes with the hotdog purchase.

    Good times.

  • marvin

    Hi,

    There’s a Chevere restaurant in the basement of “Centro Comercial Zona 4″, near City Hall (Municipalidad) in Guatemala. The last time I went for Cheveres, was last year at Interfer in “Parque de la Industria”, Guatemala. I think they always set up a stand there, every year. Enjoy.

  • Coltrane_lives

    Hotdogs make the world seem smaller. I had not known about the Chevre dog until today. Gracias from a fellow who grew up in northern Illinois (USA) and ate a lot of hotdogs at baseball games. Go Cubs!

  • http://antiguadailyphoto.com Rudy

    Lessie, Oh year there is church there in the background. I forgot to talk about that.

    Claudia, I’m glad the mood the photo arose in you was nostalgia. That is exactly what I meant.

    Sandra, my little sister. I thought of view with this photo. I had you in my mind. I will try to find something cheerful for you… maybe this weekend. It is the town fair of San Pedro Las Huertas. Stay tune. I love you!

    Javier, please don’t bring those memories… Parque Central… I have some awesome photos from it. Check them out.

    Pamela, just like hamburgers, hot dogs can be found anywhere now. But they are prepared differently in each location.

    ONEway, I am glad that my sharing the information I come across is useful or at least entertaining.

    LD, I will treat the cheveres next time you come. Great nostalgic anecdote.

    Marvin, I forgot about the restaurants. Thanks for you reminder and comment.

    Coltrane_live, hot dogs are a universal junk food now. Go Giants!

  • http://www.willydogs.com Will R Hodgskiss

    Hi,

    I am in the hot dog business myself as founder & Top Dog of Willy Dog
    http://www.willydogs.com . I met with the owner of Chevere the last time about 1999. I was trying to do a joint venture, etc. The owner, Agosto whose last name I forget but will look up if anyone needs it, was of German descent. He told me that Chevere is a slang word for “the very best”. At that time he told me that the Chevere chain included about 1000 hot dog carts, 15 fast food restaurants, bakeries & meat packing.
    Agosto was a very nice fellow & we met several times but never got anything off the ground together.

  • Andrés A.

    Last time I had a Chevere was when I was visiting my family in Xela back in Dec06-Jan07. After partying at Gargolas, Zona Gallo, or el Duende, we’d head down to Parque Central and have one or two or three. The funniest thing is, they don’t just sell them in one size (los de Q5). They are not medium (los de Q7) and large (los de Q8) which have 2 sausages! Booming business I tell you, and friggin’ tasty!

  • George R.

    In response to Mr. Hodgskiss, Agusto is actually my uncle.
    His name is Agusto Alarcon. I will be traveling to Guatemala in January and hope to see him and have a couple of Cheveres myself.

  • http://www.willydogs.com Will Hodgskiss

    Hi.
    I am in Guatemala now. I may call Agosto again. I have not seen him since 1993. I hope he is well.
    Pass on my Emil please.

    Will. willrhodgskiss@aol.com

  • Tony V

    I haven’t had one of those since I came to the US 1984. But I am planning to have one this year 2009.

  • Pingback: Another Shuco Hot Dog Por Favor | La Antigua Guatemala Daily Photo()

  • Chente

    The ice cream place in Reforma was Helados Gloria. You can find it now in Miraflores.

  • alfredo

    does anybody knows how to make a chevere

  • L-DN

    in “el parque” xela jun 2009
    i hope someone can tell me how to make it at home with what kind orr brand of hot dog sausage Thanks

  • Rod

    I think the real key to the recipe was the cole slaw. The bun was steamed which was nice, the dogs boiled. That could be replicated but I have yet to get the slaw right. I beleive there was some carrot in there to make the taste slightly sweet.

    If anyone knows, please post it here.

    Thanks,

    Rod

  • Glorri6

    I was visiting in Guatemala city when I had the last Chevere Hot Dog in 1977, I believe the cole slaw had grated carrots in it and mixed with a little vinegar.

  • Mario Campollo

    The last time I have a chevere hotdog was a month ago and it was in the town of Villanueva, not the same taste like 30 years ago, but it was good, I think depends who make the cole slaw.

    • http://antiguadailyphoto.com Rudy

      Hi Mario, there are a lot of clones of Chevere, but you can still find the originals in Zona 1 in Guatemala City. Buen provecho.

      Sent from my iPad

  • annonymous

    The Ice Cream place was probably Patsy