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10 Years of Grilling at U of T Scarborough: Nasir’s Hotdog Stand

Nasir Alhuttam has been grilling food at U of T Scarborough for ten years. (Photo by Ken Jones)

Carving himself into the campus identity, he is undoubtedly one of the most popular faces at the University of Toronto Scarborough. 

Nasir al-Huttam, the owner of Nasir’s Hotdog Stand, recently celebrated his 10th anniversary at UTSC.

“You can’t do it alone, and I am always open to new suggestions. I have been able to grow because of my loyal customers,” says al-Huttam. 

Having a hotdog stand wasn’t al-Huttam’s plan. He came to Canada nearly 20 years ago from Yemen, where he worked in the field of computer numerical control.

Finding a job in his field was tough, and in the midst of dealing with unemployment, al-Huttam was asked to step in for a friend and work at a York University hotdog stand for two weeks.

“When I looked at the students, staff and the school environment, it was very pleasant, and I was enjoying my job,” says al-Huttam. “I was good at it.”

After falling in love with the university community, he wanted to open his own hotdog stand, but the question was where. He was already living in Scarborough and worked at Popeyes on Military Trail. That’s when the location came to him—what about U of T Scarborough?

“He's very down to earth and always puts the customer’s needs first,” says second year Management Co-op student Brady Vallbacka. “In a society that is constantly growing and with corporations dominating, the kind of customer service Nasir offers is a lot harder to find.”

The range of sauces and the option of calling or texting to order are some features that Alhuttam made available based on recommendations from his customers.

Despite all the sauces and toppings at his stand, al-Huttam personally likes his hotdog simple. “I like onions, ketchup and sometimes relish, but if it’s a sausage, I like olives and mustard,” he says.

“Whenever I go and get hotdogs at Nasir’s hotdog stand it’s the full hotdog experience. It’s always consistent and delicious every time.” says Jimi Wei, a fourth-year Environmental Geoscience student. 

“I see him more as our campus mascot than the raccoon.” 

Students attending UTSC's fall convocation ceremony on the evening of November 8th, 2016 were thrilled when speaker Colette Murphy, Executive Director of the Atkinson Foundation, incorporated al-Huttam's stand into her address. "When I asked him what he would say to graduates at convocation if he had the chance, he didn’t hesitate," she says. His advice? “There will be ups and downs, but just keep going. Don’t give up.” Read the full text of Colette Murphy's address.

As his popularity continues to grow, al-Huttam has a bigger vision for the future.

“One day I want a food truck, where I can provide more than just hotdogs. I can even make biryani and burgers,” he says.

Al-Huttam was featured in Stories of UTSC; hear more about his story here.

© University of Toronto Scarborough