New owners to continue hot dog shop’s legacy

The new owners of Altoona’s Original Texas Dogs Brian and Julie Lutz (left) join former owners Cindy and Bob Lamont at the 1122 12th Ave., restaurant. Mirror photo by Walt Frank

Sometimes timing is everything.

Just days after Bob and Cindy Lamont decided to sell their business — Altoona’s Original Texas Hot Dogs, 1122 12th Ave. — Brian Lutz walked into the restaurant.

Lutz and his wife, Julie, became owners of the business on Aug. 1.

“He walked in at a perfect time. I’ve known his family and know how hardworking he is. It was the right family. I’ve known Brian since he was a toddler; he was like family to us. We are friends with his dad, Carl, and he has been a longtime customer,” Cindy Lamont said.

The Lamonts decided to sell the business — founded by Bob’s grandfather Peter George in 1918 — in January.

They had hoped their daughter, Sophia, would take over the business, but she said she wasn’t ready.

“She asked if we could hold on for another five years. (Bob) wanted to retire. We had a family meeting to discuss this,” Cindy Lamont said.

Cindy Lamont said they had received several offers to buy the business.

“Others didn’t want to run it the way we did. This is a specific traditional diner, and we didn’t want that environment to leave town,” Cindy Lamont said.

Brian and Julie were seen as perfect to take over the business.

“We knew them. They were a married couple. We wanted to pass it on to another couple and keep the tradition, not make it a deli or a drive-in thing,” Cindy Lamont said.

She admitted it was not easy to sell the longtime family business.

“We struggled over that. It is something we have done as a labor of love, putting in 60-hour weeks. We’ve enjoyed meeting generations of families for 47 years,” Cindy Lamont said.

Brian and Julie are excited to take over.

“We both grew up in Altoona and understand the history; it is part of Altoona. We wanted to be a part of the history and to carry on their legacy. That is pretty amazing,” Julie Lutz said. “We are proud they gave us the opportunity.

“Our goal is to carry on their legacy and make them proud of us. Nothing is going to change,” she said.

They have changed the name slightly to “Altoona’s Original Texas Dogs.”

Brian has a business background as he owns Brian Lutz Painting, and Julie worked for several years at Little Caesar’s Pizza.

The new owners will continue to serve the same quality food and have been given the secret chili sauce recipe originally made by Peter George.

“How would they stay open without the secret recipe?” Bob Lamont asked.

Seven full- and part-time employees have remained with the new owners, making the transition easier.

Bob has been assisting with the transition and will continue to work on a part-time basis as needed.

“I now don’t wear out a pair of shoes every month,” he joked.

Cindy Lamont expects the new owners to be successful.

“The economy in the downtown has turned around. We went through some hard times downtown. We wanted to wait until it turned around so they would do well and prosper,” Cindy Lamont said. “It is a destination place. People want to come to Altoona’s Original. We are thankful for the economy right now.”

Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.