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Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Ultimate Hot Dog
By Jay Cridlin
Published June 28, 2007
The only thing more remarkable than Mel's unique car out front is the hot dogs themselves. Try the slaw dog!
[Luis Santana | Times]
The full winner's list
Every week for six months, tbt* asked its loyal readers to vote on their favorite bars, restaurants, personalities and attractions in Tampa Bay. And now we've compiled the winners into this collection of 25 ultimate choices.
Mel's Hot Dogs, Tampa
A film crew shooting a television pilot about mom and pop restaurants recently stopped by Mel's Hot Dogs at lunchtime. It would be hard to pick a better time and place to get footage. Every day, hungry workers come from as far away as downtown Tampa just for one of Mel's chili dogs, reuben dogs, bacon cheddar dogs, or Mel's piece de resistance, the slaw dog. The Vienna beef dogs, served on poppy seed buns, snap with each bite, from the Lite Mel (70 percent less fat!) to the Mighty Mel (it weighs a quarter pound!). There's a reason Mel's patrons have sent in photos of themselves in Mel's T-shirts from around the globe (you can find these pictures on the walls at Mel's) - the hot dogs are just that good. Mel's Hot Dogs: 4136 E Busch Blvd., Tampa, (813) 985-8000, www.melshotdogs.com.