The Cool Dog Comeback: A Delicious Barnstable Fair Tradition Returns

Cool Dog Ice Cream

BJ’s. Six Flags. Shea Stadium. Fenway Park. Universal Studios. The Barnstable County Fair. What do these places have in common? They all once sold Cool Dogs, the unique ice cream treat that delighted many until it disappeared in 2009. Recently, Cool Dogs made a surprising comeback after actress Ayo Edebiri mentioned them on “Late Night with Seth Meyers.”

Imagine this: ice cream shaped like a hot dog, placed on a cake bun, and topped with sweet condiments. That’s a Cool Dog. The inventors, Tara and Peter Franklin, who have lived in Falmouth since their first sale, brought this quirky and delicious treat to life over two decades ago.

In the early 2000s, the Franklins were well-known in the food industry. They featured in major outlets like Forbes, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and served Cool Dogs at the 2005 Super Bowl, even meeting President Bill Clinton. But since 2009, they put Cool Dogs behind them to focus on their lives in Falmouth.

That is, until Ms. Edebiri, star of “The Bear” and “Inside Out,” rekindled interest in Cool Dogs on “Late Night.” A Boston native, she fondly recalled enjoying Cool Dogs at Fenway Park as a child. Her interview reignited public interest, bringing the Franklins back into the spotlight.

Since then, the Cool Dog story has been featured in various Boston news outlets, including Boston Magazine. The Franklins, thrilled by the renewed attention, dug out their old Cool Dog merchandise. “I haven’t worn one of these in 10 years,” said Mr. Franklin. They even plan to send a T-shirt to Ms. Edebiri as a thank-you.

The Franklins have been overwhelmed with support and messages from old friends. “Facebook started blowing up,” said Ms. Franklin, with people sharing their memories of Cool Dogs.

The Barnstable County Fair holds a special place in the Cool Dogs history, being the first venue to sell them. This comeback has been a full-circle moment for the Franklins, who built the business right here in Falmouth. Their real estate brokerage even wants them to bring Cool Dogs back for a party.

The positive press has been a welcome change for the Franklins. Mr. Franklin, who retired from his role as executive director of Highfield Hall following a controversial incident in 2018, is happy to leave those days behind. They are now enjoying their life in Falmouth, surrounded by warm weather and their three dogs near Wild Harbor.

The Franklins still cherish their Cool Dog memories, with T-shirts, logos, and VHS tapes of old advertisements piled up in their kitchen. In their freezer, they keep the last-ever box of Cool Dogs, unopened for 12 years. “If it wasn’t for 2008, everybody would be eating Cool Dogs,” Mr. Franklin said.

“You can’t eat a Cool Dog and not have a smile on your face,” Ms. Franklin added. “It was the happiest product ever.”

Now, the Franklins are toying with the idea of bringing Cool Dogs back on a small scale, just for parties and local friends. “We’re thinking of getting sausage equipment and retrofitting it for ice cream,” Ms. Franklin said. “It might work,” Mr. Franklin added.

As we look forward to this year’s Barnstable County Fair, the story of Cool Dogs reminds us of the joy and nostalgia tied to these sweet treats. Here’s to hoping we see them back at the Fair, bringing smiles to faces old and new.

View the original article on The Enterprise, Falmouth.

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