Back in June of 1951, Dan Sullivan, Sr. opened the stand for the first time offering quality food at reasonable prices and for four generations our philosophy has remained the same. Whether you make us part of your daily constitutional around the Island or are visiting us for the first time-welcome and thanks for being part of the tradition!

The top 3 most common questions heard for the last 60+ years:

1) When are you open?

We are open from the last weekend in February to the last weekend in November. Seven days a week (except for St. Patrick’s Day Parade day  and Thanksgiving). We open daily starting at 8:30 a.m. Breakfast served from 8:30-10:30. Regular menu served from 10:00 a.m. until close.

Normally we close around 9:00 p.m. on those hot summer nights when you just need to get out of the house and catch the sea breeze. Closing is weather dependent-call us: 617-268-5685 before heading down after lunch time in the fall & spring if the weather isn’t good. We’ll close if there are more seagulls than cars in the parking lot!

2) What is the deal with the line out the door?

Be not afraid-it moves fast! If you see the line stretching out of the building on a hot summer day, rest assured we are hustling inside to get you your food. We have five registers on the right. Once you are called to the register, place your order, remember your order number and move to the far left where you can grab your ketchup, straws and napkins. Food comes out quick-but proper etiquette is not hovering dead center at the counter if others are waiting for their food too. If it is a frozen yogurt or ice cream that you’re after, it is handed to you at the register. We take pride in serving high-quality food; if something didn’t meet your expectations please let us know!

3) How do you cook the hot dogs?

Our dogs and burgers are grilled on a stainless steel grill. Our dogs are all natural casing made especially for us by Kayem, that is how they earned the name ‘Sully’s snap dogs.’ The bun is tossed naked onto a large flat toaster for just the right toasty-smooshed goodness. For all of you newbies a hot dog ‘all around’ is a dog with mustard, relish and onion.

Did you know…?

Our customer appreciation weeks are legendary.

Back in the day, when Dan Sr. was running things he would quietly hand out ‘cocktails’ (a.k.a. hard liquor) to customers during the last week in November as a way of celebrating the season and saying thank you. Dan Jr. put the kibosh on that in the 70’s. As a replacement, he offered half price hot dogs during the closing weeks. We happily carry on the tradition-on opening weekend and the entire month of November we offer half price hot dogs.

Sullivan's Timeline

  • 1951

    Dan Sullivan, Sr. opens the ‘concession stand’ for the first time-an aluminum shack with drop down shutters. Hot dogs cost 15 cents.

  • 1963

    Sullivan’s second building erected. The cinderblock building stood for over 25 years. Hot dogs cost 35 cents.

  • 1976

    Bicentennial Celebration with Tall Ships parade of sail. Hot dogs cost 50 cents.

  • 1980

    Parade of Tall Ships for Boston’s 350th birthday. Hot dogs cost 80 cents.

  • 1989

    Current brick building is constructed. The façade is a replica of the officer’s quarters that once lined the walk facing the bay, circa 1807.

  • 1992

    Tall Ships arrive again, Castle Island takes center stage. Hot dogs cost $1.15.

  • 2011

    Sullivan’s celebrates its 60th year in Southie. Hot dogs cost $1.60.

Manager Spotlight

Harry Markarian

Harry Markarian

This is Harry’s 43rd year at Sully’s! Harry is THE definition of a guy with a heart of gold. Raised on Monks St., Harry joined the stand on March 15, 1970. We know this because his application is still on file…Harry admitted that his mother had to fill out his application because he’s a lefty and his penmanship was bad!

Harry has continuously worked here through high school, college and grad school. He went corporate after college but always worked weekends and now we are lucky to have him as a full time manager since 2009. Recently celebrating 30+ years of marriage to Diane, he is the dad of 3 sons and now a proud grandfather of 4 with more on the way!

“This is family-Sullivan’s is an extended family. Jimmy [retired manager Jim Barron] taught me how to drive on Castle Island in the old cadillac that Dan Sullivan, Sr. gave him. We had to go down to ‘Lover’s Lane’ and use that road so I didn’t crash into anyone! It is about the people, the customers are great. I enjoy seeing generations of families come back year after year. Castle Island is a special place.”

What is your favorite memory? “The first time the parade of Tall Ships occurred. It was the 1976 bicentennial. From the stand we could see people walking out to the Island, rows and rows of people shoulder to shoulder. It was absolutely amazing. That event spearheaded the recognition of Castle Island and ever since people have been able to connect with why this is a special place for Bostonians.”

Phrase: ‘Cooperation, Communication, Teamwork. You all right, what do you need? J-trays, cups, ketchup, you all right?’ You can’t miss Harry- when he is not out back on the hot dog grill he is out front on the last register yelling ‘Next, next in line’!

Check out Harry’s interview with Fox 25’s Maria Stephanos, click here.

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