If I have to be at work on a holiday weekend, I can’t complain too much about going to the beach.
A co-worker and I got the unenviable task of going to Grand Haven for the afternoon. Once we were all wrapped up at Grand Haven Start Park, we headed downtown for a few minutes. Before leaving town, I asked if it would be ok if I picked up a few Pronto Pups before leaving. Actually, no wait. I didn’t ask. I told him that was happening.
Pronto Pup is a Grand Haven institution. The small stand serving nothing but Pronto Pups has been on the harbor in downtown Grand Haven since 1947. It’s a seasonal business only open during the summer months and on peak beach-going days, the line can end up pretty far down the sidewalk.
Pronto Pups themselves are not unique to Grand Haven. They were actually invented in 1941 in Portland, Oregon. The name “Pronto Pup” actually refers to a specific brand and not a generic item.
At first glance, you’d say that the Pronto Pup is nothing more than a corn dog. Close, but not quite. The Pronto Pup is made with a wheat flour pancake batter instead of a traditional cornmeal batter. It is actually possible to buy Pronto Pup batter mix…however, I have no idea if that’s what Pronto Pup in Grand Haven does or if they make their own.
Surprisingly, when we pulled up to the stand, there was only a couple people in line. I expected it to be down the street, but we were at kind of an off time, so they weren’t quite as busy as they were when we passed a couple hours earlier.
The only thing on the menu at Pronto Pup are the namesake and Coke products. When ordering, all you have to do is tell the person how many you want and if you want ketchup, mustard, or both on the finished dogs.
I ordered three Pronto Pups with just mustard. The cost was $5.25 and they only accept cash as payment.
There are only two people working the little stand..as that’s all there’s really room for. One of them is dipping dogs and dropping them in the vegetable oil. The other paints on the condiments and takes your money.
The three Pronto Pups were handed over to me about 30 seconds after I ordered. I walked away eating #1 and had it finished before I made the ten foot walk to where my car was waiting.
The Pronto Pup, while similar, is significantly different from a Corn Dog. The batter is much lighter and thinner on the hand dipped Pronto Pups and it is much crispier all the way through to the hot dog.
Pronto Pup is absolutely a must stop anytime you are in Grand Haven during the summer months. There’s nothing fancy about it, but it’s the kind of stand that has staying power because it will illicit memories from you child hood when you take your own kids there someday. If there is a can’t miss treat along Michigan West Coast, this is it.