Chili Man is actually a hot dog cart at South Tryon and Fourth streets in uptown Charlotte — and the owner, Victor Werany, goes by the “Chili Man” nickname.
Chili Man ranked No. 1 on Money magazine’s Top 10 list based on an algorithm that included the number of Yelp reviews as well as Yelp’s star-rating system, according to the magazine. The magazine and Yelp chose no more than one hot dog establishment per state for the Top 10.
Chili Man was named tops the country in part because of its “charismatic owner,” the magazine said.
“Regulars describe Werany as a ‘nut ball,’ frequently wearing a Captain America T-shirt to work amid the bankers in downtown Charlotte,” the magazine said..
Money magazine also pointed out that Werany was named Charlottean of the Year by Charlotte Magazine last year. The honor recognized Werany for assisting in the creation of a nonprofit that helps a family pay for their child’s spina bifida treatments, Money said.
According to a 2015 Charlotte Observer profile article, Werany, a native of Middletown, New York, moved to the Queen City in 1995 with his wife, Tara. He previously worked as a comedian, chef, camp counselor and a bar manager before his wife came up with the street cart idea, the article said.
Chili Man told the Observer in 2015 that the street cart let him be home with the couple’s children after school and avoid being told ‘you are too loud’ by almost every former boss he had.
Charlotte regularly appears in Top 10 rankings, some good — and some not-so-good.
In April, Orkin, the pest control company, ranked Charlotte ninth and Raleigh-Durham No. 17 among the nation’s top 50 cities for mosquitoes.
Skeeters or no, Money magazine ranked Charlotte No. 1 Best Big-City Bargain in the country in its 2014 Best Places to Live list.
And in November 2017, the Cost Conscious Consumer Index ranked Charlotte as the most socially responsible big city in America, based on its earth-friendly practices, socially conscious shoppers and nonprofit giving.