Eatery Charged $500 Fine For Hot Dog Cookout

ST. PAUL (WCCO) — The grill in Tin Cup’s kitchen is always busy. In fact, their grill recently produced two one-pound burgers for the cable TV show “Man Vs. Food.”

But on a Sunday in October, near some small tents in front of the bar, hot dogs were cooking on a backyard grill.

You don’t need a permit to grill hot dogs at your home, but you do need a permit to grill them outside a bar in St. Paul. The owners of Tin Cup’s bar learned that the hard way, and had to pay a $500 fine.

“I think it’s a little stiff for a first-time offence, especially if you try to do everything that they did, and try to do it right,” said customer Tom Kapaun. “Maybe the City Council is mad they weren’t invited.”

The hot dogs were being grilled to give away, not to sell, but in the end that didn’t matter.

“We gave them away free, nobody had to purchase anything in order to get a free hot dog,” said Tin Cup’s co-owner Gidget Bailey.

The law says restaurants can’t give away food they make in their kitchens, so that’s why the hot dogs were cooked outside. The owners say they had asked the state health department about the grilling, but not the city.

“They told me there was no fire zone out there, so I was OK there,” said Bailey. “Was I going to be serving them outside? I said, ‘No, I would be bringing them inside for the patrons to eat inside.’ And they said then I did not have to pull a special event permit.”

The city ruled, however, that a special permit was needed. But now that the fine is paid, Tin Cup’s owners have had T-shirts made, poking fun at the whole ordeal. The shirts read: “Got a permit for that weiner?”

“You have to have a sense of humor about it. It would drive you crazy if you took it too seriously,” said co-owner Joan Knippenberg.

tin cups grilling 1 Eatery Charged $500 Fine For Hot Dog Cookout

(credit: CBS)

  • Brett

    No wonder that St. Paul is so dysfunctional. Thank the mayor and city council for this prime example of 21st century liberal stupidity.

    • Hey

      I’m a liberal and I think it’s pretty stupid what the City did. Does that make me a conservative?

      • Bill

        Yes. If you are anti-stupid you are a conservative.

        • Hey

          Well then that settles it. The Mayor and City Council are idiots, and conservatives are all going to vote for Obama in 2012.

          Wow. Being a conservative is pretty easy!

        • Smarternbilleverwas

          Making George W. Bush’s trillion-dollar invasion of a country that never attacked us an act of genius! Now get out your checkbook and pay up.

  • Jake

    Minneapolis is just as bad. It’s all about raising more money to pay all of their idle employees or to fund their over-bloated pensions so they can retire at 50 and make $100K. Wait until November. People are fed up with all government and will be voting for a smaller government. Layoffs anyone?

    • BUD

      No Most people in MPL’s are to dumb to lay-off goverment workers.They want to keep getting the Free/easy money so they won’t stop or slow down the money to goverment worker,that might happen to them next year if they do.
      Were do most of the people in Mn live that get free money ,even if they don’t need it.I’m know talking about the one’s that [need] help.I’m talking about the one’s that [want] money.

    • Hahaha!!

      Why is it you guys are always whining about people who have really good jobs? You’re saying if you had the chance at a job that nice, you wouldn’t jump all over it?

      Huh. That’d be kinda…dumb. Wouldn’t it?

  • Hmm

    Wow these people are fools, and guess what Brett and Jake are here how fitting.

  • Bill

    You exist for the government to feed on.

    Welcome to socialism.

    • Ha!!

      And yet another crank who styles himself a conservative.

  • Rubin

    Stupid is as stupid does. Whether you’re a Dem or a Repub, this is just plain idiotic!

  • Laurie Matson

    I think it sucks. here they were giving the hot dogs away outside because ther’e is a law against doing it inside, and they thought they were doing the right thing, then they are slapped with a 500.00 fine. way too much punishment for giving away free hotdogs outside MISTAKENLY without a permit. Shame on you St. Paul for too heavy of a fine during a financialy tough time for a lot of people. give that excessive fine to the red cross or the salvation army and turn that fine into a positive thing!!!!

  • ron

    I Wasnt all that impressed with my $10 burger and a few fries, after my 2nd attempt at eating here. The first time in I asked for a burger, waitress wouldnt serve me because i was sitting at the bar, I left. Talked to the owner a few days later, and she was very nice offering me a burger, I declined. I counted 9 employees on the premises, some eating so dont know if they were working, to cover 13 customers. With this labor ratio good luck on that first year, said to myself I probably wouldnt return but because of the stupid city hitting up these folks for $500 bucks for grilling, I will spend a few more bucks here. Come on St Paul you let criminals off with smaller fines you morons.

    • Bud


  • Dave Seavy

    I don’t begrudge anybody getting a government job. If I was offered a good paying job with bennies of course I’d take it. That has nothing to do with the issue. And the issue is common-sense, which whomever decided the bar had to pay a $500 fine obviously has none. This sort of nonsense is why Minnesota is losing businesses right and left. It’s too bad the fine has been paid. I would have started a benefit to help them fight this and expose how stupid government has become. (As if it needs more exposure)

    • And like

      the non-government sector doesn’t have it’s share of stupid?

      Please. Try to be a little less naive.

  • Adam

    who’s the moron?

    The Vienna sausage from the city the Austrians call Wien inspired the American hot dog, or wiener. Americans aren’t used to the European pronunciation of IE as “ee” and often misspell the word as “weiner.”

  • Yea I did it

    I’m a liberal and I turned the company in for safety violations. The health department must come down hard on these companies giving away food out of a wheel barrow in the parking lot.

    • Obv.

      Actually you didn’t do it because you wouldn’t have known it was against the law, you’re a dolt.

    • Ferris Lind


  • RIII

    I hope Saint Paul used some Vaseline on them first. I know of at least 2 other businesses looking to move out of the city because of this type of stupidity. A fire inspector tells a restaurant the door has to swing out then the building inspector tells them they cannot have a door that swings out onto the sidewalk and they have to spend about $9,000 + to build an entry vestibule. It is less expensive in the long run to move and not get harassed with stupidity, fines, permits and extra costs.

  • Eatery Charged $500 Fine For Hot Dog Cookout « CBS Minnesota

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