The Top Secret Hot Dog Stand

Samuel Reason | June 9th, 2018

In the middle of the Pentagon’s center courtyard, there was a hot dog stand that caused much confusion and mayhem during the Cold War. In fact, it is thought that the USSR always had at least two missiles aimed at this hot dog stand during the height of the tensions. And the reason for this is that their satellites spotted that high ranking military officers met there every day at the same time. The USSR believed that this hot dog stand was actually the main meeting point for top-secret meetings.

atlasobscura.com

The Soviets could see via their satellites large groups of U.S military officers, always like clockwork entering and exiting the hot dog stand at the same time. This led them to believe it was the entrance to a top secret underground bunker. Actually, the officers were not going to any military briefings they were just going to lunch with their friends.

The legend of this hot dog stand is a part of the Pentagon tour with guides usually mentioning to tourists that Soviet nuclear arsenal was always being pointed at the little stand. Due to the rumors and legends, the hot dog stand earned the nickname Cafe Ground Zero: the deadliest restaurant in the world.

However, to our knowledge, this story has never actually been confirmed by Russian officials, so maybe it really is just a big urban legend. The Pentagon did declare it a national landmark in 1992 though because it the building is the centerpiece of the Pentagon’s courtyard.

In 2006, the days of the hot stand being the biggest nuclear target were official over. The building had become just too old to be an eating facility having been build in the 80s. The decision was made to demolish it and build a modern updated facility in the same design. It had not been used for many years, which was why the Pentagon decided it was time for an updated eatery in their courtyard.

In the spirit of keeping the urban legend going, they decided to keep the wooden owl that stands on top of the hot dog stand, to place on the new building. Let’s hope the new building is never a nuclear target.

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