By MICHAEL WATERSON | American Canyon Eagle
From pounding fenders to steaming frankfurters, Fernando Barrientos has had a diverse career.
A resident of American Canyon for 24 years, Barrientos was in the auto body business for 37 years, the last 10 in Napa where he ran Fernando’s Auto Body off Soscol Avenue.
He was put out of business by the 2005 New Year’s Eve flood when his landlord declined to repair flood damage, choosing instead to demolish the older commercial building.
“The water came up to here,” said Barrientos, indicating his waist.
Today Barrientos, father of four and grandfather of five, is the proprietor of American Canyon Hot Dogs, a hot dog stand he tows around town with his pick up truck.
Brent Cooper, director of community development, confirmed that, other than ice cream trucks, American Canyon Hot Dogs is the city’s first licensed food vendor.
His adult daughter, Cristina, lent him $7,500 to buy a brand new hot dog cart and he customized it by adding umbrellas for shade and extending the trailer hitch on his truck. He got his business license last year after some delay.
“They had no policy,” Barrientos said of the city’s planning department, “I was the first.” American Canyon Hot Dogs became the prototype for food vendor permits.
Additionally, he had to meet insurance and health department requirments and pass inspection.
He has regular locations: on Main Street Friday’s 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., at Paint Ball Jungle Saturdays and Sundays 11 a.m.-2p.m. and at Napa Valley College for lunch two days a week. The college recently closed its cafeteria and invited food trucks onto the Napa campus during lunchtime in order to reduce the school budget.
Barriento also stops by Napa Valley Casino and City Hall on a regular basis.
The menu includes canyon dogs, polish dogs and hot links.