Carolina Alumni Review 61
At Dick’s, you always see
someone you know
Lee Gliarmis ’ 50 fully intended to use his Carolina degree in physical education in the coaching profession. Sports was in his blood. He grew up
in Wilson, the home of a Class B Virginia
League baseball team, and his father, Socrates, aka “Dick,” was a hearty supporter
of local sports through the small restaurant
he’d opened in 1921 on Nash Street on the
northern outskirts of the eastern North
Carolina tobacco town.
Originally a walk-up, Dick’s Hot Dog
Stand was just a block from the old baseball park and was a beehive before, during
and after games.
“We didn’t have TVs or computers back
then,” Lee Gliarmis said. “Kids played
sports all day, every day. Sports teams were
the bonds that held a small town together.
I just loved it and wanted to be a part of it.”
Just after graduation, Gliarmis returned
to Wilson for what he thought would be
just a few weeks to “help out” around the
restaurant — his father’s health was failing.
His only brother, Richard, had been killed
in the Battle of the Bulge in 1944, and
there were no other younger family mem-
bers to shoulder the load.
Socrates Gliarmis died in 1951, and Lee
has never left.
“Daddy put so much time and heart
into this place over 30 years, I just hated
to let it go. Now, I’ve become just like my
daddy — I can’t get away from here. It gets
in your blood, and you can’t let go.”
It’s 10 a.m. on a Saturday, and Gliarmis
is doing just what he does six days a week.
One minute he’s giving his son Socra-
tes, called “Soc,” a hand by dabbing one
of Dick’s signature hot dogs with mustard,
onions and a fine-grain homemade chili.
Then he’s chopping onions in the blink of
an eye while carrying on a conversation
with the guy sitting at the counter. “I’ll
put my dad against anyone in the world
chopping an onion,” Soc said. “He can
chop one onion in literally seconds.”
Dick’s menu amounts to one side of a
laminated sheet. Hot dogs — “millions
enjoyed” — cost $1.85. In the late 1970s,
Dick’s Hot Dogs opened 93 years ago as a walk-up stand. Lee Gliarmis ’ 50 expected he’d be there just a short time after college, but he took over
when his father died in 1951 — and can be found there today, cooking chili and serving hot dogs, cheeseburgers and Greek gyros.
Step Up to the Plate