Faux hawker

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

The Midwest is known for eating meat, Columbus for eating too much of it. So you might call Tawd Bell, who sells organic vegetarian hot dogs from his Rad Dog! food cart, a revolutionary. Either way, he's one of the most interesting people in town.

Name: Tawd Bell

Age: 34

Day job: Proprietor, Rad Dog! Gourmet Meatless Hot Dogs

Neighborhood: Weinland Park

Hometown: Dayton

Web: raddogveg.blogspot.com

The hardest thing about being vegan is the convenience issue - being able to stop somewhere and grab a quick bite to eat and not fret about where the food's coming from.

It's actually way easier to find good vegan dress shoes than it is to find good vegan skate shoes.

As a kid, I was raised on meat and potatoes. I didn't know there was anything besides iceberg lettuce until after I moved out of my house. For us, ethnic food was tacos and pizza.

My wife and I have always tried to figure out ways to make a living, do it ethically but also do it in a way that we don't feel like our lives are super crazy. And do things that we love and also have time to spend with people we care about. Street vending lends itself to that.

A lot of Rad Dog! customers flip out. They're like, "I've been a vegetarian for 20 years, and I haven't had a hot dog in so long off of a stand." It makes me feel really good.

People ask me all the time if Columbus is ready for a vegetarian hot dog. I think a better question is whether Columbus is ready for a $3 hot dog.

The first tattoo I got was "Jesus" in Old English lettering down my ribs on my left side. I was 18.

Even though tattoos hurt like hell, the idea of being able to wear a story around or a piece of art around with you the rest of your life is pretty cool. I guess that's what I like most about it - the idea of storytelling or history-keeping.

Of all my piercings, the most painful place was my nipple. That sucked real bad. I don't have that one anymore, but it was really painful.

Vancouver is my favorite North American city by far. It's bordered by three mountains with ski resorts on them and the ocean. It's extremely diverse. It's very clean, very eco-friendly. You can take the bus to the base of one of the mountains, and then you take a gondola up.

My wife and I went there to work with transient street kids, squatters and stuff. There's an abnormal amount of them because it's such a temperate climate. It's really easy to live there for them. That was 14 years ago.

I'm originally from Dayton, but my dad was in the Air Force and I only lived there for a few years. We moved all around. I lived in California, Alabama, Germany, a bunch of places.

For my next project, Jennie Scheinbach from Pattycake Vegan Bakery and I are actually starting a restaurant. We're doing an all-vegan diner. I want people to be able to get vegan pancakes and a beer at 10 o'clock at night.

If I won $1 million, the first thing I'd do is pay off my debt and my friends' debts. Then start a restaurant where I don't have to work very much. Then be a full-time volunteer somewhere.