Top Dog is an institution in Berkeley, Calif. serving gourmet sausages on toasted French rolls to legions of Cal students and Bay Area locals for over 50 years. My friends and I were regulars back in college, so when I read of its struggles during the pandemic, I packed the kids in the car for the 45-minute drive to get a bit of comfort food and support the small business.

Perhaps it was the nostalgia of being on campus again. Or maybe it was seeing the empty, boarded-up streets of Telegraph and Durant Avenues. Whatever it was, as we loaded the bags filled with hundreds of hot dogs in my trunk, I realized that I might have overdone it.

I had an inventory problem.

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