MIKE ROTHMAN

Mike Rothman works the Skippy’s grill in 2010. Rothman, who was diagnosed with brain cancer, died Friday morning in Harrisburg, Pa.

The fundraiser for Skippy’s Hot Dogs is set to begin Saturday at 10 a.m., with dozens of local restaurant employees and others volunteering to reopen the restaurant for one week.

Skippy’s, at 624 W. Fourth St., will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. through April 30 to raise money for owner Mike Rothman, who has brain cancer.

Local restaurateurs announced the fundraiser April 7 as a way to help Rothman cover his medical bills.

Skippy’s is a small restaurant that has relied on Rothman’s presence — in particular, his freshly baked pretzel hot dog buns — to operate. It has been closed since Rothman was hospitalized Feb. 25.

A GoFundMe campaign raised more than $15,000 for Rothman in 20 days, but Rothman’s bills are considerable as he continues treatment near his parents’ home in Harrisburg, Pa.

More than 12 local restaurants will donate their staff and time to reopen Skippy’s.

The restaurant will have a limited menu of hot dogs, chips, fries and drinks for the week, said Will Kingery, a co-owner of Willow’s Bistro, King’s Crab Shack and Silo Bistro and bar. “And we will have veggie dogs for vegetarians.”

Hot dogs will cost $4, fries $3, chips $1 and drinks $1.

The menu will include Skippy’s popular Chicago and Reuben dogs. And each restaurant will offer a special hot dog of the day.

“Willow’s will do applewood smoked bacon with chipotle slaw. King’s Crab Shack will do crab and a remoulade sauce,” Kingery said.

Di Lisio’s will offer a New Jersey dog with peppers, onions and potatoes. Mary’s Gourmet Diner will do a Croque Monsieur dog with a French toast bun and Cacio de Roma cheese sauce.

Except for Mary’s hot dog, the hot dogs will be on regular buns, not Rothman’s famed pretzel buns.

Also, the fries will not be hand-cut like Rothman’s.

“Just with all the volunteers, some of whom don’t have much experience, it made sense to use pre-cut fries,” Kingery said.

He said that the Sysco food service company is donating cases of fries, US Foods is donating buns and Pepsi is donating drinks.

Other donations have come from Tarheel Buffers, who worked on the floor, and American Federal Chemicals, who sanitized the restaurant.

“We’ve had just an incredible response to this,” Kingery said. “We have a lot of the top chefs in town cooking hot dogs. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

For more details, follow the Skippy’s Hot Dogs page on Facebook.

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mhastings@wsjournal.com (336) 727-7394 @mhastingsWSJ

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