Let’s be frank: Hot dogs and sausages are American favorites. They’re relatively cheap, and can be dressed up with a range of toppings for an elevated take on a classic or served with traditional condiments for a more simple meal. They can also be made with nontraditional proteins like alligator and kangaroo to attract adventurous eaters. Here’s a look at some operators capitalizing on these versatile wieners.
This month, fast-casual chain Dog Haus announced it signed a $500 million franchise deal with American Development Partners to open more than 300 units in 12 states over the next seven years. The deal includes an unnamed private-equity firm that will provide capital for real estate and construction, and the units will be operates by veteran franchisees. Dog Haus currently has more than 20 stores in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada and Utah. Prototypes include a 1,800- to 2,200-square-foot restaurant offering Dog Haus’ signature hot dogs, sausages, burgers and sliders, and a 2,400- to 2,800-square-foot Biergarten concept with expanded craft beer offerings.
Launched in 2011 in post-Katrina New Orleans, Dat Dog has since grown to four locations, thanks to its cheerful settings and NOLA-style sausages. The concept offers locally made alligator and crawfish sausages alongside more traditional varieties that diners can customize with toppings like crawfish etouffee and Creole mustard. Units are on the way for Baton Rouge, La.; and Hattiesburg, Miss.
Minnesota-based New Bohemia serves German-style sausages in a beer hall-style setting. The six-unit fast-casual franchise offers more than 20 varieties of sausages on pretzel buns, including an “adventurous” selection with options like rattlesnake-rabbit-jalapeno and blueberry-wild boar. Also offered are Belgian-style frites and 36 varieties of craft beer on tap, 28 of which are local. New Bohemia is gearing up to open its largest restaurant yet next year in St. Paul, Minn.
New Jersey casual-dining concept Destination Dogs opened its second outpost in September with a location in Philadelphia. Just like the New Jersey restaurant, the Philadelphia location serves hot dogs and sausages made from a range of proteins—from beef and wild boar to kangaroo and pythons—in “domestic” and “international” varieties. Craft beer and cocktails are also available. The concept is currently seeking franchisees.
Several concepts just started slinging hot dogs within the last month, including the following:
- HalfSmoke in Washington, D.C., offers build-your-own sausage meals, funnel cake and craft cocktail flights in a millennial-friendly setting that includes a free photo booth and giant Jenga.
- Junk Yard Dog in Jackson, Mich., serves all-beef hot dogs steamed in beer.
- White Gold in New York City is a butcher shop-restaurant hybrid by restaurateurs April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman. The concept features housemade sausages and hot dogs, the latter of which are promoted during a midday happy hour for kids after school.