KIRKLAND – There’s a new family business in Kirkland where the owners claim to have the best hot dogs on the planet.
Tasty Dawgs, 518 W. Main St., opened Nov. 9 after success with the owners’ Woodstock hot dog cart business interested them in expanding.
The Allens wanted to expand because it has been a childhood dream of brothers Jim and David to own a hot dog restaurant.
“I love working with people,” said Jim Allen, co-owner of Tasty Dawgs. “I didn’t realize it, [but] my brother secretly has always wanted to have a hot dog [business], but we never had those conversations.”
Opening the restaurant has allowed the brothers to form a closer bond as well. Now that they work together, the brothers talk every day as opposed to every few weeks, Jim Allen said.
The Allens also hope the business will be here to stay in the small town of Kirkland. The restaurant is located in the same spot as a hot dog restaurant that went out of business.
The Allens said the thing that sets their business apart is the work they will do with the community. The family plans to sit down and speak with locals such as the mayor to see how they can help serve the community.
“The intention is to give back to the community,” said Lizz Allen, Jim’s wife. “Being a part of the community is our goal; not just to make money.”
Jim Allen said they already have met with the mayor to discuss how to run a business in Kirkland.
The restaurant sells never-frozen products such as hot dogs and hamburgers, and they receive their meat from Inboden’s Meat Market in DeKalb. Their hot dogs are made from Vienna beef, and fresh-cut fries come with every meal.
Surprisingly, their most popular item is the cheddar burger, which comes with a cheese spread as opposed to a slice of cheese, Jim Allen said.
“What goes out the door, we want it to be high quality,” Lizz Allen said. “If it doesn’t look good, it won’t go out the door.”
So far, locals have responded well to the new restaurant. One family visited the restaurant three times in a single day, Jim Allen said.
Jim Allen said there will be some new competition for Gene & Jude’s, a River Grove restaurant voted the No. 1 hot dog in the U.S. by Every Day With Rachael Ray Magazine and three judges from Serious Eats food blog.
“We sure would like to give them a run for their money,” he said.