York Place lets the dogs out
Harry the Hotdog has a new home on the Downtown Mall. Who’s Harry the Hotdog? you ask. As you may recall, some teenage pranksters stole the anthropomorphic wiener man from All Good Groceries in Earlysville two years ago. Police eventually found the bruised and beaten statue buried in a trailer park. The local media covered the event with mock seriousness, using headlines like "Hot dug-up dog: Harry found, but a little wurst for the wear," “Giant Earlysville hot dog returned after kidnapping,” and “Hot dog begins rehab.” There was even a fundraiser to repair the statue.
Now Harry stands gleaming in the depths of York Place at the newly opened Downtown Hotdog Company that materialized Thursday, July 8. With striking yellow and red d©cor, illuminated menu board, and Harry greeting guests at the front door, the place is hard to miss.
Owner Eric Saunders, a restaurant biz veteran who did stints at Starr Hill and Prince Michel Vineyard and Winery, says he took about two years to dream up and refine his gourmet hot dog concept, with a little help from his wife, Jenny.
The result: hot dogs that look more like sit-down meals. For example, Saunders' signature dog, the Chicago, features a Chicago Vienna beef dog (they all do) nestled in a poppy seed bun, slathered with mustard, and covered with onions, relish, tomato wedges, and a big pickle spear.
“It’s a hot dog that’s been dragged through the garden,” says Saunders.
There are 17 other creations to choose from, like The Dragon, which features hot kim chi and sriracha sauce, or the Boston, which comes with baked beans. There’s even a hot dog for people who don’t like hotdogs. The Invisible Dog includes five toppings of your choice in a bun.
As for Harry the Hotdog, Saunders says when he bought some equipment from All Good Groceries, the owner threw in the refurbished mascot. Let's just hope he stays put this time.