If you go
What: The Hungry Dog
Where: Kiosk in Old Town Square, at Lincoln Avenue and Seventh Street in downtown Steamboat Springs
When: The hot dog, chili and nacho stand is scheduled to open Saturday, with a hot-dog-eating competition at 1 p.m. Hours of operation will be from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. on weekends.
Call: 970-819-2224 for information about catering, the hot-dog-eating competition and more.
Steamboat Springs There’s no doubt that Steamboat Springs is a dog town. Brad Somers hopes to make it a hot dog town, too.
Somers plans to open The Hungry Dog — a walk-up food stand serving hot dogs, nachos, chili and more — Saturday in Old Town Square, at Seventh Street and Lincoln Avenue in downtown Steamboat. The Hungry Dog will be in the kiosk that formerly housed a Dippin’ Dots ice cream stand. Somers, 35, operates his Hosted Tours Adventures & Lodging Center out of the neighboring kiosk and said he couldn’t pass up an opportunity to use both locations at the pedestrian-heavy site.
The kiosks have seen quite a bit of turnaround in recent years — including an oxygen bar that closed this summer — but Somers, a Chicago native who’s lived in Routt County for about seven years, expressed confidence that there’s a market for The Hungry Dog.
“Something quick and easy and fast and open late is what I’m trying to do,” Somers said. “I feel like there’s a niche for it here in town.”
He said The Hungry Dog would open at 11 a.m. seven days a week and would stay open for the late-night crowd.
“I’m going to be open until 2 a.m. on the weekends (Fridays and Saturdays) and then, during the week, I’ll be open until 10 for now,” he said. “But when the high season comes around, I’ll be open late every night.”
Somers said his stand would serve steamed Vienna Beef hot dogs. He plans to offer a variety of ingredients reflecting regional tastes, such as a Chicago-style dog on a poppy-seed bun with pickle spears, tomato wedges, green relish, onions, peppers, celery salt and mustard.
That’ll cost customers $3.25, he said. That price applies to most regional hot dog styles, which he said also could include a New York-style dog with sauerkraut and mustard, a “slaw dog,” a Seattle dog with cream cheese and more.
The stand’s namesake hot dog will pack two foot-long hot dogs with chili onto a kaiser roll, he said, for $5.50.
“If someone eats three Hungry Dogs, they get a free prize,” Somers said about that menu item, potentially setting up gastrointestinally challenging dares among friends.
Somers’ flair for customer-encouraging gimmicks doesn’t end with The Hungry Dog dare. At 1 p.m. Saturday, he said, The Hungry Dog will host a hot-dog-eating contest to celebrate its opening day.
“If you win, you get free hot dogs for a year,” Somers said. “A hot dog membership is what I’m calling it.”
Participation was wide open as of Thursday. Call Somers at 970-819-2224 for details.
The Hungry Dog will join other purveyors of late-night food downtown, including Ghost Ranch Saloon’s walk-up window, Mazzola’s Majestic Italian Diner and Brooklynn’s Pizzeria.
Ghost Ranch co-owner Amy Garris said the saloon’s walk-up window has been doing well with its hours varying according to the crowd size on a given night and the weather. Cold fall and winter nights could affect The Hungry Dog’s ability to attract customers to its walk-up stand. Somers said he’s considering options such as a heat lamp.
Excitement about the new downtown hot dog stand is brewing nonetheless.
“I’m ready for you to open now! I’m hungry now!” Mike Dwire called to Somers on Thursday afternoon while walking by the kiosk.
“I think it’s awesome,” Dwire added. “I think it’s going to be a great addition.”
— To reach Mike Lawrence, call 871-4233 or e-mail email@example.com