Students can try a different version of a traditional treat that is hot, sizzling and an excellent summer snack.
On BYU campus, hot dog is synonymous with J-Dawgs in the minds of many students. However, with a wave of hot dog joints still on the scene, students can try something new at shops like Johnniebeefs Chicago Style Hot Dogs, Kranky Franks and Hotdog King.
At Hotdog King, hot dogs are king, but these aren’t simply your Oscar Mayer wieners. This hard-to-spot restaurant — students may have driven by a hundred times — at 1708 S. State Street in Orem, is a great find, especially for hot dog fans.
Ryan Kellems and his 2-year-old son Liam, from Eugene Ore., were driving to another hot dog place Kellems had been told about when he spotted the Hotdog King.
“I never made it to the other place,” Kellems said. “I spotted this place and pulled right over. I’ve had a lot of hot dogs, but this was unique with cream cheese and grilled as a panini. I will probably come back in the next week before I head home.”
Customers at Hotdog King are welcomed with a sign reading “hot dog heaven.”
Owner Charlie Mendes, originally from Brazil, opened the Hotdog King in 2006, receiving inspiration from a variety of hot dogs available in different places. Out of all the hot dog joints around, Hotdog King seems to offer the largest variety.
“I am the only crazy person that makes gourmet hot dogs because nobody else wants to do it,” Mendes said. “It takes time, lots of money and lots of ingredients to put it together, but they’re fun and people really like it. When I’m not able to sleep I get up and begin to write recipes and now I have over 300.”
Customers continue coming back because of the unique experience Hot Dog King provides.
Lars Peterson, a regular at Hotdog King, visits two to three times a month and feels it is a one-of-a-kind place.
“You can get a hot dog at lots of places, but there is no where you can get a hot dog with cream cheese, onion rings, bacon and everything else that Charlie offers,” Peterson said. “He comes up with different combinations so every time I come back I have something different to try and it’s always good.”
Peterson couldn’t choose a favorite, but he is a fan of Hotdog King because of its high quality dogs and creative toppings and combinations.
“The only downside is you need a fork to eat them sometimes because there is so much stuff on them,” he said with a chuckle.
Natasha Davies, from Orem, feels the same way about her hot dogs and enjoys the small town feel the restaurant offers.
“I think it’s adorable,” she said. “I like these kinds of places to eat because everyone seems so close.”