Meet the New Dogs in Town: Weenie Wonder and Tasty Dawg

These two newcomers are dishing up Midwestern hot dog goodness

Erin Edwards and Jill Moorhead
The Ruebun dog with jojo potatoes and a strawberry milkshake at Weenie Wonder

Weenie Wonder

6562 Riverside Drive, Dublin, 614-721-3800

"Everything that we do is based on nostalgia," says Troy Allen, the founder of Rise Brands, which is responsible for 16-Bit Bar+Arcade, Pins Mechanical Co. and the members-only bar No Soliciting.

Rise Brands' latest creation, Weenie Wonder, was inspired by Allen's childhood in Northeast Ohio and family trips to Michigan. There, Allen remembers his grandmother buying packs of Koegel hot dogs, a Flint-based brand of wiener that, as Allen describes, has a nice "snap."

At Weenie Wonder's Bridge Park location, cleverly sandwiched between 16-Bit and Pins, customers are treated to a smartly designed space decked out in burnt orange and white. Banquettes resemble orderly rows of hot dogs, and counter seating faces milkshake machines.

More:6 Essential Hot Dog Joints in Columbus

Weenie Wonder's franks are served fast-casual style, meaning customers can go down the line dressing their own Koegel hot dog (or vegetarian dog) with a variety of toppings. Sides include jojos, fried potato wedges that are another nostalgic nod to Allen's Midwestern upbringing, as well as tater tots, slaw and a variety of milkshakes. The eatery offers seven specialty dogs, such as a Chicago dog, the Reuben-inspired Ruebun Dog and the popular Dumpster Dog, a mashup of Coney sauce, mac 'n' cheese, Wonder Sauce, shredded cheddar and—of course—a jojo wedge.

Look for Weenie Wonder to expand to Easton by the end of the year, with four more locations in the works for 2023. 

Tasty Dawg

107 S. High St., Downtown, 614-454-6565

Starting out as a ghost kitchen in the Arena District Zoup location, Tasty Dawg officially opened its doors in a former Subway location on Capitol Square last August. Tom E. Dailey, Tasty Dawg’s managing partner and CEO, researched the most popular hot dog joints in the top 25 markets in the United States. The result is Tasty Dawg’s 12 signature all-beef hot dogs.

More:Two Great Hot Dog Spots Outside the I-270 Loop

This newcomer’s steamed franks—which range from a Philly Dawg with roasted peppers, mushrooms and melted provolone to a California Dawg with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes and avocado mash—are often paired with pretzel buns from a Wisconsin bakery. Tater tots, white cheddar macaroni, baked beans and Velvet Ice Cream add variety to the menu.

One must-try is the Chicago Dawg. This piquant combination of tomatoes, chopped onions, sport peppers and a dill pickle spear served atop an all-beef hot dog features a shockingly bright green Chicago relish, celery salt and a poppy seed bun.

Asked about the neon relish, Dailey, who lived in the Windy City for 23 years, says it’s a tradition. “It’s in every hot dog joint you go to in Chicago.” The secret: food coloring.

Dailey plans to use Tasty Dawg as a prototype store and potentially franchise the concept. But first, keep a look out for the Relish Room, an event space adjacent to Tasty Dawg that can seat up to 50 people.

The restaurant also recently announced a charitable hot dog relay that will take place on July 4 during the Doo Dah Parade. Think: running, teamwork and hot dog assembly. Sign up at hotdogrelay.com.

This story is from the June 2022 issue of Columbus Monthly.