These gourmet foot-long hotdogs are taking Toronto by storm

Loaded with toppings and served on a pretzel bun, this isn't your average hotdog

Slowly but surely, a Canadian hotdog brand is creating a sizzling empire right here in Toronto, and they’re all set to launch an aggressive growth plan.

Durty Dawgs opened in July 2021 and although there is no actual storefront location, the brand is seeing a steady profit, thanks to a combination of social media finesse (think Instagram-worthy creations) and by producing a simple but tasty product that’s not been saturated in the market.

“During the pandemic, and when the lockdowns didn’t allow for ball games or other events, there wasn’t really anywhere that you could go in the city to enjoy a hotdog,” says owner and founder Peter Higley, who is also the president of the Pickle Barrel restaurant group, which currently sells the Durty Dawg product.

 

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While juicy, battered fried chicken sandwiches and smash burgers seemed to be having their turn in the spotlight, hotdogs were nowhere to be found, Higley says, acknowledging that hotdogs are typically regarded as a meal to be enjoyed on occasion, like at a baseball game.

The majority of Toronto’s hotdog vendors were also closed down due to pandemic-related restrictions, making it hard to find a decent footlong in the city.

“So far, the response has been incredible, Higley says. “I was actually reading the April issue of Post City Magazines, and saw the feature where Chef Mark McEwan tried a bunch of hotdogs, which is actually where I got the idea,” Higley added. “None of them looked very overwhelming, and I saw the opportunity to do something different.”

About Durty Dawgs

Durty Dawgs only uses Nathan’s Famous premium, all-beef hot dogs. All of the hotdogs are 12″ and come served on a freshly baked pretzel bun that’s supplied by a local bakery.

Pickles are served with a side of ketchup and mayonnaise. Each Durty Dawg also comes with a choice of side, with options like thick hand-cut fries, sweet potato fries, onion rings, or frings (a combination of both fries and onion rings), or creamy coleslaw. The sides and sauces are then packaged into a neat, tidy, compostable box.

There are currently eleven hot dogs on the menu, but Higley says recipe development for more dogs is definitely in development.

Durty Harry, aka The Western, is topped with sautéed bell peppers and mushrooms, crispy onions, and drizzled with BBQ sauce.
The Deli Dawg, aka The Reuben, topped with pastrami, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, gherkin pickle, and drizzled with thousand island dressing.
The Def Con Corn Dawg aka The Corn Dog, Nathan’s Famous signature 12″ beef hot dog breaded and deep-fried, topped with corn, bell peppers, and onion salsa.

“The response so far has been overwhelming; people love the hot dogs,” Higley says. “As we move forward with our growth strategy, we’re definitely looking into the late-night culture, and we’re definitely looking for strategic locations in high traffic urban environments.”

A selection of beer boxes, hard seltzers, wines, and liquor can also be added to the order at checkout.

Durty Dawgs is currently available to order on DoorDash, Skip the Dishes, and UberEats.

 

 

Article exclusive to TRNTO