Thursday, May 17, 2012

Man Bites Dog - Hot Dogs Unleashed

Jeremiah Allen had much of what he needed to open a hot dog restaurant: experience in the industry, an MBA and a passion for hot dogs. What he lacked was the money to build one. But rather than give up the dream, he made a plan to work up to it  -  one that would take advantage of Austin's affinity for food trailers while bypassing the daunting challenge of raising investment capital for an unproven concept.
"I'll just buy a trailer and do it that way," Allen recalled thinking.
Thus was born Man Bites Dog, a 2-year-old food trailer in South Austin featuring local favorites such as the Buffalo Hottie and the Danger Dog, an all-beef frank wrapped in bacon, deep-fried and topped with queso fresco, jalapeƱos and danger sauce.
Today, that trailer has led Allen back to his goal as he plans to open a 1,500-square-foot, full-service restaurant with an expanded menu at North Loop Plaza on Burnet Road. Allen plans to keep the trailer.
Austin's creative and culinary genes have helped foster one of the nation's most successful food trailer cultures, with names like Biscuits and Groovy and Garage Ma Hall. Often, food trailers serve as product stages and launching pads for permanently based restaurants.
Tiffany Harelik, who covers the food trailer business and runs, said Allen is joining about eight food trailer entrepreneurs who took similar paths from mobile to concrete facilities. Harelik, who has a food trailer cookbook coming out next fall, said Man Bites Dog joins places like Hey Cupcake, Cutie Pie Wagon, Franklin BBQ, the Odd Duck and Barley Swine as trailer-based restaurants to expand to brick-and-mortar locations.
Allen's upbringing in the restaurant business includes a long stint at Billy Martin's Tavern in Washington, D.C., an MBA from Texas State University and his real-life time with barbecue, perhaps most important, tackling and flipping a dog on the grill. {Read on bizjournals}