Dog Towne Franks opened earlier this month on College Avenue in Decatur in a space most recently occupied by the Venezuelan restaurant Arepa Mia.
The high-quality hot dog and sausage spot from Alan Makarewicz and Chris Day started as a food truck, dubbed The Pup Truck, eight years ago.
But the business partners decided the time was right to take the concept to a brick-and-mortar location. They searched several neighborhoods, and the narrow storefront adjacent to Trackside Tavern fit the bill.
Step inside and you’ll be surrounded by skateboard culture, from decks and murals on the walls to skateboarding videos on the TV, and hardcore punk on the sound system.
The menu is surprisingly large, with nine styles of hot dogs with toppings, each served on a H&F Bread Co. bun, with a choice of traditional frank, all-beef, or veggie.
Favorites include the P.B.R. Dog with pimento cheese, bacon jam and pickled red onions, and the Banh Mi Dog with cucumber, pickled daikon radish, carrot, cilantro, mayo and Sriracha.
Sausage combos include a Bratwurst with cream cheese, braised red cabbage, and mustard, and a Bohemian Smokey with warm sauerkraut and brown mustard.
Makarewicz, who grew up in a Polish family in Detroit and moved to Atlanta in 1996, also likes to feature foods from his hometown and heritage, including pierogis with a variety of fillings.
“We started the food truck back in 2011,” Makarewicz said during a recent conversation at Dog Towne. “I started cooking in high school, and I put myself through college cooking. I worked at places like Bennigan’s and Steak and Ale, and I worked at Houston’s in Atlanta for a while.
“But then I was doing the corporate thing in asset management, and it just wasn’t for me. My business partner Chris was in the same boat, and so we were just talking one night and came up with an idea. I’d been looking for a way to get back into the food business, because it’s something that I love, so it made sense to start with a food truck.”
As far as the menu, Makarewicz said it plays off the food truck’s offerings but with some different items.
“Me and Chris are both guys who like cased meat,” he said. “We’re a sucker for a good hot dog or a good sausage. And what’s better for that than to move your food truck into a building. We’ve expanded what we’re doing with the hot dogs and definitely added more sausages. And we’ve added the fries, the tater tots and the poutine.
“All of our hot dogs and sausages are done by Patak Meats in Austell. He’s does a fantastic job. But we’re looking to bring in some more local guys, like Pine Street Market, so we’ll probably do his chicken sausage. For toppings, we do almost everything in-house, from the bacon jam to the pimento cheese. And, of course, the pierogis are all hand-made and fresh.”
Moving forward, Makarewicz said he wants to do a lot more Polish specials on a regular basis.
“I really love cooking that food, he said. “We’ll do golombki, which is stuffed cabbage, we’ll do bigos, which is like a hunter’s stew, but I want to put a bunch of different specials out there. We’re going to have a secret menu with a fried bologna sandwich on it, because any good Polack likes a good fried bologna sandwich.
“So we’re going to expand on this a little bit. I want to do some other stuff with the pierogis. I wanted to keep to the original Polish style to start. But I’ve got some ideas for some really different things.”
307 B East College Ave., Decatur. 678-856-717, facebook.com/dogtownefranks.
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