Steamboat hot dog stand hopes customers relish its late-night options
Ronnie Hewins said his new business, The Dawg House, will offer a tasty lunch, an affordable dinner and a late-night bite to eat, as well as an experience that will bring a smile to his customers’ faces.
“One of the biggest things that we provide, other than a great product, is an experience,” Hewins said. “I can give (customers) a full experience while I’m cooking, and a lot of places don’t have that. They don’t have like an open kitchen that you can see who is preparing your food, and it’s fun for them to talk to a local. … I can give them a full experience, and they can learn things from me that they wouldn’t have known from a travel pamphlet.”
Hewins takes pride in being able to connect with visitors and locals while he is preparing food. He also enjoys giving advice on everything from which ski runs are the best to the local hotspots.
He is happy to serve up a large selection of specialty hot dogs inspired by Colorado ski areas, in addition to Dawg House classics including the Chicago and Coney, as well as selections inspired by San Francisco, Kansas City, Florida and Nebraska, that go for $6.95.
Hewins also offers a $1 discount on the classics for locals.
Beyond that, the Dawg House has a combo deal that includes two classic dogs, chips and a drink for $16.50. Additionally, gluten free buns are available for $2, and there is a local game sausage that sells for $10.50 when it’s available.
Hewins said the mac n’ cheese from Marco’s in Denver and the Storm Peak chili bowl with chopped onions, cheddar and Fritos have been popular since he opened the first week of January.
Hewins is currently balancing his job as assistant superintendent at Grand Lake Golf Course with his new business in Steamboat Springs.
“I’ve been (at the golf course) now for a year, and I do that three-days-a week on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday all summer long, and that’s my plan, and then I’m going to work with this, this summer,” he said. “We’ll just see where it goes from there, and if I can afford to get an employee down the road, it would be great to open those days.”
Until then, The Dawg House is open from noon to 2 a.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and from noon until midnight on Sundays and Mondays. This week, the Dawg House has expanded its hours, opening at 11 a.m. for the Winter Carnival’s special events.
“After 11 p.m., I’m the only thing in town,” Hewins said. “I opened for lunch, and we do it all, but our bread and butter is 11 p.m. to 2:30ish. It’s late at night, it’s cold and I got chilli, I got hot dogs and I got mac n’ cheese. It’s a quick grab — you’re at the bar, you want to come out and get some, or take it down to the Barley.“
Hewins worked and lived in Steamboat Springs 10 years ago, and he ran a hot dog stand in Gondola Square before moving away.
Today, he splits his time between Grand County, where his fiancé lives, and Steamboat Springs, where he runs his business. He was planning to sell his hotdogs out of a food trailer in Fraser when he learned about this opportunity in Steamboat Springs.
He bought the business from a couple of partners who were already planning on opening the stand and jumped on what he sees as a great opportunity.
“I’m super excited to be here, and I’m grateful,” Hewins said. “I want to become integrated with the community, and I’ve just literally been doing nothing but working so far.”
John F. Russell is the business reporter at the Steamboat Pilot & Today. To reach him, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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