Occasionally, I take my little food critic along for an adventure. After school this week, we stopped in at Duke’s Doggs, a new hot dog cafe on the Swamp Rabbit Trail in Travelers Rest. The place is named after a bold little entrepreneur who at 2 1/2 decided he would change his name to Duke. Six and a half years later, on a handshake with his grandad, he became part owner in Duke’s Doggs along with his grandparents, Mike and Anne Burns and his aunt Kristy. Not many 8 year olds can say they own a restaurant.
“He takes it very seriously,” said Kristy, as she ran down the culinary connections between her restaurant and her family history. Turns out I know Kristy… and her ENTIRE family! That’s what happens when you are from a small town. You can’t throw a stone without hitting someone you know.
Kristy said the coleslaw recipe they use is her grandmother GG’s and the chili on the beef hot dog came from her Nanny. Pictures of Burn’s grandparents sit on the tables with write-ups about their contributions to the restaurant, their community and her family. This is as down-home family restaurant as they come.
The hot dogs are as good as you’d get in anyone’s home kitchen, too. I can imagine after a warm summer day of walking or riding on the trail (there is a Duke’s Dogg’s bike rack outside), it would be good to come in for a tea and a dog… or on a day like that day, when the temperatures were at freezing.
This time last year it had snowed what? Twice? When I was a kid, and it would snow, my dad would load us into his old Bronco and take us to American Cafe in Travelers Rest for 2 for $1.00 hot dogs. Everything else in TR would be closed, but somehow that guy got to work and opened his restaurant. Can’t find a hot dog for $.50 anymore, and American Cafe has long since closed, but for $5.50 you can swing by Duke’s and pick up 2 doggs, chips and a drink.
Most impressive is Duke’s selections for picky eaters! A Trail Dogg (sans bun) for those laying off the carbs. A Missing Dogg for those opposed to wieners. And a Hudson Hotdogg with a turkey dogg, turkey chili, mustard and onions. Every hot dog comes with a little brownie square, too. They also have a Devildogg named for the home team mascot that consists of a brat, sauerkraut, and Dijon Mustard.
And as you can tell from the above pic, my daughter gave her thumbs up. She devoured her corn dog and while I was distracted with taking pictures, she also ate half my hot dog. As we were leaving, she said, “You’d better give this place a good review Mom!” The hot dog was so good she even ate the onions.
Duke’s Doggs is located at 327 South Main Street and is open Monday-Saturday 11:00am-7:00pm.