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Restaurants

The Hot 'n Dog

Posted by Rebecca Fleming / Reviewed on February 15, 2012 / review policy

Hot 'n DogThe Hot 'n Dog wants to give your wiener a makeover. And I want to litter this review with bad puns and innuendo. I'll try my very best to keep it to a minimum, but I can't help it if now and then one slips through the cracks... While other restaurants offering elevated dining or a local focus have been popping up in Parkdale for a while now (think places like Cowbell, Keriwa Cafe, or even hotspot Grand Electric), George Karpouzis has started from the other end of the spectrum.

Hot 'n DogOperating out of a space just a bit roomier than a bus shelter, Karpouzis is offering up a hot dog based menu. It's not about the dogs themselves, however, but what you can do to them. With 55 toppings (60 as of this Friday) the possibilities seem almost endless (bonus points if you can figure out what the exact number actually is).

Hot 'n DogInside, the tiny shop is all steamed up, just like the wieners, and Karpouzis's chatter bounces off the bumper sticker-covered walls. He's a bit intense, but in the best of ways, and he clearly loves what he's doing. His place is a hit with local high school students, and why wouldn't it be, when $3.99 gets you a bag of chips and a drink to go with your hot dog and its unlimited toppings.

Hot 'n DogThe hot dogs themselves come in two varieties: your run of the mill beef & pork mixture and Yves veggie. As far as the toppings go, Karpouzis is of the "more is better" philosophy. He doesn't encourage "boring" toppings, and although he won't deny anyone their mustard-only dog, he will try to talk them out of it.

Hot 'n DogI dragged a few co-workers along with me after work on a Friday with promises of beer to follow. We jammed into the small space and were confronted with George's presence and a chalkboard covered in condiments. If you're decision-making impaired like myself, it's a bit overwhelming, but to make it easier there are some pre-designed menu selections such as the best-selling Nacho Dog or the Hong Kong Clog with all 60 toppings.

Hot 'n DogFinally I was at the front of the line and, still unsure of what to do I just started shouting out random words. Hot peppers! Zucchini relish! Hickory sticks! Um...sweet Thai chili sauce! Pickles! (which by the way are a strictly feminine choice according to George's experience). We all enjoyed our dogs — even my friend who chose every fifth item as listed — and really, a steamed wiener is a steamed wiener, but a steamed wiener with Nutella, bacon bits and maple syrup? Well, that's brunch for under $4.

Hot 'n Dog

Discussion

23 Comments

q-ball / January 2, 2012 at 04:31 pm
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I'm curious to go try some hot-n-dogs but everyone I talk to warns me about the personality of the guy who runs it- not that he's mean or anything, but just that he's "intense" (that's the word they all use to describe him)
Marvin / January 6, 2012 at 05:06 pm
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That place looks downright scary. Does he butcher his own meats?
Keight Maclean / January 10, 2012 at 05:53 pm
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Awesome dogs! I went all for it my first time there and got everything from sundried tomatoes to chili on my hotdog and it was all absolutely amazing! Great value for the price; the hot dog and all of its toppings comes with chips and a pop... but the dog alone was enough to fill me up. George is really enthusiastic about the business and seems that he's really living his dream: his happiness is contagious. Had a great time and will definitely be back soon!
SN replying to a comment from q-ball / February 15, 2012 at 09:50 am
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"No. No dogs for you!
Come back..1 year"
i / February 15, 2012 at 10:58 am
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is this place licensed?
Wiener Dog / February 15, 2012 at 01:06 pm
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Photo 3 is so sexy! That's a large wiener you're trying to fit into your mouth :O
Wiener Experimenter / February 15, 2012 at 01:56 pm
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Best headline ever.
Plens / February 15, 2012 at 02:17 pm
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It appears as though he doesn't toast the buns, so therefore i'm not interested.
L Presland replying to a comment from q-ball / February 15, 2012 at 04:05 pm
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George "intense"? Yes he is! Intensely dedicated to make each and every customer feel special every single visit. George has an uncanny ability to remember things...tell him your name once and he will remember it forever...how many people do you know that can do that?...now thats "intense"!...tell him a topping you wish he had and your next visit you will see it on his menu board...how many places have you seen that does that?..now thats "intense"! Enter under his roof and you will be greeted by name with a welcoming smile and always a caring, happy go lucky attitude...how many places do you go to and get that?...now that is "intense"! I wish there were more "intense" people like George in this world! it would be such a better place!
Kristin / February 15, 2012 at 04:55 pm
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Can't wait to come down to toronto to support George and his new buisness! Its great to see him living life to the fullest! And its true he's a great man! We need more people in retail with a personality like his! My first choice will definatly be the nutella bacon maple syrup! Mmm
DC / February 15, 2012 at 05:01 pm
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Problem with so many condiments/toppings: "Soooo what do I put on my hotdog?"
D Beach replying to a comment from q-ball / February 15, 2012 at 11:15 pm
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"Intense" in that he actually treats you like human beings should. Maybe that's sadly all too unorthodox in this day and age. If you want to go through life like a misanthropic ant, then by all means this is not the place for you, you might find him 'intense'. This isn't smiling or telling jokes for tips, it's simply the most genuinely friendly service experience I've had in recent memory.
Phillip Morris replying to a comment from q-ball / February 15, 2012 at 11:46 pm
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If by "intense" you mean giving you the best customer service available while genuinely caring about his product AND your personal experience, then sure, the man's "intense". "Intense" can also characterize how he's able to tell you how he picked the exact condiment on your delicious dog - over 25 of em - and give you tips on how to make your dog better, topping after topping. If you want your daily gruel served by a faceless employee at your local Mickey D's, by all means.

Truly, one of the more memorable dining experiences I've had in awhile, food and service combined. Nobody wants it more than George. Bring on the "intensity".
MrPotato / February 16, 2012 at 11:27 am
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If by "intense" you mean that he handles you hot dog like a gay go go dancer then yes, he is "intense"!
rachel / February 16, 2012 at 11:50 am
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I wandered in a few weeks ago to see if they served veggie dogs. Not only did George confirm that he sold them, he also walked me through how to properly cook a veggie dog-- and all this as he was closing shop. I'm pro-George.

(Also? This place is apparently going to be serving Kawartha Dairy ice cream in the spring/summer!)
sezme replying to a comment from q-ball / February 16, 2012 at 03:07 pm
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If by "intense" you mean that he's camping in Algonquin park in portable dwellings made of waterproof fabric, poles, and stakes, or that he's at a carnival and visiting the performers in their temporary abodes that can be quickly set up and dismantled, then all right, fine, he is "intense."
JM / February 18, 2012 at 07:05 pm
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Hit this place up for lunch today. Awesome dog, awesome convo with George. Will definitely go back next time I'm in Parkdale.
Mr. Lazy Susan / March 17, 2012 at 11:59 am
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I love a good hot dog.
Mr. Lazy Susan replying to a comment from Mr. Lazy Susan / March 17, 2012 at 12:02 pm
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P.S. Intense.
Jenn / May 5, 2012 at 08:23 pm
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If by intense you mean outgoing and gueinely nice then yes. Hes intense.
And he will toast the buns if you ask. He'll even turn them into garlic bread first!
Gabe / September 4, 2012 at 10:38 pm
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AWESOME DOGS!!!
Goose / May 17, 2013 at 02:44 am
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hey guys, just a heads up... "george" is gone and this joint is now run by a dude named "keith" and he is just about as cool and mellow as can be... and the dogs are fantastic. his fresh juices and nachos are awesome too. check out his art show currently being shown at the Capital espresso shop at Queen and Dunn too. Hot n Dog rules! Parkdale for life.
Acacia replying to a comment from Goose / June 9, 2013 at 12:17 pm
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An even further heads up, Keith has decided to close up shop and replace hot dogs with sandwiches and soups and salads. No new name yet, but hot n dog is sadly no more.

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