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Tasting The Diet-Conscious Dogs At Davey's Dog House


This summer we're going around the country to sample some local delicacies.

DAVE WOODS: You're going to want to wrap that up or you going to eat it now?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Wrap it up, please.

WOODS: All right. There you go. Enjoy. That's $4.

GOODWYN: In case you haven't guessed, Dave Woods serves hot dogs at Davey's Doghouse in Akron, Ohio. He spoke with Scott Simon about some of his delicacies.

WOODS: A lot of people are also partial to my chili. I have a specially made veggie chili that I serve, and they seem to love that.

SCOTT SIMON, BYLINE: Veggie chili? What's the veggie part of that?

WOODS: Well, I use a Boca burger base.

SIMON: Yeah?

WOODS: A chipotle Boca burger base as a - you know, like the meat substitute, and it's just my secret chili spices after that.

SIMON: I got to tell you, I'm a little floored to think of a diet-conscious hot dog stand.

WOODS: Well, you know, the neighborhood I'm in, they - a lot of the vegetarians around here they kept asking me, why don't you serve veggie dogs? And I did the research, and what I found out is that most veggie dogs, they dissolve in the pot when you boil them in the water. I had to search long and wide to find the ones that I have. This one has an outer skin where I can boil them, and then they stay consistent. I just cut it off to serve the customer. And eventually, I substituted the veggie chili, and the beef eaters liked it better.

SIMON: Mr. Woods, how'd you get into the hot dog cart business?

WOODS: Well, it was during an economic downturn. I mean, it was a lot of issues going on with me at the time. I was taking care of my father - my father and my father-in-law - they were both convalescing. And the IT business - I'm a IT professional by trade - it was really slow at the time, you know, it was around 2008.

And so I figured I had to find something to tie a knot with and hold on, hang on, during that economic downturn. And by the time I got all the financing together for the hot dog cart, it was winter, and I came out anyway. And I was in the snow, and I think initially people just stopped because they felt sorry for me. I'm freezing my butt off out here trying to sell hot dogs. And they eventually came to - I came to be a staple in the neighborhood after that.

SIMON: I have to ask you an important question for a hot dog man. How do you stand on the proposition of ketchup?

WOODS: Well, as a hot dog purist, of course, I don't take ketchup on my hot dog, but as far as I'm concerned, whatever the customer likes. I have many different varied toppings. I have stadium mustard, yellow mustard, ketchup, sauerkraut, onions, relish, jalapenos sport peppers, veggie chili, nacho cheese - and all for no extra charge. No other place you'll ever get a hot dog for $2 like that.

SIMON: Dave Woods of Davey's Doghouse in Akron, Ohio, Thanks so much for being with us.

WOODS: Thank you for having me. Mustard, ketchup, onion - you want stadium mustard or yellow?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: Yellow. Well, my girlfriend does. I want stadium on mine.

WOODS: Here you go, sir. Enjoy.

GOODWYN: And special thanks to Vivian Goodman from member station WKSU in Akron for reporting help. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.