Update 2/5/19: After just a little more than seven months, Tailgate Dogs & Sausages has closed.
Eight years ago, Tod Nestor took his daughter to soccer practice and decided he wanted a hot dog. The simple craving led to a realization that there was a lack of hot dog restaurant chains, so he launched his own, Tailgate Dogs & Sausage, with the opening of its flagship location in New Rochelle in May.
The concept puts a twist on the classic staple with bold additions. “Over a period of eighteen months or so, [we] tested literally thousands of combinations of hot dogs, sausages, toppings, buns, and preparation methods to identify the best-tasting combinations for our menu,” says Nestor.
The large menu presents any and every hot dog or sausage combination that one could want. (A build-your-own option, known as the “Fantasy Draft” gives diners the option to make their own combinations.) I started with a Talladega dog, which GM Brandon Randolph calls the “Big Mac” of hot dogs — a split hot dog, stuffed with bacon bits, and topped with coleslaw, cheddar cheese, potato chips, pickles, and spicy mustard.
Specialty dogs are inspired by different cities and locations. The Alo-Hot Dog features pineapple relish, bacon bits, watercress, and whole grain mustard on a sweet bun. A Reggae Dog is a chicken dog with hot relish and Jamaican jerk seasoning. Texas, Chicago, and NYC also make appearances on the menu. All dogs also offer a gluten-free bun option.
Sausages, served on a baguette or pretzel roll, were equally delectable, with varieties going beyond classic pork to include chicken, lamb, Irish sausage, and even a veggie option. I went with the Ragin’ Cajun, grilled andouille sausage with caramelized onions, pickles, and Creole spread.
If you have room, note there are no shortages in sides to pair with your dog, including four types of mac ’n ‘cheese, baked beans, chili, and salads. The menu also includes both beef and veggie burgers. Desserts are classically American with milkshakes, brownies, Rice Krispies treats, cookies, and, to my pleasant surprise, macaroons, on the menu.
As for the future, the plan is to expand Tailgate into a far-reaching chain. “It is extremely important to us that every one of our stores builds a strong bond with the local community,” explains Nestor. “We are very appreciative of local support and want to continue earning it.”
Tailgate Dogs & Sausages
768 North Ave
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