In the shack that was previously home to Suzy Q Doughnuts (now just down the street at 969 Wellington St. W) and the original Hintonburger (also just blocks away at 1096 Wellington St. W), Thomas Williams has come full circle. The owner of Hintonburger aims to put an Ottawa twist on New York-style hot dogs in his second tenancy of the shack at 991 Wellingston St. W.
Whassup Dog had been open for just two days when we popped by. I chatted with Jessica Wilkinson, the restaurant manager at the Hintonburger, who was busy helping staff learn the ropes and kick things off at Whassup Dog. Wilkinson seemed pleasantly surprised by the reception so far.
“It’s been a lot. Surprising, but really, really great,” she said, adding that a good number of their first customers were curious passers-by who noticed something new at the shack.
The hot dog joint’s menu is completely different than the one at Hintonburger and is dedicated solely to hot dogs and poutine. Wilkinson said the goal was to keep the offerings simple so that they could make the toppings “completely fun and crazy.” Customers can choose from the classics or the zany. Wilkinson lists her current favourites as the Nacho’ Everyday Poutine and the Ott-dog (an homage to Ottawa’s love for Shawarma — a hot dog in a pita complete with pickled turnips, garlic sauce and hummus).
There’s seating inside the slightly slanted shack for 12, and Whassup Dog hopes to have a couple picnic tables outside come warmer weather. Should you wish to walk with your (hot) dog, 10Fourteen, a bar across the street, has announced themselves as Whassup Dog “friendly”: patrons can bring their hot dog in to enjoy with a drink between 5 – 7 pm.
Customers can choose from 13 different hot dog toppings and 11 different poutines. Prices range from $3.25 for a Whassup Dog (a “perfectly fried Lester’s premium jumbo dog”) to $7.75 for a Sin-Cinnati Dog (a Lester’s dog topped with “authentic chocolate-infused Cincinnati chili and shredded cheddar”). Vegetarians are not forgotten — there are veggie dogs available, and all sauces except for the chili are vegetarian to begin with.
When visiting, we enjoyed two combos with poutine, all of which was quite tasty and filling. Make no mistake — Whassup is a more ‘gourmet’ alternative to your standard hot dog wagon, and at $28 it wasn’t the cheapest of bites.
Whassup Dog is at 991 Wellington St. West. Their hours are 11am – 7pm Monday through Saturday, and 12 -5pm on Sundays. Cash only.