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Beer Dogs opened for its first day of business at Sylvan Corners in Citrus Heights on Thursday, with first-time customers taking a seat along a 30-foot bar to chomp down on a 10-inch hot dog or sip on a craft beer.
“It was good; I’m definitely coming back,” said Joey Cisneros, who was the first customer to place an order after doors opened at 11 a.m. The 20-year-old ordered an “All-American” hot dog meal with tater tots and a soda, commenting that he looked forward to coming back for a beer in January, after he turns 21.
Cisneros’ selection is one of 10 different hot dog options on the menu, with each featuring names like “The New Yorker,” “The California Dog,” and “The Louisiana Hot.” Each has a savory description on the menu, like the “Great Western Dog,” described as a “signature grilled gourmet 10-inch hotdog on our mouth-watering, hand-baked sourdough bun, topped with chopped crispy bacon pieces, French fried onions, cheddar cheese, and BBQ sauce.”
Located between JB Liquors and the Bearpaw shoes store, where Sylvan Road meets Auburn Boulevard, Beer Dogs spokesman and senior partner Zachary Swithenbank said his new “quick-service” restaurant seeks to fill a void in the region for gourmet hot dogs. He also hopes to draw the over-21 crowd with a variety of regional craft beers, as well as serve families with three different kids meal options and cracker jacks.
Craft beer choices on the menu feature several selections from regional breweries, including the “Gold Digger IPA” from Auburn Alehouse brewery and a “Golden Eagle Mandarin Wheat” from Loomis Basin Brewing Co. A white zinfandel and chardonnay from a vineyard in Lodi is also featured, but hard alcohol isn’t offered.
A prominent aspect of Beer Dogs is its “farm to bun” concept, which is advertised on the eatery’s logo and highlighted in bold letters on the back of staff members’ shirts. Swithenbank called the farm-to-bun term a “loose concept” without a firm definition, but he said both his Fresno-based bun supplier and San Francisco-based Evergood Foods have confirmed their ingredients meet “farm to table standards,” and the hot dogs used are non-GMO.
Emphasizing sustainability, he said the 1,500-square-feet restaurant features mostly re-purposed items inside, pointing out hardware and shelves made of wooden milk crates on the wall, as well as re-purposed metal used at the bar. The industrial-themed interior features dark, polished floors, a dozen seats at the bar, stools along the wall, and another half-dozen chairs in a “horseshoe” seating area.
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Swithenbank and Bearpaw shoes owner Tom Romeo jointly partnered together to launch the new restaurant and the pair have plans to quickly open several more Beer Dogs locations in the Sacramento region and beyond. According to Swithenbank, the first expansion is scheduled for a mid-2017 opening in Chico.
“We have quite a few locations already picked out and we’ll expand quite a bit in three to five years,” Swithenbank previously told The Sentinel in a phone interview. “We’re hopeful to take 50 to 100 locations by the end of the 10-year mark.”
[Also on The Sentinel: Dos Coyotes to open new Citrus Heights restaurant]
With a background in real estate development and corporate management, Swithenbank said Citrus Heights was chosen as the place to launch the first Beer Dogs due to the area’s demographics and high traffic count at Sylvan Corners. He called the spot “the right place at the right time.”
The new restaurant is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The address is 7032 Sylvan Rd.
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