Franchisees set to open gourmet hot dog eatery in University City

Local family expands The Original Hot Dog Factory into Charlotte. The restaurant chain became popular after features on "The Real Housewives of Atlanta."
Original-Hot-Dog-Factory-Charlotte

Hot dog lovers can soon indulge in a selection of gourmet hot dogs when The Original Hot Dog Factory expands into Charlotte this fall. 

The Georgia-based restaurant chain, featuring over 20 specialty hot dogs, originally opened in 2010 and rebranded in 2015. It gained popularity after appearances on Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” TV series. Company owner Dennis McKinley is engaged to cast member Porsha Williams. 

Brothers Michael and Anthony Hailey bought into the franchise earlier this year and included nephew Sherod McNealy as owner/operator. No one could predict the coronavirus impact, but the Charlotte natives say they have a better understanding of how to operate in the hard-hit hospitality industry.

“The one thing about opening in the pandemic as opposed to being open when the pandemic hit is that we have a plan to operate from the beginning,” said Anthony, the self-proclaimed hot dog enthusiast. “We know exactly what we need to do and how we need to do things so that we can continue to do business.”

The restaurant is still under construction, but the owners hope to open next month.

On the menu

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The Original Hot Dog Factory is known for its extensive selection of hot dogs with nods to regional recipes. In Charlotte, guests can try the Carolina Slaw Dog, a grilled beef hot dog topped with chili and slaw. 

Carolina-Slaw-Dog-Original-Hot-Dog-Factory
The Carolina Slaw Dog will be the signature item on the menu. The grilled beef hot dog comes topped with chili and slaw. Photo courtesy of Sherod McNealy

Sample other tastes from around the country like the Detroit Coney with chili, shredded cheese and chopped onions; the San Francisco Veggie Dog made with Beyond Meat sausage; or the Memphis Dog wrapped in bacon topped with shredded cheese, BBQ sauce and green onions. There’s even a Surf & Turf Dog topped with super lump crab meat.

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Surf & Turf Dog topped with lump crab meat, lettuce, tomatoes and Try Me sauce. Photo courtesy of Sherod McNealy
San-Francisco-Veggie-Dog-Original-Hot-Dog-Factory
San Francisco Veggie Dog – Beyond Meat sausage with lettuce, tomatoes, onions and brown mustard. Photo courtesy of Sherod McNealy

Coming to the Factory but don’t want a hot dog? No worries. There are burgers, wings and fries also on the menu.

First shop but not the last

The restaurant is located at 9211 N. Tryon Street, Suite 9, in the Mallard Pointe shopping plaza. It’s situated across the street from UNC Charlotte and steps away from the Boardwalk.

The family did a multi-store deal, so the University City store won’t be the only Charlotte footprint. They’re already eyeing the Pineville area and considering a mall location. 

“Our demographic is anyone that will eat a hot dog,” Anthony said.

All-American-Original-Hot-Dog-Factory
The All American hot dog at the Original Hot Dog Factory.

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