For those who love Good Dog Houston, hunting down the hog dog food truck is a thing of the past—the truck officially opened its first restaurant location this past Thursday at 903 Studewood.
Their new home used to be a small car dealership. Now there's a simple, long, white wooden building decked out in the cheerful primary colors of the truck. The patio out front and seating in the back is ideal for a sunny lunch with the family and, once permitted, the family dog too. The windows lining the building, the mustard yellow stools at the bar, and a playlist filled with Vampire Weekend and Phoenix nearly provides a beach-like vibe right here in the Heights.
Along with a new home, Good Dog has drafted a new menu which includes soups, salads, and sandwiches. Don’t be alarmed, however—the dogs are not gone. Alongside hot dogs, Good Dog now offers a beer and wine menu with a dozen Texas wine and draft beers, including Buffalo Bayou's 1836 and Smoke on the Bayou.
Amalia Pferd, the chef who started the truck nearly three years ago with her partner Daniel Caballero, says they try to keep everything Texas—from the beers to the buns to the artwork. All but two works on the walls (and even the pole outside left behind by the dealership) were painted by local street artist Wiley Robertson. Those light, fluffy, toasted buns are from Slow Dough Bread Co. and the ice cream for the milkshakes (oh yeah—they have milkshakes now) is from Fat Cat Creamery. Among those milkshakes, one called Cajeta & Caphin made with Vietnamese coffee from local bottler Caphin gives the shake a caffeinated kick.
The whole concept of Good Dog is based off of Pferd’s grandma’s sweet Blakeslee relish recipe. Pferd took after her grandmother in making pickles until she found the right blends to make what are now Good Dog’s standard condiments, all of which are made in house. Soon they will be available for purchase along with Good Dog’s hot dogs by the pound and fresh-baked Slow Dough buns. Before long, you'll almost be able to make your own Ol’ Zapata—recently called America's best hot dog by The Daily Meal—at home.
If you haven’t tried it, don’t be turned off because the name is close to "shoe" in Spanish. The combination of the heat from the jalapeno relish and the sweetness from the caramelized onions on top of one of their flavorful beef wieners can convert any indifferent-hotdog eater (such as myself) any day.
Pferd says Good Dog's success is due to the supporters of the truck.
“We’ve always dreamt big about Good Dog, and so we just stayed strong with growing the brand and staying consistent with everything,” says Pferd. “With the food truck, we were able to get to a lot of different people so a lot of different people were able to try our food, and it’s worked out really well for us. People knowing who we are before we opened here was great. It was a wonderful way to open up place.”
For now, Good Dog’s truck is parked but the catering is still available. Pferd says once they get in sync with running the restaurant, the truck will roam Houston again. The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays, while Good Dog plans its official grand opening party for December 6.