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Fri., Oct. 9
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Hot Dogs, Frogs and Hogs is a hit among area residents


Sitting atop a hog is a frog holding a hot dog.

That’s the zany logo for a takeout eatery that opened at 1185 Water St. on the north side of Watertown in February. It has a name that uses the rhymes to its advantage: Hot Dogs, Frogs and Hogs.

The restaurant was started by entrepreneur Vernon A. Johnson, who said he thinks Watertown residents will benefit from his hot dog culture.

He crafted the eatery’s menu after trying out the best hot dog venues in Buffalo, Rochester and New York City. But don’t let the restaurant’s name fool you — the frog and the hog are mascots, not menu items.

“I wanted a catchy name with a catchy sign,” said Mr. Johnson, 50, who spent the past two years renovating the 600-square-foot eatery.

Choices abound on the menu, which features themed dogs from around the country and a whopping 30 toppings.

All hot dogs are less than $4. Varieties include the Coney Island Dog, Capital Dog, Texas Dog, Chicago Dog and Watertown Dog.

Hamburgers, sausages and sides such as french fries, baked beans, potato salad and coleslaw also are available.

Mr. Johnson delayed opening the restaurant until the building and equipment were paid for. He said doing so ensured he was able to offer a menu with affordable prices. Except for the roof construction, he completed all of the renovations himself.

“I could have opened it up sooner,” he said, “but by opening up later, I don’t have to pass on extra costs to my customers.”

An outdoor pavilion with space for six picnic tables will be built in the spring, he said, and ice cream will be added to the menu.

Residents who regularly drive down Water Street into the city have been waiting for the eatery to open. Joanne M. Hughes stopped by for the first time Monday afternoon with her daughter, Alexis C., who carried 14-month-old son Masun B.H. The baby was held up high to see the frog and hog on the wall.

“I’ve driven by this so many times and am so excited it’s open,” the elder Ms. Hughes said. “It’s a quick way for people who live on the north side to get lunch and perfect for people coming into the city from Fort Drum.”

Jacob D. VanGeyten, 22, is the only employee at the eatery, but two more staffers are expected to be hired this summer. Mr. VanGeyten said the Coney Island Dog has been the most popular so far; it comes with mustard, chili, chopped onions and mozzarella cheese. His personal favorite is the Texas Dog because of its jalapenos.

“They’re fresh with a little bit of spiciness,” he said. “And the chili is always good — especially on cold days like this.”

Hot Dogs, Frogs and Hogs is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

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