Hot dogs are in high demand in Umatilla, if the response to the city’s newest business is any indication.
After a little-advertised soft opening on Monday, River Dawgs sold out of hot dogs before closing time on its third day. Owner Shana Mason said on Wednesday that she had opened at 10:30 a.m. that day and had sold all 165 hot dogs she had on hand before 2 p.m.
“Now I know to really, really stock up,” she said. “It’s been crazy.”
Mason, who lives in Irrigon, said she has experience in management and in the food processing industry but this is her first foray into the restaurant business.
“I’m a hot dog lover,” she said. “There are no hot dogs around and I said, ‘You know, I should give people that choice.’”
She said she has wanted to open her own business since she was 25.
“I’m really happy,” she said. “It’s very exciting at 56 to be able to do that. How fun is it to be able to live out a dream?”
River Dawgs is located 1300 Sixth St., Suite D. Barring more sold-out-early days, its hours will be 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Mason said she might end up staying open later during the summer months if the demand is there.
The hot dogs are all-beef, half-pound hot dogs. A basic hot dog is $4.50 with whatever combination of ketchup, mustard, relish and onions the customer desires. Gourmet dogs run between $5.50 and $7 and are all named after rivers in Oregon. The Klamath Dawg, for example, comes topped with chili, cheese, bacon, sour cream and a pickle spear. A build-your-own hot dog option is also available, and the menu includes sides such as coleslaw, potato chips and a warm pretzel with cheese sauce.
Mason said she plans to have a grand opening sometime in the next couple of weeks after she gets into a rhythm with the business.
“I’ve gotten fantastic feedback,” she said. “People are excited. They really like the choices.”