Atlanta’s most famous hot dog shop is coming to the Bayou City. The Original Hot Dog Factory will open its first Houston location at 920 Studemont St. on Friday, September 4, the restaurant announced.
Sisters Juanita and Bridgette Sharkey franchised the concept to bring it to Texas. The native Houstonians, who are graduates of Lamar High School and Texas Southern University, tell CultureMap they’d been looking to start a business when they learned the Original Hot Dog Factory was looking to expand. They drew encouragement from friends who told them Houston could use more places that serve a good dog.
Fans of the Real Housewives of Atlanta will recognize the restaurant from the show. Owner Dennis McKinley is engaged to Porsha Williams, one of the show’s stars. While the celebrity connection will help build buzz, the restaurant stands on its own.
“The hot dogs are fun,” Bridgette Sharkey says. “They’re named after different cities, and the gourmet taste of the hot dogs is amazing, even the creativity of the desserts. I thought it was a really exciting brand. We thought this would do awesome in Texas.”
The menu covers a wide array of flavors with classics like the Chicago dog, the Hawaiian dog (bacon, cheese, grilled pineapple, etc), and the Detroit Coney (chili cheese dog with onions) emerging as favorites. Juanita cites the Jamaican Jerk dog as her personal favorite; it swaps the standard all-beef dog for a chicken sausage topped with grilled pineapple, chopped onions, and sweet island sauce.
“It tastes just like Jamaica,” Juanita says. “As soon as you bite into it, you can taste the grilled pineapple that gives you a taste of the island.”
Vegans will find a special dog made with Beyond Meat. Other options include burgers, wings, and a salad. Desserts such as funnel cake and fried Oreos take their inspiration from classic fair favorites.
"A little guilty pleasure of mine is fried Oreos with a hot cup of coffee," Bridgette says.
Houston may be the first location, but it won’t be the last. Ultimately, the sisters plan to open 25 Original Hot Dog Factories across the Lone Star State.
“Dallas is who we believe will be next, but we had to bring it to Houston first,” Juanita says.