Naughty Dog opens second location


Naughty Dog opens location on North Walnut Street


Naughty Dog’s second location is about more than just hot dogs. It’s about soft pretzels, sandwiches, baked potatoes and the self-realization that comes from actualizing a long-time goal.

When Kailas and Kate McQueen took ownership of the local hot dog joint in the middle of 2015, they inherited not only the narrow corridor of booths and bustling kitchen at 3860 W. Third St. They also found themselves with a massive potential for growth. The restaurant’s original owners, Nick and Susan Palmiotto, had considered franchising before handing over the business to a couple of career restaurateurs who are now looking to do the same.

“I’ve been managing restaurants in Bloomington for the last 20-something years,” said Kailas. “I’ve run everything from Kilroys on Kirkwood to the Laughing Planet — I helped the Planet grow from one store to multiple locations across the country. As my dad says, it was a natural progression for me to buy something.”

The original location on the west side of town opened in 2009, and its layout reflects the restaurant’s Chicago-style inspiration. There’s enough room for a line of booths and a couple of chairs at a table, and if customers were to close their eyes and listen beyond the sound of orders being taken through a window in the wall, they might be able to imagine the commotion of a much larger city outside. The restaurant has worked on bringing its product to a more varied set of dog-lovers across town, using a hot dog cart for years, but it wasn’t until a month ago that the second location at 306 N. Walnut St. opened to the downtown Bloomington crowd.

“The west side is a mostly blue collar working lunch. It’s mostly people from the factories — and by the factories — coming in for a quick lunch, so we really push fast and friendly service there,” said Kailas. “Here, we have much more sporadic dining, where it’s not quite all at once. College kids come and eat whenever they want to.”

Both staff and operating hours have grown as a result of the expansion. The six-person staff at the first location has been supplemented by a staff of 10 at the new place, which is bright, open, alive with music pumping from the stereo and decorated with hot dog-themed murals and art. The new location offers more seating, has a larger prep and kitchen area, is 1,000 square feet larger and is located just across from Kilroys Sports. And though the obvious appeal to a late-night, drinking, street-food-loving group is apparent in the new location’s late night hours — open until 3 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday — Kailas said that the the drinking crowd is just “icing on the cake.”

“There’s a lot of office workers, clerks and city workers within a couple of feet of here, so we’re trying to bring in more of the crowd that is going to go to the quick service and fast food restaurants and give them something that is more fun,” said Kailas. “We have a great clientele that loves to follow us, and we’re looking to build new clients and introduce people that usually don’t come downtown to have lunch.”

In addition to Kate’s push for an expanded menu featuring more than just hot dogs, Naughty Dog will feature bratwurst from Indiana Bratworks, a company Kailas said will be based out of Ellettsville once the owner returns from an internship with a German sausage-maker. In addition to making most toppings in-house and using locally sourced chicken sausage, Kailas hopes to open his kitchen and prep areas to local food trucks to help support the street-food community.

It’s a place-oriented business model that has proved there are some obstacles in the franchising. Even the second location’s introduction has caused some confusion in the social media realm. That, paired with the public not realizing city garages have three hours of free parking, has kept the first month of business relegated to passer-bys and walk-in referrals. Kailas has already fielded requests for franchises from across the country, but he feels that will come later down the road.

“We were excited to sell Kai Naughty Dog because he and his family are local to Bloomington and understand the importance of the community and the pride of expanding the business within the community and beyond,” wrote Nick Palmiotto, one of the restaurant’s former owners, in an email. “We wish them the very best and hope one day someone from Bloomington can go to a Naughty Dog, in whatever city they are in, for a little taste of their home town.”

2016-04-15

Real Chicago dogs are now available in Bloomington


The Naughty Dog, a new restaurant on Bloomington's west side specializes in - you guessed it - hotdogs. The menu features a wide variety of dogs on buns, all starting with a Hebrew National all-beef hotdog. Every hotdog can be ordered cooked in your own style, whether you like them grilled, steamed, deep fried, dirty (burnt on the grill) or a splitter (fried until split open). The Chicago dog, replete with the official components of the true signature dog, leads the menu of signature Naughty Dogs. There's also a chili cheese dog, New York dog, Coney dog, Mexi dog and several other creative varieties. All dogs can be ordered in four sizes, catering to all appetites. The menu also invites diners to build their own dog with a large list of available toppings. At the Naughty Dog, buns can also be selected including white, poppy seed or wheat. Then the bun can be steamed, toasted or served plain. The Naughty Dog, at 3860 W. Third St., adds another locally owned option to the growing westside dining variety. The complete menu can be viewed at http://naughtydoghotdogs.com.

2009-10-02