Pittsburgh Willy's Opening Hot Dog-Only Spinoff in Chandler This Fall (Spoiler Alert: Twinkie Hot Dog)
Randy Walters, owner of Pittsburgh Willy's, the five-year-old hot dog, sandwiches, chili, and pierogi joint inside Chandler's Merchant Square Antique Mall, is opening a hot dog-only spinoff in downtown Chandler.
"I've had offers to open in Queen Creek and other cities," Walters tells me. "But I'm a hands-on kind of guy and I've wanted to be in downtown Chandler for a long time."
Here's what hot dog hounds can expect.
Called Pittsburgh Willy's Dog House, the new location, literally a house at 159 West Commonwealth, is about two miles away from Walter's original spot.
Pittsburgh Willy's Dog House will be located in a small home about two miles away from the original Willy's.
Walters tells me he'll serve up around 15 kinds of dogs, which will include all the varieties from the original Willy's location (think The Big Willy, The Freddie G, and The Wild Willy) in addition to new creations currently being tested with with customers.
One, called the Wing Ding Willy features a hot link with Buffalo sauce, bacon, and blue cheese. Another, named after Pittsburgh Steelers legend Franco Harris, is made with an Italian chicken sausage covered in marinara sauce, Parmesan cheese, peppers, and onions. And a third, featuring a split hot dog on a bolillo roll and covered with pineapple chunks, barbecue sauce, fried onions, and Asiago cheese, is called the Shane Doan, a hot dog homage to the Phoenix Coyotes star.
And Walters says he'll have the Twilly on the menu, too. Originally a one-time treat for this year's National Hot Dog Day (July 23), the Twilly, a hot dog nestled inside a Twinkie and covered in peanut butter and bacon, was such a hit with customers that Walters, who describes it as "a great dessert or after dinner dog," is keeping it on the menu for good.
For sides, expect homemade cole slaw, potato salad, and chips.
Although Walters isn't planning on serving alcohol, he's looking into a BYOB license. And given the proximity of his Dog House to San Tan Brewing Company (just a few steps away), he's also considering staying up late (until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday) in addition to being open from 11 a.m. until 8 or 9 p.m. the rest of the week.
Walters says he's got a lot of work to do on his new hot dog home before it opens in September. He's planning on adding a patio that will hold about 10 to 15 tables (the inside of the space holds around the same) -- as well as decorating each of the space's three room's with a different theme: Pittsburgh sports (natch), bridges (fun fact: Pittsburgh has more bridges than any other city in the world), and local artwork for sale.
"I'm excited and scared," Walters tells me. "But I'm just going to put my nose to the grindstone and remember what my dad always told me: 'use quality ingredients and treat every customer with respect.'"