More than 20 years ago, Don Rucks dreamt up a grilling paradise where diners could skew typical hot dog conventions with pico de gallo, "nuclear" relish, and more sausage varieties than can be counted on one hand. But he and his wife Susie had a family on the way, and that was a separate dream he wasn't willing to sacrifice. Ironically, two decades later, it was his wife and two kids, D.J. and Traci, who helped him realize his long-awaited aspirations when they opened The Gnarley Dawg.
Just as Mr. Rucks envisioned it, the eatery's menu goes above and beyond bun-bound basics with eight varieties of sausage––including Polish, bratwurst, and chicken sausage––all inventively dressed with more than 50 toppings. Sides of spud salad and Dawg House chili pair with signature dawgs such as the T-Town Pup, which resembles Coney Island's dogs minus their traditional sand and seagull feathers. The Gnarley Dawg's interior junkyard aesthetic mimics the eclectic nature of its comestible collection. The owners have slapped a chain-link fence and barbed wire against the back wall, and littered the sucker with a hoarder's pickings of metal hubcaps, old signs, traffic lights, and even a Dodge pickup's tailgate––many of these donated by the eatery's loyal parishioners.