When it comes to street food, nothing compares to a hot dog piled high with toppings and served from a cart. If you’re from Manhattan or Chicago, there’s a right way and a wrong way to eat one. But if you’re like Dude Where’s My Hotdog founder Ashley Hoff, the hot dog is a blank canvas, “kind of like a painting,” he says. “Every artist has their own interpretation.”

The Texas-raised “tubed meat specialist”—that’s the title on his card—admits he didn’t know what he was doing when he launched his food truck in 2013, but he’s had time to perfect every item on his menu.

The mission is simple: “How do we take hot dogs to the next level?” From the best-selling Rebel Dog with crispy fried onions, bacon, chili and cheese, to the Nacho Dog with tortilla chips, salsa, guacamole and crema, all of Dude’s dogs deserve Best in Show. Ingredients are fresh, not canned; buns are baked locally; and sauces are made from scratch.

Dude Where’s My Hotdog has bounced around from a two-year stint outside Hustler Club—a natural fit because “no one wants to eat food in a strip club”—to Atomic Liquors and the Bunkhouse Saloon. “We were used to dealing with tourists, which was great because we got to meet a bunch of people, but it wasn’t the local community,” Hoff says. “When we got [Downtown], instantly it was regular faces and the vibe was just different.”

At the moment, Hoff is gearing up for this weekend’s Punk Rock Bowling festival, at which Dude has served for six years. Judging from the truck’s Ramones-ish logo, it’s a good fit. “We appeal to a certain crowd for sure,” Hoff says. “That’s the best thing about what we do—the people who have come along on the journey with us.”

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