Rise Brands Debuting Weenie Wonder at Bridge Park
Rise Brands’ latest concept will serve up a heavy dose of nostalgia, but this time not through games or cocktails, but hot dogs, jojos and milkshakes.
The company behind PINS Mechanical Co. and 16-Bit Bar + Arcade is venturing into food territory with its first restaurant, Weenie Wonder.
Founder Troy Allen says the concept has been about five years in the making, and Central Ohioans would already be noshing on dogs were it not for the pandemic. Nostalgia drives many of the experiences Rise Brands creates and Weenie Wonder is no different, playing off Allen’s memories of hitting up spots like A&W or heading to the drive-in for a coney when he was growing up.
Like the bar counterparts under the Rise Brands umbrella, Allen also saw a gap in the market, this time for a more fast-casual, quick-serve approach to hot dogs. While there are certainly other hot dog joints in the market, Weenie Wonder will allow guests to customize their dogs through a service style that’s set up for higher volume, with higher-end ingredients.
The menu of gourmet hot dogs will include eight to 10 standards – Chicago Dog, Loaded Coney Dog, etc. – and two dozen plus ingredients for diners to build their own creations with toppers like peppers, raw or cooked onions, sauerkraut, ketchup, a variety of mustards, tomatoes, pickles, three types of cheese and more.
Weenie Wonder dogs will be built on all-beef Koegel’s hot dogs, a brand Allen discovered during family trips to Michigan. Or, diners can make it vegan with the Wonder Dog.
The eatery will also introduce Columbus to a potato style more common in the northeastern part of the state: the jojo. The long potato wedges are battered and deep fried, and can also be crowned with toppings. Baked potatoes and salads will round out Weenie Wonder’s savory menu, for in the sweets department, there are milkshakes.
Diners can belly up to the milkshake counter for a sippable menu of six standards.
Weenie Wonder will debut two locations in Central Ohio over the next year. Both the PINS and 16-Bit at Bridge Park in Dublin, 6558 Riverside Dr., and at Easton, 4117 Worth Ave., were built out with space for the restaurant concept nearby.
Dublin will open first this fall, and construction will start on the Easton location during Q1 2022. Allen says they want to get some time in at Dublin to dial in the process before ramping up at Easton.
“After Easton we will go pretty quick with this,” Allen says, noting that Weenie Wonders won’t always be next to PINS or 16-Bit, but the concept was designed as a standalone brand.
The company is already scouting additional local locations in Dublin (yes, another), Upper Arlington and Westerville. Allen says they’ll probably aim for four to five restaruants in Central Ohio, and at its peak, aim to open about 10 a year. Weenie Wonder is very early in the process of exploring other markets where Rise Brands operates bars like Nashville and Charlotte.
Weenie Wonder will be open for lunch all the way through to late-night hours. As a standalone concept, the restaurants will offer dine-in seating with Dublin making room for 60 to 70 guests.
For more information, visit weeniewonder.com.
All renderings via Rise Brands