Hot Diggity Dog: Doghouzz Opens in Crosstown 

Dance parties, hot dogs, and more at Doghouzz.

Doghouzz is finally open, bringing gourmet hot dogs to the Crosstown neighborhood.

The humble hot dog has long been a fixture of birthday parties, baseball games, and 4th of July barbecues, so it's easy to equate them with summertime. But after stumbling into Doghouzz on a cold, rainy November afternoon, it's clear that hot dogs are more than just summer food — they're comfort food in its purest form, and no one does comfort food quite like Memphis, no matter the season.

click to enlarge You’re in the Doghouzz now. - LORNA FIELD
  • Lorna Field
  • You’re in the Doghouzz now.

"Everybody loves hot dogs," says Joey Betterton, manager of Doghouzz. "But Memphis didn't really have any good hot dog spots before." So restaurant partners Ray Rico, Steve Murphy, and Robert Taylor sought to fill that void by bringing a gourmet hot dog bar to the old Metro space across from Crosstown Concourse. The 4,400-square-foot space is equipped with a full bar, a pool table, a jukebox, and a patio in the back.

"Renovations have been going on since about May," Betterton says. "The roof fell in at the beginning of the year. After that, we got everything rolling, but it's been an endeavor."

The menu features a number of specialty hot dog selections, including a Chicago-style dog and a New York-style dog, but there's also the option to build your own hot dog by choosing from a variety of toppings like bacon, veggies, avocado, and different slaws.

Doghouzz currently serves three types of dogs: a classic Hebrew National all-beef frank, a slightly spicy andouille sausage, and a vegan braised carrot dog (served on your choice of vegan bun).

"Get the cheese," Steve Murphy whispers to me as I'm perusing toppings, but it's not a hard sell. I'll put cheese on just about anything.

It was the right choice. In fact, everything I tasted at Doghouzz was outstanding. As someone who lived in Illinois for a year and New York for six years, I'm no hot dog novice — and it's worth noting these are not your typical boiled, bland, movie theater-style hot dogs.

Doghouzz dogs are closer to what you'd find at a family cookout: each dog bursting with the smoky, savory flavor you'd expect of a hot dog plucked straight from the grill. It tastes like everything you'd want a hot dog to taste like: Americana.

Murphy, who is originally from Illinois, oversees the kitchen and brings a little yankee flare to the menu. The mac and cheese is cooked on a griddle, which gives it a nice, crisp texture. The chunky potato salad is served with the skins on and with a hint of dill, giving it a sharp, almost piquant flavor. The Doghouzz-style slaw is fresh, crunchy, creamy, and tangy without being sour or slimy like some slaws tend to be. And all of the sides, except for the chili, are made in-house.

"All of these are Steve's secret recipes," Betterton says.

The grand opening celebration was held on November 18th, but the party didn't stop there; Doghouzz will continue to host Saturday night dance parties with DJ Record Player every week.

"We're going to try to make it like a club vibe here," Betterton says. "We're going to be 21 and up after 10 p.m., but before that, we're all-ages."

Doghouzz is open from 11 a.m. until 3 a.m. every day except Sunday, making it one of the few places for super-late-night eats in the area — especially on weeknights. "People need an addition to our constellation of bar-hops," Betterton says.

Doghouzz is also available to host events, and they'll offer food delivery via apps like DoorDash and BiteSquad.

They're also continuing to flesh out the space itself: "We have this library ladder that we have yet to install, so we'll be able to glide across the bar and reach everything really well," says Betterton. "It's going to be really whimsical. I like that a lot.

"It's been a long time coming, but we love this space," Betterton adds. "Everything we did in here, we did ourselves. So it's all made with love."

The Doughouzz is at 1349 Autumn, 207-7770.

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