Prairie Dogs, the pop-up hot dog joint aptly named for the wee pop-up animal, is now looking for a permanent home. The craft-made sausages and gourmet hot dogs from chefs Craig Johnson and Tobie Nidetz will soon be regularly available, as the pair have taken to Kickstarter to drum up some capital for their planned restaurant. In the meantime, they'll be popping up again very soon.
The two have said they are in "active negotiations" for an Uptown restaurant space. If this space works out, it will be large enough to allow them to continue to make their own sausages. As Johnson said, "I've found my calling of making handcrafted sausages, charcuterie, and innovative hot dogs."
The new location will be open daily for lunch, dinner, and late night, and will offer delivery for the surrounding area via bicycle and catering and boxed lunch options for office workers. On site there will a selection of sausages and condiments available for sale, so that folks can enjoy their sausages at home.
The Kickstarter campaign's $30,000 goal won't cover all the expenses, but will assist with the costs of furnishing the casual, comfortable spot. Enticements for contributions include being named a "Tubed Meat Gourmand" for $50, which will snag you a T-shirt, a photograph on their "dog pack" wall, and tickets to their opening party. Larger donors will receive line-jumping privileges and opportunities for private parties.
If you'd like a taste of what these two have been cooking up, their next pop-up will land at Zumbro Cafe in Linden Hills on Thursday, February 20, beginning at 4 p.m. The duo paired with the cafe because, as Johnson pointed out, both are dedicated to using locally sourced ingredients. "We are going to try to source as much as possible locally to stay true to our farm-to-dog theme," he said. They will have options for vegetarians and vegans as well, along with several gluten-free selections.
The chefs behind Prairie Dogs have proven themselves at other Twin Cities restaurants. Craig Johnson was recently at Spill the Wine where he wooed us with his simple snacks that paired so well with cocktails and wine. Tobie Nidetz is known in some circles as "the Restaurant Whisperer." He's opened several successful restaurants including Ike's, Rye Deli, and more recently, Seventh Street Social. Both are enthusiastic about hot dogs, and Prairie Dogs has been their labor of love since its first pop-up last September. Now, they're on to the next chapter.