Dogs Of Summer
When Joe Doppes purchased Bob’s Dogs on Oak Island last year, he decided to leave the name as is, wanting to reassure regular customers that things would remain pretty much the same. “You don’t want people to think you’re going to change everything,” he explains. “The only downside is people are asking where is Bob or if I am Bob. I’m not.”
The restaurant was established by Bob Kiser back in 2010. Doppes has reduced the menu just a bit to focus on the best sellers and still enable people to get in and out quickly. Having moved to Oak Island from Chicago two years ago, the new owner brings a wealth of experience in the food industry. “I’ve been in the restaurant business for over 40 years, for the most part in fine dining,” he says. “I owned several restaurants in the Chicago area -Italian, French and others. I’m a chef by trade. I graduated from the Culinary Institute in 1983. I eventually got to the point where I decided to sell the business and move down here. I didn’t want to stay in fine dining, though. I’d always said that if I retired I’d do a hot dog place and that’s where I am. People love hot dogs!”
But they’re not just your average dog. Doppes’ motto - “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, but make it better” - describes his approach to the menu. The ingredients are fresh, and several options offer a different twist on the typical. The Parrot Dog offers Jamaican relish or kraut. The Island Dog comes with homemade mango salsa. But the most popular is clearly the Oak Island Dog with chili, onions and house slaw. The Cheese Dog in Paradise is a fave too, coming loaded with chili and shredded cheese.
The restaurant also offers turkey and sausage dogs, burgers and sandwiches. In the winter, they offer the popular Meat Loaf Sandwich.
Doppes is also adding some new items to appeal to people who have relocated here, to give them something they can relate to. “I have an Italian pork sandwich,” he explains. “We roast pork with a dry rub for eight hours, then we put it on an Italian hoagie with provolone cheese and spinach.”
Bob’s also has some wonderful cookies and floats. The Macadamia Key Lime cookie sandwich has a house-baked macadamia nut and white cookies chocolate filled with key lime icing. The Chocolate Chip is house-baked with chocolate icing. You can also relive your youngster days with a soda and vanilla ice cream float. And Bob’s customers rave about the fresh-squeezed lemonade and orangeade.
When we talked with Doppes, our community
was in the midst of the COVID-19 shutdown, and he was only able to offer takeout. With the app “Toast,” he was able to make the ordering and payment process easy for his customers. “A lot of our younger customers really like using it,” he explains. “It’s user friendly; you can order and pay, then all you have to do is come and pick it up. Makes it more efficient for us too.” Now Bob’s is able to offer both indoor and outside seating at 1/2 capacity, but the Toast app is still available for your to-go orders.
Despite the uncertainty around the shutdown, Doppes is hopeful about the future. “The takeout saved us,” he says. Doppes says he was concerned about business when people were not able to go out on the beach, as that’s when he gets the most customers. But he says even then, he was hopeful for the future.
“I’m hopeful. Being a business owner, you always have to be looking forward. I think after all this, people will be ready to get out and do things that they haven’t been able to do for awhile. That’s what we’re looking for soon.”
I think we would all agree with that. Visit Bob’s Dogs soon and get your awesome dog, island style or however you like it best.