who let the dogs out

California chain unleashes gourmet hot dogs and biergarten on San Antonio

California chain unleashes hot dogs and biergarten on San Antonio

Dog Haus
Dog Haus’ full menu includes, sausages, burgers, fried chicken sandwiches, wings, and sides, but the gourmet dogs are the main attraction. Courtesy photo
Dog Haus
The new Stone Oak location is in its soft opening now. Courtesy photo
Dog Haus
Dog Haus

Stone Oak is going to the dogs. But trust us, it’s much more appetizing than it sounds. 

After slowly expanding into Texas over the past few years, Dog Haus, the award-winning, West Coast “craft-casual” chain known for its gourmet hot dogs, handcrafted sausages, burgers, and abundance of craft beer and cocktail options, has (soft) opened its latest biergarten concept at 20907 Stone Oak Pkwy.

The debut marks the first of what career franchisee Jason Rappaport hopes will be many such concepts to open in both the San Antonio and Houston markets in the near future. “I see probably 13-14 of these units being in the San Antonio market,” says Rappaport. “You see how San Antonio is growing. Based on the size of the city, to me, it was a no brainer to include that market in the expansion.”

For anybody who’s been following the growing chain, the expansion comes as no surprise. The Pasadena, California-based company began franchising in 2013, and opened the first of what's now six Texas-based operations in early 2017. According to the company’s website, Dog Haus now boasts 35 locations across the country with 14 more set to open soon.

Over the past year, Dog Haus has received positive press coverage for its continued adoption of to-go-only models during the pandemic (as has its sister company, takeout and delivery-based restaurant group Absolute Brands). Alamo City residents, however, can look forward to enjoying this craft-casual concept in its entirety — beer garden and all.

Located next to the JP Morgan Chase Corporate Center, the sprawling new restaurant concept features a 3,580-square-foot restaurant designed with an inviting, modern industrial aesthetic by Dog Haus’s corporate office in California. Within, guests will find ample bar seating, multiple HD televisions, and even a dog-friendly patio. 

For eats, the Stone Oak Biergarten will feature a full menu of what Dog Haus founders Hagop Giragossian, Quasim Riaz, and André Vener have dubbed “craft casual” fare.

I’ve actually taken to calling it ‘fast casual 2.0’ myself,” says Rappaport. “There are choices out there for hot dogs and sausage, but none of them are at the level that Dog Haus does it."  

Whatever you call it, local foodies are no doubt in store for some indulgent new menu items. Highest on the new biergarten’s menu are the chain’s namesake gourmet all-beef hot dogs and sausages. Handcrafted exclusively for the company by wurstmacher Adam Gertler, these dogs are free of added nitrates and come served on grilled King’s Hawaiian rolls. Striking a balance between savory and sweet, Stone Oak’s offerings will include such fan favorites as the Sooo Cali Dog, which comes topped with wild arugula, avocado, tomato, crispy onions, and basil aioli. 

Alongside wieners, Dog Haus customers can enjoy humanely raised black Angus beef burgers. Such quality beef uses no hormones or antibiotics and serves as the foundation for indulgent creations like the Freiburger, a sandwich loaded with white American cheese, fries, house slaw, mayo, and even a fried egg.

And for non-meat eaters, vegetarian options include plant-based burgers and sausage proteins from brands like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat. Rounding out this menu is Dog Haus’ staple chicken sandwich, the Bad Mutha Clucka, which comes with beer-battered or grilled chicken breast, lettuce, pickles, and miso ranch. 

And that craft-casual mindset also carries over to the biergarten’s pub operation, which includes a full bar set up with 24 beers on tap, including favorites from local craft brewing operations. For mixed drinks, Dog Haus Stone Oak will serve the brand’s signature Haus Cocktails, conceived by celebrity mixologist Phil Wills of Bar Rescue fame. These chain exclusive creations include offerings like the Secret Garden, which combines grapefruit, lime and orange juice, agave syrup, sparkling wine, and soda with a sprig of fresh rosemary. 

Right now, Rappaport says his team is aiming to hold the location’s official grand opening celebration on “the last weekend of February or the first weekend of March." As is the case with all Dog Haus franchises, this grand opening event will see the Stone Oak biergarten choose a local charitable organization to receive 20 percent of the location’s weekend sales.

And it looks like even more locations are being unleashed on San Antonio. Rappaport says two additional Dog Haus locations are currently under construction in San Antonio (one at 1604 and Bandera Road, and another one near 161 and Potranco Road). Both are set to open in sometime in the third quarter of 2021. Once these locations are up and running, Rappaport says customers can expect locally focused chef collaborations with notable San Antonio-based talents, which will yield limited, market-exclusive Dog Haus menu items. 

Before all that can happen though, San Antonio’s first Dog Haus location needs to get off the ground and have its employees fully trained. Rappaport says area foodies can aid this process by stopping by the biergarten for pre-opening preview service. ”Anybody that's in the area that wants to come by and try us out, please do," he says. "This is how we get our staffed practiced — live, actual training.”

For more information on the Stone Oak Biergarten’s official opening weekend and additional Dog Haus franchises, interested parties can visit doghaus.com or follow Dog Haus on social media.