Awhile back, Alex Mitow, the owner of Los Perros Locos, invited a few of us bloggers to check out his relatively new hot dog joint in LES. Los Perros Locos, which has already been reviewed by the NYTIMES, is appearing to give Crif Dogs a run for its money. Perhaps the biggest difference between the two is that Los Perros Locos takes hot dogs to an even newer level with a slew of really crazy toppings. If you thought wrapping a hot dog in bacon and then deep frying it was crazy, Alex adds crunchy, spicy and sweets toppings on top of that. With these toppings, it’s almost impossible to screw up a hot dog.
We were offered to taste a variety of dogs. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you what I ate since nothing was labeled. But I can tell you that it was a hawt mess. Everything was delicious, but equally greasy and really difficult to eat at the same time. Still, this join makes for a perfect stop after a long night of drinking.
I had the chance to catch up with Alex offline to speak with him in more detail about this venture:
What makes a Colombian hot dog Colombian? Is it the Colombian inspired toppings? Or is there something different about the hot dog itself?
It’s really the toppings, not so much the dog that make a hot dog Colombian. We use a traditional all beef frank but our toppings are either Latin American or Colombian inspired. Our toppings are a twist on our general themes of crunchy, sweet, and spicy and we’ll use toppings such as chips and pineapple sauce.
Have you ever been to Colombia?
No, but I’ve lived in Miami so I’ve had exposure to Colombian food. I’ve had a lot of Colombian customers who are surprised that I’ve never been and always tell me that I must go one day!
Do you have a food-related background?
Yes, I’ve been in the restaurant business for 10 years. I’ve run Red Fish, Blue fish, a Caribbean style seafood restaurant in Florida. I grew also up in a Jewish deli- Lucky Dill Deli, which I still own a part of. It’s a NY style deli also located in Florida.
Why Hot Dogs?
Since the day I was in NYC two years ago, I had this concept all ready. I felt that despite having other hot dog joints, such as Crif Dogs, there was still an unmet niche within this hot dog market. I think we put out a different and better product to be honest.
How did you choose the location for Los Perros Locos?
I choose a smaller location for Los Perros Locos because I’m hoping to make a chain out of it. Right now, we have prospects to open up additional chains around the NYU area and in Washington DC. We signed the lease in the Lower East Side location in June 2012 but the restaurant didn’t open until January 2013, actually because of Sandy. We had actually expected to open within 3-4 months of the lease signing, but it turned into over 6 months. Luckily, the location wasn’t affected by the hurricane, but the hurricane did cause some big hangups. Sandy shut down the building department and ConEdison was backlogged. It actually took me 377 phone calls to get through to ConEdison to come out for some electrical questions that we had.
Explain the process for starting Los Perros Locos. It’s been reported in the NYTimes that you created the menu in just an hour on your cell phone. What role does your chef play?
Chuckles. Well that line that you read about me making up the menu in an hour on my cellphone was sorta taken out of context. I’ve been creating a “menu” in my head for awhile, thinking about toppings, which is why it only took me an hour to “finalize” the menu on my cell phone. We’ve refined the menu since, and my chef has also created some things on the menu. I’ve known him since he was 15 and he was with me at Red Fish Blue Fish and the deli. We’re a great team because I’m good at figuring out what I want food wise and he is great at perfecting processes and figuring out how it can be made en masse.
How many hot dogs do you go through in a month?
Well, we go through about 1,300 to 1,400 hot dogs in an average week, so at least 5,000 hot dogs? We actually sell more burgers to go, probably since Los Perros Locos is listed in the hamburger category on Seamless.
What’s your favorite dog?
I really like the Mas Perfecto (with apple chipotle slaw and quail eggs). People shy away from this one because of the quail egg, but there’s deep fried bacon involved! I think this dog really encapsulates what a Colombian hot dog is, and if you haven’t one before, this is a must. Another dog that I really like is the Chimi-Churi-Chori (juicy chorizo, grilled Provoleta, homemade chimichurri, aji Panca aioli, and crush potato chips), which is atypical but also really awesome.
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