Designer hot dogs are becoming a thing now – the more unconventional the toppings, the better. However, Brewz n Dawgz in St. Augustine is not only mastering the designer hot dog, but also the healthy hot dog. We were lured into Brewz n Dawgz late on a Friday night by word that they had a vegetarian carrot dog which piqued our interest. There are a few unique attributes to this new restaurant, but one is that they are open late and serve late specifically to cater to the service and hospitality industry workers. That comes from a long background of the managers and owners of Brewz n Dawgz working in the service industry. So, us arriving at 11 pm on a Friday resulted not only in us feeling genuinely welcomed when we arrived, but it led to us being able to get some one-on-one time with the manager working that evening to get lots of information about the restaurant and the menu.
Address: 1974 US 1 South, St Augustine, FL, 32086
The manager on duty was also our server. As soon as we sat down he walked over to bring us menus and asked if we had been there before. He guided us through the menu and explained where they source their products and ingredients. Everything at Brewz and Dawgz is labelled “guilt free” which means: fresh, local, organic, non-gmo, grassfed, antibiotic hormone and nitrate free, and also gluten free, vegetarian, and vegan options. That’s an impressive undertaking for what is traditionally “comfort food” or “bar food.” The manager also told us they have 24 local Florida beers on tap, which I’d imagine is also catering to the service industry employees. He was clearly extremely proud of their business model and offerings. It sets a great atmosphere when employees besides the owners truly believe in the product that they’re selling.
We put in two appetizers while we were deciding on our entrees, the beer battered dawg bites ($6) and the loaded fries ($7). The apps arrived pretty quickly. The beer battered dawg bites were basically corn dog nuggets. The batter was much thicker than traditional beer batter which I liked, and it had more of the texture of traditional corn dog. These were served with a honey mustard dipping sauce. This appetizer is pretty much spot on what it should be. We got a nice reminiscent taste of childhood. The batter was crispy and not greasy in the least and the beef hot dog inside was an ample size. Often “fried bites” of anything means you get 90% batter, 10% meat. These dawg bites were mostly meat, with a little bit of batter. We appreciated that ratio.
The loaded cheese fries were not quite as up to par as the dawg bites. When I think of “loaded fries” I want them smothered in toppings. These fries were listed as having Irish butter, cheddar cheese, farm fresh bacon, organic sour cream, and organic chives. What we got was a large plate of well cooked, crispy, thin fries with a sprinkling of cheese, a scattering of bacon, and a few chives. It didn’t seem like any of the toppings were used as an active ingredient in the dish, it was on the level of a garnish. All the ingredients in the dish tasted fresh, there just wasn’t nearly enough of any topping to be worth $7 for a plate of fries. The surprising highlight of the loaded fries was the side of ketchup that came with the order. This was the best ketchup we’ve ever had. While not house made, it is organic and absolutely pure tomato flavor. I never thought you could actually taste the difference in organic condiments, but I wish I had an unlimited supply of this ketchup.
When it came to ordering our entrees, sadly they were already sold out of the carrot dog that we had heard about. The marinating process for the carrot dogs is a long one in order to give them the flavor profile they want to serve, which I appreciate. If this is on your agenda for your trip to Brewz n Dawgz, I would recommend calling prior to make sure it is available. The manager did mention that this had been a test item that they were adding to the regular menu soon, so perhaps that will increase the availability. We went with two Breakfast Dawgs ($8.75 each), one Cali Turkey Dawg with the vegan dawg substituted in for the turkey dawg ($8.75) and the Greek Dawg. The Greek Dawg was on special for this day, but you can always do a build your own dawg that includes the chicken feta spinach brat that comes on the Greek Dawg.
First off, the Breakfast Dawg. I have long been in search of, and nearly always disappointed, by breakfast themed hot dogs. Either the egg is wrong or the bacon is wrong. The Breakfast Dawg has a pork brat with bacon on a garlic butter toasted bun with a fried egg on top and “hash fries” (read: french fries). I will openly admit I’m an egg snob, I want a perfect runny yolk every time. This was pretty close. The egg was runny on half the yolk and a little hard on the other half. The white of the egg was fried crispy on the edges and was still soft on the inside. It was draped over the brat and hash fries. I couldn’t really taste the garlic butter on the bun, and that may have been what this dish seemed like it was missing. It needed a heavier seasoning of some sort and it would have been perfect. The grilled brat had a nice slightly crispy texture that you expect in a well cooked hot dog.
Next up, our modified Cali Vegan Dawg. My friend who ordered this one has been on and off vegan throughout her life and really enjoyed this dawg. She says often that vegan dawg choices don’t have the correct texture of a hot dog, but this one had a “meaty” texture on the inside to make it feel authentic. The Cali Dawg comes topped with organic spinach, tomato, and avocado on the same garlic butter bun and paired with a spicy mayo. We all loved the spicy mayo and thought that was a great addition to the creamy avocado and clearly fresh tomato and spinach.
The clear winner of the evening was the specialty Greek Dawg. The dawg was a chicken, feta, and spinach sausage and was absolutely phenomenal. The feta inside was creamy and rich and the dawg was also stuffed with spinach. The tangy feta paired with the lighter flavor of the chicken sausage really well, and this dawg was loaded with fresh vegetables, as were the others. This is a must order item – do not miss it. It’s pretty cool to feel healthy eating a hot dog, and we were glad that we opted for this particular special.
Brewz n Dawgz is providing St. Augustine with a very unique experience. The best part is that their entire menu is completely customizable. They are extremely food allergy friendly, they are transparent with the origin of every single ingredient and product used in their food, and they prepare the food with care and consideration. We fully support the concept of knowing where your food comes from and even better knowing that your food is packed full of nutrients and topped with fresh, local ingredients. Brewz n Dawgz has their service and product exactly right across the board. We can’t wait to see how they grow as they establish themselves in our community.