A local family wants to bring a taste of the East Coast to the streets of Santa Barbara.
Carol Dailey and her husband, Jared Guthrie, will debut Road Dogs on Sunday at the old Bebop Burger location, 110 State St.
Road Dogs is a “food cart on steroids” that will sell Nathan-style snap dogs with a homemade twist, according to Dailey.
“My husband and I are foodies and have traveled all over the U.S.,” she said. “We were in L.A. and trying some of the food trucks when we thought, ‘We can do this.’”
The original idea was to invest in a truck, but the $175,000 tab seemed a little too steep, she said. So to keep overhead low and maximize accessibility, Dailey said a cart housed in a trailer was the best fit.
“Why don’t we start with a cart, and it’s something we can finance ourselves without getting in debt,” she said. “The biggest advantage is the cost.”
Dailey started Allen Paint and Body Shop in the late 1970s, which she helped own and operate until 1997. Now at National Auto Body & Paint, Dailey plans to man the cart on the weekends with the help of Guthrie, who has experience in the restaurant business and helped create the menu.
Dailey’s son, Shawn, also will help out, aside from his atypical day job. Between tours playing bass for Courtney Love’s band, Shawn Dailey handles Road Dogs’ marketing, promotion and booking.
“(Playing in Love’s band) is as crazy as you would think,” he said.
Shawn Dailey said the cart can fit into places a truck can’t, such as an outdoor patio of a bar.
A cart is well-suited for this economy and the event-driven community of Santa Barbara, he said. Meals average about $8.
“There’s always something going on in Santa Barbara, whether it’s Summer Solstice, a winery, a business or private event,” Shawn Dailey said. “If you are on State Street and looking for just a quick bite to eat, most of the stuff is sit-down that will cost some money. You can get out out of (Road Dogs) for less than $10. You can really stretch your dollar.”
Carol Dailey said acquiring health permits from the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department was frustrating, and that she met some resistance with the city because she said it doesn’t want food trucks and carts to swarm the streets like Los Angeles.
Hot dog aficionados can choose from different combinations of the snap dog, a 9-inch weiner that has a crunch, Shawn Dailey said. There’s the Mac Daddy (mac and cheese, onions, bacon), a barbecue Sweet Baby Ray, the New Yorker and a Road Dog, which is a classic chili cheese. The Picnic Dog is smothered with Carol Dailey’s homemade potato salad, crushed up barbecue potato chips, diced red onions, sweet and spicy mustard, and a deli pickled spear.
“One of the customers tried one during our test run by the Surf Museum and he said, ‘Oh, my God, this is awesome. This has everything you would have in a picnic,’” and there the name was born, she said.
There is a veggie dog, but the stand isn’t necessarily for the health-conscious consumer, Shawn Dailey said. It also serves specialty sodas such as grape Crush and cream soda.
“We have sides like fully loaded nachos, which you can mix and match with mac and cheese,” he said. “It’s probably not a place to go if you are on a health kick.”
“It’s 100 percent family-owned, invested and run,” Shawn Dailey said. “There’s nothing like this in Santa Barbara, and the food will speak for itself.”