California Hotdogs

This one’s for you Fresno. I took one for the team again and ventured out to Old Town Clovis, home of the newly opened California Hotdogs. I really hadn’t heard much about them besides the Bee’s recent write up. I really had low high hopes that they were bringing something creative to the local hot dog scene, which is pretty much non-existent.

Photo Dec 18, 5 48 42 PM

I wish I could report something positive here but I just can’t. Despite the long list of creative hot dog combinations, and the fact that they’re serving all beef dogs, they simply don’t “make” anything here. I’ll give them a pass on not making their own hot dogs, but if you can’t make a simple potato salad or a signature chili, then just what the heck are you selling? Convenience I guess. But at $4.95 for a chili dog, I’ll just “assemble” it myself at home.

Photo Dec 18, 5 48 24 PM

I’m not saying that the food is poor quality but come on now. You don’t need a whole restaurant for this cuisine. Just buy a hotdog cart and save yourself about $2500+ a month in rent. This reminds me of the old hot dog place in Fig Garden, Haute Dave’s. They were supposed to be gourmet. Guess how many side dishes they made?  Zero. Guess where they are now? Closed.

I’m hoping that California Hotdogs will get a clue and put some more effort into this thing. Just imagine cranking out some awesome chili, house cut fries, and some grandma style macaroni salad. Not only would that justify the cost, it would probably make it a viable dining option for lunch or dinner. For now though I’ll be left to eat Nathan’s Hot Dogs at home topped with Hormel No-Bean chili.

Oh yeah- The actual food we ate was just okay. Despite the glorious looking bacon-macaroni and cheese dog, my wife said the mac tasted like it was made way earlier in the day. The tots were barely cooked. Remember the old cafeteria tots? Baked not fried. Same here.

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11 Responses to California Hotdogs

  1. Matt P. says:

    Good post.

    Agree completely about the Haute Dave’s reference. I bought what I thought was going to be a ‘semi-gourmet’ salad there, topped with the ‘gourmet’ sausages, etc…

    What I got instead was a generic, clear plastic-box container with an equally generic salad. There spin to it though? They simply cut sausages of their choosing on top. After that, they asked us what kind of Paul Newman’s dressing, and we were done. That was about 9 – 10 bucks later too. I went in with the mindset that it was going to be some ‘signature,’ unique salad, with their own homemade dressing, and unique choosing of greens and veggies. Wrong. Absolute waste.

    Plus, the owner wasn’t pleasant at all — no personality, no passion. They didn’t even last 9 months, if I’m correct. No surprise.

    I hope CA dogs doesn’t turn out like this, but it’s sounding like it. I 100% agree, it’s understandable of dogs aren’t homemade, but hopefully most of everything is… or at least show the effort.

    I can’t wait to try still, and give my review soon.

    Hot dog businesses are tough here… I’m still waiting for that novelty one that will stick around, but it’s not looking well.

    • fresnobites says:

      Yeah Haute Dave’s was an embarrassment.

      I didn’t even mention California Dogs non-grilled dog and boring potato chip selection. The place just has no passion, just like HD’s. Hope they get some quick.

  2. Matt P. says:

    Should of proofread.

    “They simply cut sausages of MY choosing…”

  3. ed says:

    damn, i was going to ask about the dog quality, but i see you covered it in the comments. you said they were all beef and non grilled. are they natural casing or what?
    \

  4. Marjorie Dau says:

    Hot dogs are the perfect food truck item. There is no excuse for out of the box (can) anything today. Pure lazyness. So disappointing.

    • fresnobites says:

      Marjorie, The laziness is really what stands out. When I asked the guy there whether anything was made in-house it was just kind of like “no, but everything we buy is pretty good stuff.” So is the stuff I buy at the grocery store but I’m not reselling it. I understand it must be a TON of work to run and open a restaurant. But why do it if you don’t have the passion to put out a fresh and homemade product? It just doesn’t make any sense.

      After this post I had a quick conversation with a friend. Their expectations were even higher; homemade bun, deep fried dog, etc. Oh and at least cheese that melts.

      • Ragin92 says:

        Your opinions are interesting. I’m sure you are a fine food critic, however have you ever opened anything? The hotdogs are very good, and I here that several people leave satisfied. You make mention out of the box, what does this mean? Is the business supposed to have a hotdog factory outback. I mean come on man! Boring chips,what do you recommend? I don’t think it’s fair to knock a business down like that. If anything you should give the owners some advise “face to face” instead of hiding behind your little computer screen. For the money your getting a 1/4 pound all beef hotdog, with a variety of toppings. The “boring chips” are free. You are truly a hatter sir. Good luck in all your future endeavors.

      • fresnobites says:

        Sorry if my review was too harsh. Typically I don’t write negative reviews but in this case I was simply making the statement that nothing here is made fresh from scratch. In the grand scheme of things though, this is barely a harsh review. Most of what I wrote was simply stating facts about what is served there. To my point about being lazy or having no passion, I guess that’s my feeling on why someone might open a restaurant. To me it would be to share something made from the heart (and also make money). That’s not what’s happening here.

        And to answer your question, no I have never amounted to anything in my life. I’ve never opened a restaurant. I work a regular job. But I’ve been eating out my entire life, at least 2 times per week since I was 7 or 8. In my adult life it’s how I exist. My waistline will attest.

        Either way, I’m glad to hear that people are leaving satisfied. And no, I don’t expect them to make their own hot dogs (as I stated in the post). But as a consumer, I do expect at least something made their in the restaurant. Chili? Potato salad? It’s simply what someone would expect from a hot dog “restaurant”. If I was eating off of a hot dog “Cart” at Fulton Mall I wouldn’t expect that.

        On to the chips. Yes I said the chips were boring in the comment section. The frito lay variety from Costco is exactly what our snack bar had in elementary school. I would recommend some “gourmet” chips a little more adult than Cool Ranch Doritos. But hey that’s just my opinion. I’m not the owner and obviously I don’t know any better or I would own a restaurant.

        To your other point, I would be more than happy to make recommendations to the owner face to face if I thought it would make a difference. I kept asking what was made there and basically every answer was no. If he had said they made future plans to do so, I would have thought totally different of the place and probably never wrote the review.

  5. Chris Williams says:

    I recently took my wife to California Hotdogs despite what reviews I read on Fresno Bites. I was very impressed. The food was great and service was great to. The food came quickly, the restaurant was clean and prices were reasonable for what you received.

    I didn’t have high expectations when walking in. A hot dog is a hot dog I thought. But I was impressed. They toasted my hot dog like at Quiznos and it made the difference.

    As far as not making things at the restaurant, I disagree. The potato salad and Chili may not be made there but it was good so what’s the problem. Eating out is about convenience . I can make anything at home in my kitchen but eating out is about being able to enjoy my time with family and friends and not having to cook. If it wasn’t good then I would agree.

    Some people just can’t be pleased. They are quick to give negative reviews but don’t know anything about running a business. If all that could be said is boring chips and not homemade product then I don’t think there is a bad reviewing the first place. Some people just like to say negative things about anything they can.

    Try California hotdogs for yourself and form your own opinion. I did and I was completely satisfied.

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