Robert E. ‘Bob’ Vigar

January 19, 2012


Staff Writer

A longtime downtown vacancy is expected to transform this summer into a gourmet hot dog restaurant, which intends to serve food and alcohol until 2 a.m.

A trio came up with the idea for the business, The Delaware Dog, after years of attempting to lease the space was unsuccessful.

Eventually, Roger Ailabouni, Angelos Frezoulis and Pete Varlas decided to use the space for their own endeavor.

While they are changing the face of the empty 23 N. Sandusky St. property (the former Nectar candy shop’s site), the owners are also trying to change the pace of the downtown area.

“I think people are sick of the same old thing over and over,” said Ailabouni, adding that people have grown accustomed to driving to Polaris for dinner.

“One of the things we wanted to do is keep Delaware residents in Delaware…and create one more thing to draw people into downtown,” said Ailabouni.

The intent is to offer an affordable, family-style restaurant by day, and become a gathering place to watch the game over a few drinks by night.

City Council approved the business’s request for a D5 liquor permit, which would allow the Delaware Dog to serve alcohol until 2:30 a.m.

Responding to concerns expressed by vice mayor Windell Wheeler, councilman and downtown Delaware resident Andrew Brush said that one more late-night bar was unlikely to disturb the neighbors.

Ailabouni said that The Delaware Dog is primarily a restaurant rather than a bar. Even at 2:30 a.m., the food will be served as late as the drinks are ordered.

The menu will entail a variety of foods that can be packed between two hot dog buns, Ailabouni said.

This includes vegetarian and vegan franks, as well as traditional hot dogs, topped with unexpected condiments. The menu may also offer ground beef for hamburger fans.

“We’re trying to make something that’s unique to Delaware,” said Ailabouni, adding that he hopes to eventually offer a delivery service or pick-up window.

Ailabouni said that he has received positive feedback from the community about his plans so far — sentiments shared by city manager Tom Homan.

“This will hopefully be another asset to the downtown,” he said.

The Delaware Dog is planning to open for business by the end of summer 2012.