- CHERYL BAEHR
- You can soon get your hot dog fix at the Brentwood Home Depot, thanks to Dirty Dogz.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may have told us vaccinated folks we could drop our masks, but a clearer sign has emerged that our COVID-19 nightmare is drawing to an end: Dirty Dogz is getting ready to reopen at the Brentwood Home Depot.
For those in the know, the Brentwood Home Depot hot dog is one of the area's true culinary treasures — a steaming, condiment-covered tube of meat that provides a moment of respite while out and about grabbing a screwdriver and some two-by-fours. Independently operated by the O'Fallon-based Dirty Dogz, the cart has been closed since the beginning of the pandemic and has remained shuttered by Home Depot in line with the company's food service safety protocols.
However, according to owner Jason Gaines, Dirty Dogz is set to be up and running any day now — as long as he can hire a few people to work the stand.
"My fiancée and I were up there the other day plugging away and cleaning," says Gaines. "People were coming up asking us when we were opening, how our families are. We could open tomorrow if we could find people to work."
Gaines, who operates a brick-and-mortar Dirty Dogz restaurant in O'Fallon, says that, like everyone else in the industry, he has been hit hard by the labor shortage. Though he's fortunate to have a core staff in O'Fallon, he needs three employees to staff the Home Depot cart, which he plans to have open six-days-a-week.
"I just can't be in two places at one time," Gaines laments.
Once he finds those employees, he plans to open with a smaller menu than before, though guests can expect the Dirty Dogz staples they have come to know and love.
"I figured that when I went into this business, if I was going to sell hot dogs, I was going to sell the best hot dogs," says Gaines. "Ours are 100 percent Black Angus beef and are made especially for us; our buns are also made by a local bakery. If I was going to do this, I was going to use high quality products and do it right."
Gaines also prides himself on great customer service, which he believes is the core of his operation, which has been around since 2007. He looks forward to continuing to serve his Home Depot guests with that same friendly spirit, as soon as possible.
"I'll be open as soon as I can," Gaines says. "Then you can get your wiener and a screwdriver again in the same trip."
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