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Rise Brands’ first food concept is a hot dog-focused trip down memory lane

Rise Brands’ first food concept is a hot dog-focused trip down memory lane

Sarah Sole

Much of what central Ohio-based Rise Brands produces is steeped in nostalgia. So it’s no surprise that their first foray into food would be any different. 

“Everyone likes to remember when they were a kid,” said Rise’s CEO Troy Allen. 

Rise Brands’ fast-casual hot dog joint Weenie Wonder opened Feb. 24 at 6562 Riverside Dr. in Dublin’s Bridge Park. The space is located in between Rise Brands’ other concepts, Pins Mechanical Co. (6558 Riverside Dr.) and 16 Bit Bar + Arcade (6564 Riverside Dr.), allowing access to both. And you can expect to see more hot dog joints in the future. 

Another Weenie Wonder is slated to open in Easton Town Center later this year to be located next to the Pins and 16-Bit complex there. (The standalone eatery will be connected via a passageway.) In fact, Rise Brands plans to open as many as eight additional Weenie Wonder locations throughout central Ohio, according to Allen. 


“This is a project that honestly, we’ve been working on for five years,” he said. 

The pandemic pushed the schedule back—Rise Brands had had the dedicated space in Bridge Park for three years now. And while Rise had traditionally stayed away from food in favor of entertainment, the company eventually wanted to test a hot dog concept between Pins and 16-Bit. 

While hot dogs aren’t a scarcity in central Ohio, Allen’s model differs somewhat from what was already here. 

“I wanted someplace that was more quick-serve,” he said. 

The fast-casual space is designed in such a way that customers can see their hot dogs being made. The eatery features eight signature dogs, as well as a customizable option with over 30 different ingredient options. Standouts so far are the Wonder Coney (Coney Sauce, cheddar, onion, and yellow mustard) and the Dumpster (Jojo, Coney Sauce, cheddar, mac & cheese, and Wonder sauce). 

Photo by Jen Brown

“It’s kind of a toss up,” Allen said. 

The signature dogs feature standbys such as the Chi-Town (pickle, tomato, sport pepper, yellow mustard, Atomic Relish, onion, and celery salt), as well as more creative fare such as the Taco Crunch (Coney Sauce, cheddar, jalapeno, sour cream, and Jalapeno Fritos).  

“We wanted to have a little bit of fun as well,” he said. 

Though the dogs are designed for today’s market, they’re inspired by Allen’s past. Originally from Northeast Ohio, Allen used to frequent A&W Restaurant as a kid, as well as Coney Island. And when he visited family in Michigan, Allen would get to eat the hot dogs from Koegel Meats Inc., with casing that snapped when he bit into them. 

Weenie Wonder’s dogs are complemented by sides that include tots, coleslaw, mac & cheese, and jojos (seasoned potato wedges, for those not in the know). 

And for dessert, Weenie Wonder boasts a milkshake bar, created following extensive testing. 

“I will put our milkshakes up against anybody’s,” Allen said. 

While the menu is a callback to diners and soda fountains of decades past, the space’s appearance also has a retro vibe done up in whites and oranges. Customers can sit at the milkshake bar or booths, and an open design allows them to see their hot dogs on the grill and their milkshakes being prepared by hand. 

“It’s all rooted in the nostalgia,” Allen said. 

Weenie Wonder is open from 4 to 9 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, from 4 p.m. to midnight Thursday through Friday, from 11 a.m. to midnight Saturday, and from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. 

Want to read more? Check out our print publication, (614) Magazine. Learn where you can find a free copy of our new March issue here!


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