Collegetown Pizza and Mama Theresa’s can say goodbye to their monopoly on the late-night Collegetown crowd; there’s a new vendor in town, with a treat in the wiener variety.Bru Dogs set up shop outside of Jason’s Deli on College Avenue at the beginning of Orientation Week, and has enjoyed considerable success since. The street-style food cart serves strictly hot dogs, with a number of ingredients, both traditional and non-traditional.The company was started by Ithaca natives Matt Lea, 28, and Adam Ciaschi, 27. The friends originally planned to begin a meat business of a different cut, though.“We were going to start a beef jerky business,” Lea said. “Adam has a bunch of family in Chicago that he visited, and he came back talking about a hot dog business.”After opening outside of the Lehigh Valley House restaurant in June, Bru Dogs impressed customers and fellow businessmen alike with their product. It wasn’t long before a Collegetown developer offered to rent them space in Collegetown, an opportunity that Lea says the business duo jumped at. He says the new location has brought them considerably more business than their old spot outside Lehigh Valley House.Lea and Ciaschi get their meat from Prairie Creek Cattle Company; however, it’s how they spice and treat their dogs that make them particularly proud of their product. The quarter pound beef franks are dipped in beef broth and beer, a method that Lea says greatly enhances the flavor and gives the dogs a distinct taste.Open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 9 pm to 2:30 a.m., Lea says the hot dogs are ideal “late-night food for college students.” The menu is short and humble; besides a plain dog, customers can choose from a New York-style dog, a Chicago-style dog, and a chili-cheese dog. Lea says the chili is homemade, an aspect which he says helps both the flavor and the charm of the dogs.“The hotdog stand brings a little taste of New York City to Ithaca,” said Rachel Abis ’11, who was in line for a hot dog Friday night. “In midtown Manhattan, there are hot dog vendors on every street corner. I’m glad I get to enjoy that here.”She added that the new stand already has a competitive edge over other late-night Collegetown eateries.“Everywhere else you often have to wait up to twenty minutes to get your order after the bars let out,” she said. “But here the incredibly friendly employees never make you wait more than five minutes for your hot dog.” Lea, who also serves as the chef at the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity, said the company has its sight set on other scenes in need of hot dog stands as well. With a recently designed brand logo and growing loyalty, Lea says they hope to have several Bru Dogs throughout the city.“We would like to eventually [expand] in many spots,” Lea said. He noted that the Commons and Ithaca College campus were two prime potential locations.
Original Author: Brendan Doyle