Downtown La Verne’s outdoor-only restaurant dining, required because of Covid-19, didn’t stop a new shop from opening this summer. D Street Wienery – that’s “wienery,” not winery – hopes to make a lasting impression as the go-to place for “traditional Americano” hot dogs in La Verne.
The Wienery is located right next to Cactus Coffee, at the site of the former Pappas Artisanal restaurant. It’s a huge space with high ceilings at the back of the building, with tables and stools waiting to be filled when indoor dining returns. Now it welcomes customers with speakers blasting classic rock music and wall art with pop culture icons such as Mick Jagger.
The hot dogs at the D Street Wienery take a twist on classic American dogs, and the shop offers a variety of sausages, styles and flavors that are tailored to what customers may be craving.
For example, the LV Street Dog, which is a bacon-wrapped dog with peppers, onions and a deep fried jalapenos, and the Chicago Dog, with a poppy seed bun, onion and sweet “neon green” peppers are among the favorites. The menu consists of three sections that contain sausage options, the wieners, and vegan options too. Other favorites on the menu include root beer floats and homemade potato chips.
“I made the menu to please anyone’s taste buds and appetite” said Rolando Alvardo, a manager and chef at D Street Wienery. “I like sweet and savory, and so I put the roasted poblano chiles on our Cranberry Cognac dog, with some mustard and probably caramelized onions. It’s a straightforward, easy way to make a good offering. You can add more ingredients and flavors to your liking,” Alvardo said.
When Alvardo was deciding what to include on the menu, he said he knew his biggest goal was to keep it traditional style – but add his own twist.
“Everyone is familiar with Italian sausage. Some Italians are too spicy, too salty and this is just a well-made sausage, where you get to choose your own toppings, pretty much creating your own style of dog to your liking,” Alvardo said.
The menu, divided in four sections, consists of different signature wieners, sausages, side items to go with your meal, and a kids’ menu to feed smaller folks. D Street Wienery’s wieners range in price from $6.75 to $8.99.
The clear challenge for the new Wienery has been opening amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The Wienery had envisioned the place to attract the students at the University of La Verne, and be a new upbeat hangout spot for the La Verne community.
“It is one of our biggest goals to succeed here, because La Verne isn’t just a location for us but a community that we live in and absolutely love,” said Mike McAdams, owner of D Street Wienery and also owner of the Lordsburg Taphouse and Grill in downtown La Verne. “Before this whole pandemic situation, and when the college was in full swing, this opportunity seemed like a no-brainer.”
The restaurant has demonstrated its efforts during COVID-19 by focusing on the quality of food, cleanliness, and customer service.
“We want to make the community proud, and it has been a struggle to overcome, but we are optimistic and hoping for the better,” McAdams.
“People from the East Coast will call out our dogs… They will question the authenticity and from where these hot dogs originated,” said Matthew Windau, a manager of D Street Wienery.
Midwesterners also may be skeptical, apparently.
“I’m from Chicago, and whenever I go to a hot dog place that offers a Chicago dog, it’s a Chicago pride thing,” said Hannah Menhir, a Chicago native, who was recently eating at the Wienery.
Menhir said that at times when she visits different hot dog places, they don’t live up to the Chicago hot dogs she knows and loves. She said she thinks of California as a place that tries to imitate the culture and cuisine of other places.
“D Street Wienery’s is definitely a bougie version of a Chicago dog, because it is a higher quality compared to our fast food dog out there – but very great,” said Menhir
D Street Wienery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m to 9 p.m.
Destinee Mondragon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.