Story | Kate Fitzgerald
Photography | Mark Lipczynski
Short Leash Hot Dogs food truck impresarios Brad and Kat Moore leaped into the arms of opportunity five years ago with their idea for a gourmet mobile hot dog stand. Their idea was to have fun by celebrating the lighthearted side of dogs in every way, including their menu.
To stand out, the couple tossed away the traditional hot dog bun and took the novel approach of wrapping each dog in Indian-style naan bread, offering a choice of 20 different toppings for one flat price (about $6).
“My personal beef with regular hot dog buns is that everything falls out,” Brad says of the naan wrap Kat developed. “We did a lot of experimenting and found that naan gives a uniform density, a buttery flavor and it holds up well for dog fans.”
The concept was a hit. Short Leash’s owners initially roved Phoenix streets and events in their trucks on weekends as a part-time gig, until the Moores got so busy they could quit their full-time jobs (he was in banking, she was an interior designer). Since then operation has expanded to include a second truck, plus a brick-and-mortar location at Roosevelt Row.
All the hot dogs on Short Leash’s menu are named after real dogs—their own mutts Olive and Igby—as well as those of friends and customers. Each week, Short Leash features a different “Dog of the Week,” and the walls of the restaurant celebrate dozens of portraits of their friends’ and customers’ dogs.
Menu highlights include their signature dogs served on naan, with meat choices ranging from regular, bratwurst, all-beef, spicy beer hot, polish, vegetarian and chicken. Then there are the premium dogs, which include the Bratwurst Stuffed Pretzel made with bratwurst cooked in Four Peaks Kiltlifter beer with sauerkraut, onions and bacon, topped with Swiss cheese Bavarian mustard and served in a house-made pretzel roll.
Customers are encouraged to go dog wild with toppings that run the gamut from onions and green chills, to zanier options including Sriracha, dragon sauce, pinto beans or peanut butter.
Short Leash’s food trucks offer a wide range of customized dogs and sides, including corn dogs, fried pickles and cole slaw. But the restaurant’s menu is much more expansive and includes salads and desserts. A bar serving a wide range of craft beers, local and other wine and cocktails caters to fans of Short Leash’s food trucks and locals, who gather at the sit-down location for lunch, dinner and brunch on weekends.
Since adding the restaurant last year, it’s hard to say whether it’s wagging the dog or the other way around.
“Having the restaurant as our base has really helped fuel our food-truck business,” Brad muses. “We’re incredibly busy on both ends.”
While the trucks average 10 to 15 events per week, including farmers markets, corporate events and parties, Short Leash is also looking to expand further. They inked a permanent location at the Biltmore Fashion Park and rolled out a doughnut food truck called Rollover Doughnuts.
Brad says a big key to their success is making sure everyone is having fun.
“We have a great team and everyone is cross-trained, so people in the restaurant get out on the trucks, and vice versa,” he says. “It’s a lot of work, and it can be hot at times, but we love it.”
Short Leash Sit…Stay
110 E. Roosevelt St., Phoenix