Short Leash Hot Dogs, partnered with Maricopa Manor to launch their newest concept on Friday, March 24. Many of you know of Short Leash Hot Dogs Food Truck, and frequent them regularly at various events and venues throughout Phoenix. However, their latest venture combines the great food you have come to know with a wonderful outdoor sitting area so you can sit and stay for a bit Friday nights between 6PM and 8PM.

Please note: This event is only scheduled for Friday nights, please see their website for a full schedule of locations where you can find Short Leash Hot Dogs on other days and times.

Set just behind the strip mall housing Frances, Halo, Stinkweeds, and Smeeks at Central and Camelback, they have found a perfect location that is just hidden enough to make you forget you are in the heart of the city. Traffic noise could not be heard, and in a very short time they were able to create a relaxing outdoor dining experience, featuring the wonderful delights that we have come to know and enjoy. They tables were used cable spindles, paired with metal chairs. They had laid crushed granite down to create a beach-like sandy floor, with lights strung in between rods placed in the center of each of the tables. Very smart layout, simple design, and it should be easily maintained.

With very little publicity, opening night was a huge success! Within the first five minutes they already had a line of 20+ people and the crew of Short Leash Hot Dogs was ready to go! In fact, during the first hour, they consistently had a line outside of their food truck, and seating was at a premium; I’m not sure that Brad and Kate Moore, or their staff, were expecting quite a phenomenal turnout on opening night!

The plan is to maintain this venue every Friday night, with each night featuring different unique concoctions and specials that you likely will not normally find on their menu. For opening night, they featured an Appetizer Sampler (fried pickles and corndogs), Brat Slider with a Side Salad, and Pig in a Blanket with Mashed Potatoes.

My husband ordered the Brat Slider with Side Salad. This featured a bratwurst sausage cooked in German beer, sauerkraut, bacon, and onions, topped with Swiss cheese on a pretzel roll from Old Heidelberg Bakery. Schreiner’s Fine Sausages provides the various sausages, utilized in their unique hot dog creations. The bratwurst was perfectly cooked, with a wonderful crisp outer casing. The pretzel bun was a good compliment, although the bun to meat ratio was slightly off. The sauerkraut, bacon, onions, and Swiss cheese helped round out the Brat Slider and gave it a “German” feel.

Now for my first order, since I couldn’t decide and managed to narrow it down to just two items for this visit…Pig in a Blanket with Mashed Potatoes. This featured a Sicilian link baked in puff pastry and was served with mashed potatoes and gravy. Simple enough, right? The Sicilian link was absolutely divine, bursting with wonderful seasoning. The puff pastry was the perfect balance of bun-sausage ratio, and was perfectly flaky. The mashed potatoes and gravy were run of the mill, and could have used a hint more salt (which could not be found on any of the tables). But the pairing of the two worked very well together, and I was pleased.

I also ordered an item from their standard menu, the Aiko. I was torn between the Aiko and Moki, but decided I would try to Moki on a future visit. I ordered the Aiko with the Spicy Beer Hot sausage, and it was accompanied by mango chutney, jalapenos, red onions, fresh cilantro, and a touch of mayo. The spicy beer hot sausage provided a great pairing with the sweet chutney salsa, and as with most of their standard menu items, it was served on flatbread instead of a bun. The mango chutney salsa was slightly sweet, without being overpowering. My only complaint is that the Aiko lacked toothsomeness and was almost too much soft food, other than the crispy sausage casing.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that my husband has come to love beverages when we go to various food trucks. Unlike most restaurants, they typically feature the bottled sodas (aka “Mexican” soda) that remind him of his childhood favorites, both in container and in flavor. Last night, he had a Mexican Sprite and was ecstatic. If you don’t know the difference between the sodas you buy at the grocery, Mexican sodas are the same manufacturers, they just use real sugar (or sugar cane) instead of the fructose syrups or artificial sweeteners that are predominately used in mainstream sodas here in the States. As a result, the flavor is slightly different and they are not nearly as sweet.

I was amazed how well four people worked in the small, Short Leash Hot Dogs food truck for Sit…Stay. The food was hand delivered to your table by Brad Moore (Owner), and brought out fresh and hot. The event was a huge success, and I think it continue to be a great Friday night place for a reasonably priced meal in a relaxing outdoor atmosphere. The only concerns I have are the lack of seating, and once May is upon us and temperatures are over 100° it could prove to be too warm to enjoy the outdoor seating. It would have been nice for some light music to have been playing in the background, and while there was a small radio at the ordering window, it could not be heard throughout the dining area and turning the volume up would have made ordering difficult. A guitarist, or someone playing steel drums in the background would have completed the experience.

Despite the “nice to haves” that were missing, the evening was incredibly enjoyable and is something we will likely do again.

UPDATE MARCH 30,2012: I did mention that we would likely go back after my original visit on opening night, March 24. Little did I know I would be returning quite so soon! We showed up about 7:30PM, with just 30 minutes until closing. The sun had set and the lighted dining area was incredibly relaxing. And all of the tables were full, so it must have been another successful night for Sit…Stay!

March 30 menu

Tonight’s special’s were absolutely phenomenal, and unlike opening night, they did not offer their full menu.

The Corn-Dog bites were perfectly golden brown on the outside, and had a wonderful crispiness. I didn’t even want or need the mustard or ketchup that was served alongside.

I cannot even begin to describe how absolutely tantalizing the Chipotle Chorizo Dip was; it danced in your mouth, and tickled your tastebuds. Bursting with flavor, coupled with just a little bit of heat. Honestly, I could have eaten bowl after bowl of this, with or without the flatbread. And if they had it in a jar for sale to take home, I assure you I would have bought one (or two, or three…)!!! I cannot even begin to describe how incredible this was, but if you ever see it on their menu, order it!!!

The final selection for the evening was the Currywurst + Onion Rings. It featured knockwurst slow cooked in a tomato curry sauce, served in naan bread with crispy onion rings on the side. It had a very low level of spice, but was bursting with flavor. The onion rings were fabulous! Incredibly crispy exterior, and went surprisingly well with the Currywurst. My husband truly enjoyed it.

What was very impressive were the rapid changes implemented after their first evening. All of the tables now had small buckets in the center with napkins, flatware, salt, and pepper. Also, the music was loud enough you could hear it throughout the dining area. It’s only a few minor tweaks, but it definitely helped complete the experience!!!

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