Dubuque hot dog stand offers lesson on love - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque hot dog stand offers lesson on love


One area couple claims it has brought something fresh and unique to Dubuque from nearly 200 miles away.

A long-vacant building in the downtown Dubuque area is now an authentic Chicago-style hot dog stand, but that's not all the couple offers.

Randy and Marianne Black not only own Dawgs, but they also work it together six days a week. The space, by the way, isn't much bigger than a standard walk-in closet.

"He drives me crazy in a big space, so the size of the space really doesn't make a difference," Marianne Black said playfully, "but we laugh a lot, and I think that's the secret."

The couple owned Dawgs, which serves authentic Chicago-style hot dogs, in December, after Randy Black got bored of retirement from his job as a professional chef.

"At my age, I felt like I just wasn't fit to work for anyone else. This location was available," Black said, referring to the tiny building on the corner of Second and Locust Streets. "I think lower Main is dynamic."

The menu is limited and simple by design.

"We wanted to put out a limited amount of products. We'd make them all exceptionally authentic," Randy Black said. "We'd make them all exceptionally good so that people would return."

In life and in business, the Blacks work side by side in this restaurant that's uniquely them-- even down to the bumper sticker-plastered walls.

"It's my husband's attempt at decorating," Black said.

After professions spanning from lawyer to professor, the couple relishes operating their hot dog stand with a healthy heaping of humor.

"We've both had very serious jobs in our lives and understand what's serious and what's not, and so we try to laugh where we can," Marianne Black said.

The Blacks moved from Chicago to East Dubuque, Ill. some 25 years ago. They now live in Galena and have a 21-year-old daughter.

They said they see about 25 to 40 customers per day, which Randy Black said was about 50 percent of his business plan, but they expect that number to rise as the temperatures, likewise, rise.

The restaurant is open 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. weekdays and 8:00 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday. It has a drive-thru window as well.

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