A longtime dream of opening a hotdog stand came true when Dawg’s By George opened in downtown Williamston recently. Owner George Jennings said he had the idea of opening a hotdog business for several years, but the seed was planted when he was growing up in Columbia.
“As a young person growing up, I really enjoyed hotdogs,” Jennings said. “There were a couple of places around Columbia that had great hotdogs.”
One of his favorites was a small, walk-up to the window stand, that he said was in business for a long time. “I really enjoy good hotdogs,” he said. “I enjoyed eating.”
He put that dream on hold and went to work for BellSouth, a job which brought him to the upstate and eventually to Williamston.
Jennings said during his years with BellSouth, he developed an appreciation for the upstate.
He said the blue sky, fresh air and being able to see the mountains were a part of that, but also the atmosphere, the culture and the people who came from different places, even outside the country.
He moved to Greenville in 1996.
His local connection began while attending The Progressive Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ in Williamston when they purchased the church property on Academy St. about eight years ago.
Jennings said after his retirement, he thought about having a hot dog shop where people can come in and enjoy themselves in a good atmosphere and enjoy a good hotdog.
He said he also wanted to open a small walk-up to the window hotdog stand, similar to the one he had known in Columbia.
Recently he found the building he is now in was available and decided to open his hotdog stand.
A lot of testing went into the hotdogs and chili served at Dawg’s by George.
George said the homemade chili is one of the secrets for his great tasting hoddogs.
“I ask God to first help me make a tasty chili without use of ground beef fat. I ate a lot of hot dogs to come up with a better hot dog to add to the taste,” he said.
First he said he wanted to offer a product without the after effects that some have. He said he uses a lean beef which lessons the amount of fat and grease in the product.
He explained saying, “When you acquire a taste for momma’s cooking, or an aunt’s cooking, and then going somewhere else, the cooking did not taste like what you are used to.”
He said he wants to offer a product like that, where his customers remember the taste and when they eat another hotdog will say, “Its alright, but it is not like one of Dawg’s dogs.”
The business focuses on hotdogs and offers them in three ways: grilled, fried, and boiled, with the usual toppings.
Customers have a choice of Nathan’s wieners, which he said has made a very good hotdog since 1916, and Ball Parks.
They also offer sausage dogs which according to George are very tasty without the after effects some sausage dogs have. Toppings include choice of peppers, onions, sauerkrout.
They also have a sausage dog special served with spicey deli mustard, warm sauerkrout, peppers, onions and a little chili underneath.
They offer fresh homemade tea made with purified water.
He said he hopes his customers enjoy the product and enjoy the inviting environment of the business which features some memorabilia and pictures. There is seating for about 15 inside and sidewalk seating outside for eight more.
According to George, more items may be added to the menu and he said he will accept ideas and criticism, if there is any.
“I want to provide a product and place where customers will not have to go somewhere else to get a hotdog the way they like it.”
The name of the business is from a play on a favorite expression of many, “By George.” He said the basic goal is to “make a good hot dog.” They held a grand opening and ribbon cutting Tuesday.
Dawg’s by George is located at 100 West Main St. in Williamston. Hours are Tues. through Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“I certainly appreciate being in the town of Williamston and surrounding area,” George said, “I appreciate all of the customers that have come in.”
Main Street Williamston Director Caroline Alex said, “We are very excited to have a special hotdog place in town and look forward to having a future with them.”