They may hail from different food worlds—the ballpark staple hot dog and Indian flatbread. But when you mix them together, as Short Leash Hot Dogs does, they form an award-winning combination. Picture a juicy, flavorful hot dog heaped with zesty toppings and wrapped in a warm, puffy blanket of naan, an Indian bread. Ahh …
The geniuses behind this unusual pairing are husband-and-wife duo Brad and Kat Moore of Short Leash Hot Dogs. The catalyst for the combination was Brad’s own pet peeve.
“I hate hot dog buns,” he explains. “Structurally they’re terrible. We knew that with our meats made by Schreiner’s—their size and all the toppings—a typical bun just was not going to hold up.”
The Moores found the perfect vehicle in buttery naan and its sturdy yet pliable texture. “Become a Naan Believer” reads their website—and as shown by multiple awards and accolades, many have.
Add to this unique concept a roster of creative combinations. You can start with a regular dog, veggie, chicken link or bratwurst made by local Schreiner’s Fine Sausages before deciding which of the 30 toppings, cheese and condiments you’ll be piling on. Better yet, pay homage to the restaurant’s name and order one of the signature dogs, all named after well-loved pets. There’s the Lady, with smoky chipotle cream cheese, sautéed onions and fried pickles; or Brad’s personal favorite, named after his dog Igby, which is stacked with coleslaw, blue cheese and barbecue sauce. Arizona’s MLB team, the Arizona Diamondbacks, voted the Bear “Best Dog.”
“Kat in her brilliance came up with that,” says Brad of the popular dog, which is made with smoked Gouda, bacon and caramel corn, and drizzled with peanut butter and barbecue sauce. “You know that song, ‘... Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks... ?’ Kat wanted to make that a hot dog.
“Initially we called it the Seventh Inning Stretch, but a friend had been pushing us to try something with peanut butter, so we gave his dog Bear the credit. It’s a delicious mélange of sweet, crunchy, tangy and spicy.”
Short Leash regular Gabe Williams agrees: “I always tell my friends to try the Bear because it takes some of the most unlikely ingredients and brings them together to form a whole new food group.”
Although the Moores’ successful enterprise now includes two locations, mobile eateries and an event company, their story began six years ago, with an 8x10-foot trailer. Brad, a banker in SBA lending, and Kat, an interior designer for model homes, were both impacted by the housing crisis.
“We thought, let’s start a food truck,” Brad explains. “It had just started to percolate in Los Angeles, but nothing was really happening in Phoenix. Fortunately for us, it was a lot of hard work and good timing.”
They parked their trailer at Phoenix Public Market and opened the window for business.
“The first day, my goal was to sell five hot dogs. Kat’s goal was to sell 30. And we sold 30.”
In fact, one of their first customers was the food editor of the local newspaper.
“They sent out a reporter the next Saturday, our second day of business. We kind of hit the ground running.”
Business was good, which led to a larger food truck. Then, Sit…Stay, their first restaurant, opened in 2013 in downtown Phoenix. The location has allowed the Moores to expand the menu to include appetizers, salads and desserts. Brad, a beer lover, is also proud of the extensive selection of craft canned brews.
“We have a fun thing called 80 Square Feet, after our little trailer, with our 80 core values. Our goal was a beer list of 80, and I think we have one of the best selections to be found.”
The couple’s next project involved doughnuts. Brad grew up in Dallas, where there was a doughnut shop practically on every corner. A dessert brainstorming session for Sit…Stay led to the addition of addictive brioche doughnuts and a second food truck.
“Our philosophy is the same as with the hot dogs—to take that classic American staple and give it a unique twist.”
Rollover Doughnuts opened in 2014 when friends who owned Shine Coffee were looking to sell. Initially hesitant, the Moores eventually decided that it “made perfect sense because people had been calling to get a dozen donuts for the office, but [Sit…Stay] doesn’t open until 11 am. Shine had a nice coffee program, a beautiful space and great employees.”
This industrious couple also runs Best in Show food truck events with clients such as Intel and the Arizona Diamondbacks, and are the co-founders of the Phoenix Street Food Coalition, which supports small businesses and local purveyors. This strong work ethic and mindful philosophy is exemplified in their endeavors, and their success so far is doggone good.