The Original Hot Dog Factory, a chain that originated in Atlanta, is coming to Little Rock’s SoMa neighborhood at 1424 South Main St. Owner and Little Rock resident Devin Wilkerson said he first learned about the franchise on the TV show “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” on the Bravo network. The franchise’s CEO and president, Dennis McKinley, is the fiance of Porsha Williams, who is one of the housewives featured in the show.
Original Hot Dog Factory offers 27 styles of hot dogs, including several different regional varieties, such as Chicago (tomato, pickle, sport peppers, relish, onion), Detroit (chili, shredded cheese, chopped onion), LA (bacon wrapped dog, chili cheese fries, grilled onions), Carolina (chili, slaw), Boston (baked beans, bacon, chopped onion). Some other hot dogs on the menu: Jamaican Jerk Chicken dogs, BLT style, Taco Dogs and the “Atlanta XL Footlong” dog. Along with the 100 percent beef hot dogs, OHDF offers bratwurst, polish sausage, turkey, chicken and veggie varieties. “We also offer mini corn dogs for kids, funnel cake sticks, fried Oreos and Twinkies,” Wilkerson said. And for those who don’t care for hot dogs, burgers, chicken sandwiches, salads and wings are on the menu as well.
Wilkerson’s decision to bring Original Hot Dog Factory to Little Rock came during the pandemic.
“I own a clothing store in the Park Plaza Mall [One XVI], and we were being challenged with ways to stay relevant while we were closed. So while overcoming that, I was still always looking to do something else.” Wilkerson said he hoped “just to bring something to Arkansas that we all could enjoy — fair favorites or game favorites. I wanted to bring that here but also have a flair with it. So it’ll be like a sports bar theme, a hub for us to enjoy Razorback games, NFL and NBA games as well.”
Wilkerson said the pandemic hasn’t really slowed down the restaurant’s development. The main challenge has been construction material shortages. Wilkerson originally scouted locations in West Little Rock before finding the spot in SoMa, and he’s pleased with the way it worked out.
“I don’t think there’s a better place in central Little Rock than SoMa,” he said. “SoMa has its own unique identity. It’s growing and I think five to ten years from now, it’s going to be the place businesses wish they had chosen when we look down the road. SoMa has a lot to offer from the small network of local business owners to the convenience of downtown and it’s conveniently located off the freeway, so I don’t think there’s a better place for the hot dog factory.”
Wilkerson doesn’t have a set date for opening yet, but he said right now they’re shooting for mid-December. The restaurant has 2,100 square feet, and is the second largest within the franchise, Wilkerson said. Additionally, it will have 18 patio seats facing Main Street. “It’s going to be like a bar style patio,” Wilkerson said. “So it won’t be like individual tables but one long strip of a bar where people can enjoy the weather, enjoy the culture. It’s gonna be a fun family atmosphere where you can enjoy specialty hot dogs. We have something for everybody,” Wilkerson said.
You can follow Original Hot Dog Factory’s progress on Instagram.