This week in Phoenix is jam-packed with concerts, science, and creativity.
A hot dog may be the simplest of foods, but don’t let it fool you: it can be so much more.
The second annual Wurst Festival Ever at Short Leash Hot Dogs on July 22 will highlight the different combinations that can be “mustarded up” when dressing up hot dogs. The Roosevelt Row festival features different varieties and combinations of sausages and a pun competition designed to make viewers “laugh their buns off” during the hottest time of the year.
Short Leash co-owner Brad Moore said the event ties into his restaurant’s overall mission of making the hot dog into an artisan food.
“Part of our business philosophy is to elevate the hot dog and make people think of something besides your little ballpark frank with ketchup, mustard and onions,” Moore said.
This year, the festival has expanded to include 10 to 12 local food trucks and restaurants, many of which don’t normally serve hot dogs.
Moore said the event allows local eateries to reach new customers and get creative with hot dogs.
“These guys get to play with a new food that they’re not traditionally accustomed to serving and see what they can come up with,” Moore said.
Each food truck and restaurant will serve $3 sample sizes, allowing customers to try different versions and vote on their favorites.
To complement the hot dogs, the festival will have beer options from Grand Canyon Brewing, a local Arizona brewery operated out of Williams.
For the second year, the festival takes place close to National Hot Dog Day.
Moore and his wife, Kat, opened their first location on Roosevelt Street four years ago during the national holiday. Before that, they operated out of a food truck for three-and-a-half years.
He previously worked in the banking industry, and she as an interior designer.
During the festival, Short Leash’s Roosevelt location will offer its full menu of sausages and doughnuts inside the restaurant.
The restaurant sells unique items such as a bratwurst with poutine; cheese-stuffed wieners on corn tortillas; beef hot dogs filled with mac and cheese; hot dogs with peanut butter, gouda, bacon, Cracker Jack popcorn and BBQ sauce; and a chicken dog with grilled pear, arugula, prosciutto, goat cheese and honey.
The festival isn’t just for food truck owners and restaurateurs.
Local hot dog connoisseurs and chefs had the opportunity to join in on the fun and experiment with hot dog toppings as part of a customer competition.
The winning hot dog is sold at the festival and featured on Short Leash’s menu for a month.
Last year, the winning entry was a bratwurst on a pretzel bun with cheese curds and popcorn.
Moore said the contest lets hot dog lovers show off their inventiveness.
“We had a couple customers that were sitting at the bar on First Friday, and they were pontificating over what would go good together,” Moore said. “It was fun to watch them banter back and forth over what might be missing. ‘Ah, I got the sweet. I need some spice. I need some crunch.'”
Local comedians will also have a chance to take part in the festival as part of a pun competition with qualified and day-of contestants.
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During the contest, participants are tasked with coming up with puns for different categories.
Throughout the day, comedians from the Valley Bar’s “Literally the Worst Show Ever” will emcee.
Local comedians such as Michael Turner, Shapel Lacey, Charles Engle, Daniel Thomson and Anwar Newton will do standup, perform musical numbers, interact with the crowd and throw in hot-dog themed humor and puns along the way.
The show also features Those Guys Over There, a house band made up of four local musicians.
Wurst Festival Ever
When: 5-10 p.m. Saturday, July 22.
Where: Short Leash on Roosevelt, 110 E. Roosevelt St., Phoenix.
Admission: $10 general admission, $3 for samples.
Details: 602-795-2193. shortleashhotdogs.com.
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