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The Dawg House: A spot for the whole family

Couple brings lifelong dream to life with the opening of a gourmet hotdog joint in Weston

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June 10, 2024

WESTON – Rob Schultz – co-owner of the Dawg House (4111 Schofield Ave.) in Weston – said he has always loved Chicago-style hotdogs, both as an adult and a child.

For many years, Schultz said he’s talked about how the Wausau area needed a dedicated hotdog restaurant.

“When we go on vacation or out of town, we’re always looking for a hotdog restaurant because who doesn’t like hotdogs?” Molly Schultz, co-owner and Rob’s wife, said.

The Schultzes’ shared dream became reality last month when they opened the Dawg House.

The inspiration

Molly said it’s been something they’ve been talking about doing for two decades – as they waited for the right time and place.

However, when he hung up his hard hat as a self-employed tile contractor, Rob said he was ready to make a major life change and thought “maybe now’s the right time to pursue this idea.”

The couple said their love for hotdogs is equally matched with their love for the Dawg House’s real-life mascot – Archie, a Great Dane Mastiff mix.

“He’s three years old and the most jovial, jolly, loving lap dog you can imagine – even though he’s 135 pounds,” Molly said.

Though Archie, she said, seems like the natural choice for the mascot, he wasn’t their first thought when it came to a logo and marketing strategy.

“While we kicked around this idea for the last 20 years ‘the Dawg House’ was always the natural sounding name,” she said. “When we first started coming up with the logo, we tried hotdogs, a dog house and different tags. One night, as we sat on the couch brainstorming ideas, a light bulb went off – ‘let’s design it around Archie.’”

The couple’s Great Dane Mastiff mix, Archie, serves as the Dawg House’s official mascot. Submitted Photo

And things, Molly said, took off from there.

Keeping with the dog theme, she said, the establishment has a 20-foot wall covered with pictures of 70 famous dogs – ranging from Snoopy, Pluto and Petey from the Little Rascals, to Bullseye from Target, Lassie and even Snoop Dogg.

“People love to talk about dogs, whether it’s their dogs or in general,” she said.

Finding the ‘dawg house’ proved challenging

Over the last couple of years, Molly said they’ve kept an eye out for a location to bring their dream to life – but were not able to find the “right building.”

She said it was a constant mix of overpriced, sitting on the market too long, too big, too small or not in a good location.

Then, Molly said – like all perfect happenstances – the building they are now located in went up for rent.

“We thought, ‘this would be a great location,’” she said.

Molly said they called the same day and everything fell into place – “right place, right moment.”

The Schofield Avenue location, she said, is conveniently situated on the main thoroughfare in Weston – located near industrial work, residential neighborhoods, shopping centers, schools and grocery stores, plus they’re close to the heart of the village.

A family affair

The Dawg House, Molly said, is a family affair – as a mother watching her sons also get involved gives her great pride.

Serving as what she calls “Rob’s right-hand person,” Molly said she helped with the decorating, marketing and planning aspects of getting the restaurant up and running.

She said she gives a great deal of credit to their oldest son, who has more of a background in restaurants, for bringing the project over the finish line. 

Molly said he is currently working for the Dawg House full-time.

The couple’s younger son, who is home for the summer from college in Madison, currently works the day shift.

“It’s great to have them (be a part of this) because they’re invested,” Molly said. “They realize it’s our family business. It’s not just a part-time job for them. It’s great to have them alongside us, and it’s fun.”

A 20-foot wall inside the Dawg House is covered with pictures of 70 famous dogs. Submitted Photo

As small business owners, Molly said she and Rob can share their entrepreneurial mindset with their boys.

“They understand sometimes it can be a lot of hours, a lot of hard work and a grind,” she said. “At the same time, they’ve seen that when you’re your own boss, you have a little bit of freedom and flexibility. I think they also realize they’re fortunate to have that in their lives.”

The menu

As one would imagine, the Dawg House menu includes hotdogs – but Molly said there’s more than meets the eye.

The Schultzes said they did extensive research when deciding what to include on the menu.

“Having a Chicago-style dog is a no-brainer,” Molly said. “At the same time, I remember going to Pinks in Los Angeles and seeing some of the crazy combos they have.”

This, the Schultzes said, prompted them to look deeper – researching different recipes and combinations, eventually narrowing it down to 25-30 “good possibilities.”

From there, Molly said, it was figuring out logistics and ingredients.

Then, she said, came the best part, the taste tests – which included figuring out how much of each ingredient was needed.

For example, with the Mac Daddy Dog – which includes a hotdog, bacon and mac n’ cheese – Molly said they had to figure out how much mac n’ cheese to add, how much bacon, what kind of mac n’ cheese, does it need something besides the bacon, and the list goes on.

This, she said, was the process for all menu items.

“We had the boys helping of course, and we also had some friends come over for tastings a couple of times to give their feedback along the way,” she said. “It was a fun process to get it going.”

Some creations, Molly said, became “Dawgs of the Month,” while others turned into regular menu items.

Some of the options include the Windy City Dog, Boss Hog Dog, Dusseldorf Dog and Wisco Dog.

Molly said all gourmet hotdogs on the menu are locally sourced, natural casing wieners.

All gourmet hotdogs at the Dawg House are locally sourced, natural casing wieners. Submitted Photo

In addition to hotdogs, the Dawg House menu includes sides and appetizers, including one of Archie’s favorites – Dirty Dawg Fries, which are dusted with Archie’s secret spicy seasoning.

Other side options include BBQ fries, macaroni and cheese, baked beans, chili cheese fries and coleslaw.

Molly said the restaurant can fit about 40-45 comfortably, with possible plans of outdoor seating in the future.

Community response

Before officially opening the Dawg House doors, Molly said they kept things under wraps as renovations took place.

When they received the permit from the village to put up signage, she said the Dawg House became the talk of the town – sparking excitement for opening day.

Molly said they never expected their first week in business to be as busy as it was.

“We had lines out the door Tuesday through Saturday with no lull,” she said. “People were lining up at 10:45 a.m. and 8:15 p.m. – we had to turn people away because we were running out of stuff. So, it was a good, solid week.”

Molly said it helps there isn’t another hotdog-focused establishment in the area.

“There isn’t anything like this close by,” she said. “It’s fun and different from the usual fast food burger or sub. You can bring your kids in and your whole family in. I hope it’s something people will continue to come in and try.”

Though there were a few hiccups along the way, the Schultzes said they are proud of what they’ve accomplished thus far and can’t wait to see what the future brings for Dawg House.

“Our staff of friendly Hotdog-ologists are ready to make you a hotdog you won’t forget,” Molly said.

The Dawg House is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.

For more information, visit or check out Dawg House Weston on Facebook.

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