Two land brokers walked into a brewery, and a new business venture was born.
Warren Teller and Casey Reynolds, of National Land Realty in Richmond, were grabbing a drink after work when the conversation turned to food.
“[W]e were sitting out at a brewery, and we said, how cool would it be if someone rode up right now on a bike and sold us hot dogs?” Teller said.
The duo then decided to put their thoughts into action.
Over the July 4 holiday, Teller and Reynolds rolled out Scottdogs in Scott’s Addition, a former industrial area of Richmond that quickly is becoming the city’s most popular place to live, work and play. The next stop for their frankfurters is Charlottesville.
“We looked at a lot of food bikes and all sorts of cargo bikes, [which] are extremely popular throughout the world, and that’s really where we started … looking at what’s going on in Brazil and Denmark and looking at their bikes,” Teller said.
They settled on a large bike that has the warming box at its front. For their Charlottesville cart, Scottdogs is working on a trike with a smaller footprint that will tow the box and most likely a trailer, Teller said.
“We’re finishing up the build now,” he said.
The smaller size will be helpful in navigating spaces like the Downtown Mall and perhaps the area surrounding Scott Stadium on University of Virginia football game days, he said.
Although Teller and Reynolds don’t have any ties to Charlottesville, they picked the city for their second location because they often come here for their day jobs and have become enamored with the area, Teller said.
“Being 50, 60 minutes away from Richmond just seems like, geographically, a good fit. The mall area could use somebody like us,” he said.
Once the dog-friendly dog cart arrives (Teller said they keep dog treats handy, and their logo is of a Scottish terrier), patrons will have their choice of the Brew Dog or the Scotty Dog. The Brew Dog is an all-beef kosher dog, and the Scotty Dog is organic and made with locally sourced ingredients and natural casings.
“The amount of taste testing that we did to come up with our final products was incredible. I’m not sure I want to eat another hot dog again. My children certainly don’t,” Teller said with a laugh.
In both Richmond and Charlottesville, the hot dogs will be made in a commercial kitchen prior to sale.
“We cook the dogs in the kitchen, they are packaged in the kitchen and then kept warm on the bike itself. So, it’s a very different presentation than, say, the typical New York hotdog cart with dirty water,” Teller said.
The setup allows Scottdogs to sell to any passersby and make stops before or after scheduled functions, such as corporate visits, he said.
“With us not cooking onboard, we can be pretty agile,” Teller said.
When Scottdogs arrives in Charlottesville, it will have some wheeled company. Todd Divers, the city’s commissioner of the revenue, said there are at least two dozen other mobile food vendors in the city. Up until a few years ago, all mobile businesses, including food trucks, were classified in the city as peddlers, he said.
“Several years ago, we added a separate category specifically for food trucks,” Divers said.
“However, we have an indeterminate number of other mobile food trucks that are still classified under the old ‘peddler’ category,” he added.
After Charlottesville, Scottdogs will look eastward, Teller said. The company is planning a test run in Virginia Beach in the fall, when it’s still warm and mostly locals in the resort area.
“The Oceanfront is certainly going to be different, so we’d rather bring it when it’s not touristy and work out our kinks, so we’d be ready to go next June and serve thousands,” he said.
The current target for opening in Charlottesville is Sept. 15, Teller said. They’re still waiting on permits from the health department and the finishing touches on the bike.
“As soon as we can get there, we’re coming,” he said.