Jun. 4—LAKE LEELANAU — Red light: closed. Green light: open.
The traffic signal on the side of the building lets potential customers know whether they can order from Capital Dog for lunch or dinner that day.
Sue and Kevin Burns opened their restaurant May 1. The couple wanted to add a meal option for families in Leelanau County.
"There was a need for affordable food and who doesn't like a hot dog," Kevin said.
Five hot dogs are available: the Skinny Dipper (ketchup and mustard), Narrows (sauerkraut and mustard), County Dog (chili and cheese), Power Dog (chili, onion, pickle, ketchup and mustard) and the Capital Dog.
Their namesake is the most popular. Sue said it "has everything:" chili, cheese, pickle, onion, mustard and ketchup.
"We modify anything," Sue added. "So you can order off the menu or customize — it's easy to do."
Not only do they serve hot dogs, but also they offer other protein options. Kevin said carnitas, street tacos filled with pork, and a slow-roasted pork sandwich also made the menu. He added that they make their own spice rub and roast the pork for about 12 hours.
An ice cream counter is available alongside the hot dogs. People can order flurries, shakes or soft-serve ice cream. They chose Michigan company MOO-ville Creamery, Kevin said.
The name Capital Dog is a play on the phrase "top dog," Sue said. Kevin explained that the "Capital of Leelanau County is Lake Leelanau."
Local support has kept them busy so far, and Sue said they expect visitors this summer.
"We keep seeing the same faces over and over," Sue said. "Everybody knew we were coming."
Kevin is a trained chef. He and Sue relocated to Leelanau County in 1987, when they purchased and operated the Riverside Inn in Leland for six years. They sold it in 1993 and created the company Baabaazuzu, which they still own and operate alongside their newest venture the Capital Dog.
Capital Dog is open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 106 St. Mary's St. The restaurant may stay open later during the summer and aims to be open year round. Visit their Facebook page for updates and more information.