Summer – the time of the year where the grills come out and burgers and hot dogs are all that can quench our hunger. And what better way to kick off the season than a talk with John Clark, chef and co-owner of Show Dogs, celebrating its three year anniversary this month.
“As native San Franciscans, we (he and partner Gayle Pirie) wanted to be part of the catalyst for revitalizing the Mid-Market area. And Show Dogs was meant to be an easy way to offer a high quality version of America’s favorite handheld food,” Clark said. “All while being at one of the few remaining architecturally great corners of Market Street. The idea was to showcase the best dogs by the best local producers and also offer a great selection of local brews.”
Clark said that although Show Dogs did not start the trend of gourmet hot dogs, the restaurant has helped push it forward. “After about nine months of being open, we decided to start making our own sausages. We still offer a few of our favorites from 4505 Meats and the like,” he said. “But we continue to branch out. We now have five housemade dogs (merguez, all beef, wild boar, chicken curry and maple bacon) and several sandwiches as well. It’s easy coming up with new ideas for menu items because it’s what we love to do and we just think of things we want to eat and flavors that we like and turn them into a dog.”
As Foreign Cinema did for Mission Street, helping to revitalize the neighborhood, Show Dogs has done the same for Mid-Market. “ We initially ended up in the neighborhood because of another potential project in the Warfield building. A partner had just rented the Show Dogs space for fun and asked me if I was interested in doing something there,” Clark said. “I happen to love the building and (especially) that particular corner. I love the two theaters right there and all the history with this part of the city. I actually tried to rent a loft space in the old furniture building across the street back when I was in college.”
As the entire landscape of the Mid-Market area changes, with tech giants like Twitter and Zynga relocating their headquarters to the area and new restaurants and bars sprouting up as well, Clark said Show Dogs continues to adjust with the times and offer an ever-expanding menu. “We’ve changed a lot as well. We’ve added more hot sandwiches to the menu using our housemade meats. We are also serving breakfast as well,” Clark said. “We’re committed to the corner and have just expanded next door with a coffee shop and deli, Machine Coffee & Deli. The coffee portion opened up last week and the deli will be opening soon. (A lot of the same ideas) using our line of housemade lunch meats.”
And Clark looks forward to many more years at the corner of 6th and Market. Show Dogs is located at 1020 Market Street and is open seven days a week (Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m., Saturday 10-10 and Sunday 10-6).
Photo Credit (Corn Dog): John A. Benson