“We look at this as our opportunity to affect local culture,” Johnson said.
Not only aesthetically but socially. Mathis explained communal tables at Big Truck weren't put in out of necessity rather than design but the result was one of many shards of serendipity reflecting the story of their success.
“We had these poles in the middle of the dining room, so Chris had the idea of putting communal tables around them,” she said. “What happened was people had to start talking to each other. Pretty soon, the people who came here a lot started helping out the new people and making friends.”
So, the team decided to include two even larger communal tables at Mutts. At those tables and in the booths and smaller tables that surround them, you'll usually find a lot of customers. And in front of them, you'll find franks made of Kobe beef, rabbit, duck, lamb, bison, wild boar and even falafel. Some are wrapped in bacon, and toppings include potato salad, fried okra, French fries, curried cabbage and apple, pepperoni, wasabi mayo, smoked Gouda, tzatziki and feta, truffle aioli, crawfish, walnut-arugula pesto, avocados, pinto beans, chili, practically every imaginable pepper and fried or scrambled eggs.
Dog prices start at $3 and range up to $9. The plan is to add some home-cranked sausages in the future.
Corn dogs come in large or mini pups, and the fried bologna sandwich, called a Fried Frisbee, is definitely worth a whirl.
The fries, which are sized to share, can be fried in duck fat and drizzled in truffle oil if you please. If deep-fried sides don't appeal to you, Mutts offers deviled eggs, red-skinned potato salad, baked beans, coleslaw and chili bowls that come in meated and unmeated. The fried pickles are whole spears battered in corn meal and served with a pink sauce you'll be dipping your thumb in after the pickles disappear.
Will Mutts Amazing Hot Dogs stop you from returning to your favorite hot dog stand, whether it be Iggy's in Edmond, Coney Island or Coit's? No. But it will make you ponder what other sacred cows, or pigs, might need a makeover from the Taco Twins or some other ambitious and creative chef.
You might even feel compelled to talk about your developing culinary postmodernist philosophy with a stranger across the table, which could lead to a new friendship — or even a partnership that results in a gourmet doughnut trailer.
Wouldn't that be amazing?