Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Doggone Good: Harrisburg entrepreneurs open hot dog franchise downtown

LaToya Williams and Hauson Green, owners of The Original Hot Dog Factory-Harrisburg.

Ever try a bacon-wrapped hot dog topped with an onion ring? How about a Jamaican jerk chicken dog or a breakfast dog?

Those just a few of the 26 unique combinations customers can try at Harrisburg’s newest hot dog spot downtown.

“They’re messy, full of toppings, and you’ll leave full,” said co-owner LaToya Williams. “Everybody loves hot dogs.”

The Original Hot Dog Factory is having a grand opening on Saturday at 317 Market St., the former home of the Flamingo Grille. It’s one of the Atlanta-based franchise’s 25-plus locations across the country.

While the franchise may be national, everything about its ownership is local. Owners Williams and Hauson Green, two long-time Harrisburg residents, are ready to try their hands in the restaurant industry.

Both owners are entrepreneurs at heart, Williams previously having owned a dollar store and Green currently working as a barber at his family’s business, Heads Up, a barbershop in Uptown.

For Williams and Green, their new venture into the hot dog world represents a chance for growth and a new challenge.

“I thought, I should invest in myself,” said Williams, a surgical technician. “I’m excited for growing the business and giving people a chance to be a part of it. I’m nervous, but it’s a good nervous.”

The Original Hot Dog Factory on Market Street in Harrisburg

When customers enter the small shop on Market Street, they’ll likely be greeted with a smile by Tevin Cornelius, Green’s nephew. He’s one member of the small staff, which Green said is already like a family, or in Cornelius’s case, is actually family.

Customers can order from a long menu of topping-loaded beef, turkey, Italian and chicken dogs, as well as sausages and bratwurst. Straying from their namesake, they also offer wings, burgers and chicken sandwiches and nuggets. To top it off, they have several deep-fried sweets, including Oreos, Twinkies and funnel cake sticks.

“It’s comfort food,” Green said. “It brings people together.”

The “Boston Dog”

But the food is just a small part of Green’s mission for the restaurant. He’s all about mentorship—investing in the next generation. It’s what he does with the youth who come into his barbershop, and it’s what he plans to do at the restaurant.

“I like giving back,” he said. “I want to teach young entrepreneurs. It’s not about the money, but the impact on lives.”

Green hopes that he can serve as a role model and leader for his employees, who he hopes will own their own businesses one day.

“He’s super successful and has taught me so much,” Cornelius said. “I’m excited to step out and try something new.”

The Original Hot Dog Factory held a soft opening on Tuesday and remains open until Saturday—the official grand opening. It’s already been crazy busy, Williams said, but it’s a good thing.

“I was not expecting this response, but I’m super grateful,” she said.

The Original Hot Dog Factory-Harrisburg will be open Monday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, visit their Facebook page.

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