Chad Lager and Kevin Zhang will open a combination hot dog stand and speak easy on Worker Stadium grounds as early as late next month. I sat down with Lager, formerly associated with The Rickshaw, The Saddle Cantina, General Debauchery and Tun to ask him about the project.
You are known from the sports bar The Rickshaw and the night spot TUN. What can we expect from the new place?
We are setting up a two-part venue. The first part will be called Stadium Dog and feature gourmet hot dogs. Frankly, I think I can make a better hot dog than what is out there.
The second part will be a “speak easy” called Fubar, hidden behind the hot dog area out front, and will play on the idea of having a secret place to drink. We can’t truly do a “speak easy”, but we want that feeling of people stumbling into a place they think no else knows about.
We plan plenty of unique events and cocktails, but you’ll have to wait for more details. I will say that we will have the best Bloody Mary in town.
How did you guys come up with the concept?
We have already seen the burger and burrito battles in Beijing, now we need better hot dog options. I remember going to Wrigley Field in Chicago and having great hot dogs and I think a place like Workers Stadium needs something just as good.
As for the speak easy, the idea came from Megan and KC, two sisters that I know from my days at The Rickshaw, who told me about a place called Milk and Honey in New York. I decided on the name Fubar through talking with friends – sorry, but it edged out your idea to call it Lady Bar. I know it is not an original name, as there are Fubars around the world, from Hollywood, where it is a gay bar, to San Francisco, where it is an electronic dance club, to Urumuqi, where it is some kind of pizza place. But we like it.
What kind of hot dogs can we expect?
We will have a least five different hot dogs – from a Braut and Kraut, which has bratwurst and sauerkraut, to a pizza-style dog with cheese on top. We will also have more than 20 toppings. You can get a good bun and you can get a good sausage in Beijing, but we need a place where you can customize your dog, so we will offer everything from baked beans and chili to a Great Wall of Mustard.
Who do you expect to go to this new place?
I have an image of a family or a group of soccer fans up front enjoying hot dogs before a Beijing Guoan game, while hidden inside are people dressed up and having excellent mojitos and martinis. I imagine people wondering why so many people are disappearing behind the hot dog area, and not coming back, and perhaps taking a peak inside to see what is going on.
Do you have any concerns about the location?
Not at all. I think it is an ideal location because you have a recognizable building – the stadium – that everyone can find. There is great potential here and five or six more places will open nearby over the next year. Also, while there are hot dogs in this town, there are few quality ones. I know people like the hot dogs at Maggie’s, so I promise we will have at least the “second best” hot dog in town – and you will know where it has been. I have talked to many friends and former customers at the places where I worked, and people seem excited about the idea.
When can we expect these places to be open?
Before Cro Bar in Solana opens. Kidding. You can expect to be enjoying hot dogs and cocktails in about 30 to 45 days.