The Dog Squad
 Kent, Ohio           Date of Visit  09/17/12 

As Acorn Alley continues to materialize in Kent new options keep popping up. The Dog Squad is the most recent, promising gourmet hot dogs for Flashes (the students not the exhibitionists). The alley is filling out with kitschy little spaces offering all sorts of fare and Dog Squad is no different. Small frontage and interior, payments accepted with the little cube accessory you see on the commercials, and a mural of the town is applied to three of the walls.



One Perspective Of Kent

You order at the counter and while most people got theirs to go we found a seat at the thin table facing the alley and the goods were delivered as they were ready. It struck me as a little odd that the guy who took our order announced he had a “big one” to the kitchen. If four dogs and two sides are a big order they probably haven’t been very busy yet.

You order your concoction by starting with the type of dog and the type of bun. The options are beef, turkey or vegetarian/vegan and poppy seed, whole wheat or New England. We went all beef with one wheat and three New England style buns which you would see in a traditional lobster roll. The Carolina comes with chili, cole slaw and chopped onions which were left off of ours. The Cowboy has baked beans, bacon, cheddar, chopped onion and bbq sauce. The Alley is a more standard chili, chopped onion and cheddar. Finally the PaPa is a mild or spicy Italian sausage, red and green bell peppers, mozzarella, onions and marinara sauce, ours was spicy. We also ordered a mac and cheese and fries.


More Blasé Mac N Cheese, Aiming At Middling

Fries In Right Direction But Needed Longer In The Heat

These Could Help

The mac and cheese arrived first and continued in a long line of passable but mediocre variations, very similar our recent bowl at Dog Daze oddly enough. Both far better than some recent attempts, cheesy, so there’s that. The fries had a great deal of promise but were a little underdone to my taste and didn’t achieve a crust or steamy interior…more greasy and limp.

The dogs are a long way off of some of the other gourmet options available in the world, some of which might be a little much for Portage County. My least favorite was the Alley dog as the chili really has as much personality as the dog itself which is very little. No snap, no signature bite. Ground meat stew on a ground meat tube. Oh. The chili has beans in it, even the version they put on the dogs. I have had a couple in which the beans lend something significant to the whole mess but that is not the case here, more likely a way to cut cost which at the price point here is unnecessary. For what is in the bun they should be doing well with what they are charging. Not far from the bottom was the Cowboy dog which had a heap of baked beans (think Bush’s and pick a can from the bottom of the shelf underneath those…the 24₵ a can variety with even less substance than the chili), a thin strip of what appeared to be precooked bacon, cheddar cheese and a ghostly bbq sauce which would require ghost hunting equipment to detect. Take it or leave it, I’d leave it.

You Can Find Better Stuff In Most Alleys Than The Alley Dog

So Many Beans; Thought I Was Starring In Blazing Saddles

Slaw Helped Carolina Concoction A Great Deal

PaPa Not Great Nor Tragic

The other two dogs were better by comparison. The PaPa had a clean and fresh marinara and the sausage had a fair kick of spiciness that went well with the veggies and cheese, much more enjoyable. The Carolina has the same lazy chili and while ours didn’t have the onions that didn’t help the Cowboy much, it did have the cole slaw which shared a mix of pepper, sweet and vinegar helping the dog be more memorable than the first couple.

Honestly there are no great shakes but some functional options, much like Zoup Werks in the same complex, at The Dog Squad. If you are shopping around the corner you might be interested in their fair but it wouldn’t warrant a special trip.




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