by Steven Doyle
Troy Gardner isn’t new to the culinary world. The owner of Samson’s Gourmet Hot Dogs was formerly the chef at Zubar, and Expo Park Cafe. Gardner has been running his own catering business for some years now and opened Samson’s last November to some good reviews. Gardner makes a very fine dog, outsourcing his custom meat blend of beef, pork or sausages to Kuby’s. Bread is procured from both Village Baking Company and Empire Bakery. The nine inch dogs have a slight overhang which make for very good photographs, but even better for a few extra bites of meat.
With the hot dogs, Samson’s offers many original toppings for some fun flavor combinations. In addition to the dogs, they also offer salads and wraps. Samson’s opens early to offer up breakfast wraps, and one particularly fine banana bread pudding that is oozing in goodness. You can have your office catered, and they also offer delivery for a mere buck seventy-five. There are also plenty of local draft beer selections, including Peticolas Velvet Hammer.
As we nibbled through most of the menu at Samson’s we had a chance to sit with owner Troy Gardner to discuss all things dog, and what makes his so very special.
Crave: You have been working on the Samson’s concept for quite a while.
Gardner: Yes, for five years. We were supposed to pop up in West Village about two and a half years ago, and literally last minute our lease negotiations fell through. It took us 17 months on this space from start to finish. The City of Dallas isn’t as green as we would like for them to be, so we had some difficult negotiations to get some of our equipment passed without having to vent hood the place. Once we made it through that process we were good.
Crave: What makes the Samson Dog so very special. And it is special.
Gardner: Kuby’s does our custom sausages. They do a really good job, and have been in business since the 1890’s, so they have had a little practice on it. We do our own veggie dog in house. We grind our own tofu. It is all organic and GMO-free. Soon we are looking to have a second location so it will make sense for us to make our own sausages then. We have the equipment , including a giant meat grinder, but it just doesn’t make sense with this space.
Crave: Where will that second location be?
Gardner: That has yet to be determined, but we are seeking out space close by. Possibly East Dallas, or near downtown.
Crave: What is your favorite dog?
Gardner: I really love the Cluck It. I like saying it too. Whenever you get really angry is is a good expletive.Someone dropped something in the kitchen a bit ago and I heard them scream “Cluck It!”. How fun is that?
Crave: What is your background?
Gardner: I have been in the restaurant industry for about 20 years.When I was in High School I worked in a Sicilian restaurant, then went to college, tried to be a rock star, went into property management, then I decided it was time to go back to my restaurant roots.
Crave: Why hot dogs?
Gardner: There are multiple reasons why hot dogs. The first is I wanted to make things from scratch, but didn’t want to have to make them all day long. Second, i figured there were more than enough hamburger joints in Dallas, and figured hot dogs were the next revolution. Third, I really like hot dogs, and fourth I thought it was a great transition to go into a funny food.
bread pudding bites
Crave: How did you come up with the name”
Gardener: Actually my brother cam up with that, you know, because of the hair. The original anem for the veggie dog was going to be Delilah because it had no meat.
Crave: You have a food truck?
Gardener: yes we do! I picked it up about a month ago and it has been keeping me busy. We have been doing festivals. it will primarily be for catering and outdoor events, but I am still looking for a space to park the truck regularly. We might be in Uptown at Sisu.
Samson’s Gourmet Hot Dogs is located at 2615 Oak Lawn.