10 Questions about The Doghouse Gourmet Grille with Marq Mervin
1. Tell us about The Doghouse Gourmet Grille.
Well, The Doghouse Gourmet Grille is Jacksonville's premiere gourmet hot dog eatery. We specialize in creating all types of gourmet hotdogs. But, we also offer gourmet sandwiches, salads, and desserts as well. Recently, we've introduced daily homestyle dinners to our menu. Since these are daily dinners, the offered entrees and sides vary by the day.
2. What makes The Doghouse Gourmet Grille special?
Well, we're the Subway of hotdogs. Not only can you choose from one of our signature dogs, you can also customize your dog to your liking! You can also choose between regular fries and sweet potato fries! Not a fan of dogs? We offer a ton of other delicious dishes. Also, all of our desserts are made from scratch, never store bought. We also cater, so don't hesitate to call us up for a party or event!
3. What sort of food do you serve?
We offer everything from gourmet hotdogs, crabcake sandwiches, burgers, shrimp po' boys, to homemade dinners like baked chicken, baked spaghetti, meatloaf, collard greens, cabbage, and everything in between!
4. What are your top 3 recommendations to someone new to The Doghouse?
My Top 3? Hmm, that's a bit tough to choose from since there's so much variety. I'd say -
1. The Buck (a dog topped with diced tomatoes, diced onions, relish, mustard, pickles, and pickled peppers on a poppy seed bun).
2. The Mutley (a dog smothered in homemade chili and shredded cheese).
3. The Crabcake sandwich (a huge crab patty, laid on a steaming hot bun, and topped with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and a tasty remoulade sauce).
5. What can you recommend to someone looking for something a little different?
Hmm, looking for a different taste, huh? I would go with either the Ren Hoek (a dog wrapped in a tortilla, topped with lettuce, tomatoes, and sour cream) or the Hong Kong Phooey (another signature dog topped with scallions, cucumbers, and Asian Five Spice, Hoisin sauce, and cilantro).
6. What's the most popular item?
We actually have two popular items: our slaw dogs and the Mutley.
7. What's your favorite item?
Man, that's a tough question to answer! My favorite dish is probably our House Salad topped with Fried Tilapia. The flavors of the tomatoes, cheese, scallions, cilantro, crispy fried onions, the tilapia, and my favorite, French Dressing, is just amazing!
8. Where do you get your recipes?
Most of our hotdog recipes were made by trial and error. We researched some of our dogs in order to get that authentic flavor, like the Frank (New York inspired) and the Buck (Chicago inspired). Everything else, like our desserts and dinners, are all family recipes.
9. How long have your owned The Doghouse?
We opened The Doghouse in August of 2011. Before The Doghouse, my mom (Mebeka Sutton) primarily focused on baking and establishing her brand, Ms. Cakelady, which has been around for almost 9-10 years now. She wanted to open a restaurant to explore a new avenue. I've always urged her to try it. Being her son, I love her cooking, and I always wanted others to try her food, in addition to her cakes and desserts. I think the biggest surprise has been the overwhelming customer feedback. Getting rave reviews for food that I would eat everyday and our customer service is not only surprising, but really encouraging. We are thankful everyday, even on our slow days, for comments like those.
10. Who does the cooking?
My mom is the primary cook, though I have taken over the kitchen from time to time. She earned her A.A. (Associates in Arts) degree at FCCJ (now FSCJ) in Culinary Arts, and later moved onto JU. I gained all of my cooking knowledge from her. Combining her academic training in the culinary arts, home taught traditions and methods, as well as having the opportunity to prepare dishes at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, she's well-versed in her area. One interesting fact about The Doghouse is that she's the only chef in the kitchen. She makes all of the food and desserts herself, and usually completes all orders in about 5-7 minutes.